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Suzi Quatro

It's pretty far-fetched, as some revisionists are now claiming, to view Suzi Quatro as a precursor to the "riot grrrls" of the '90s. Her brand of mid-'70s glam pop was far more innocuous and, in any case, often supplied by professional songwriters. What she did prove was that it was possible for a petite woman to play bass, sing, and wear leather with a reasonable degree of raunch and pride. That, with enough musical hooks to draw in the teen pop crowd, was enough to reel off a series of big British hit singles just before the advent of punk, although she remained virtually unknown in her native U.S.

To the British audience, it seemed as if Quatro emerged out of nowhere in 1973, but in fact she'd been playing professionally for nearly a decade. While still in her early teens, she joined the Pleasure Seekers, a Detroit band also featuring her sisters Arlene and Patti. One of the few all-girl garage bands who played their own instruments, they recorded a fine, gritty single for the local Hideout label, "Never Thought You'd Leave Me"/"What a Way to Die" (both sides were reissued in the 1980s on the What a Way to Die '60s garage compilation). Another single followed for Mercury, and the group even toured Vietnam to entertain troops. In 1968, though, Arlene quit the band to raise her kids (one of whom is actress Sherilyn Fenn), to be replaced by yet another sister, Nancy.

The Pleasure Seekers became Cradle, which placed more emphasis on hard rock and original material. In the early '70s, British producer Mickie Most (the Animals, Lulu, Donovan, Herman's Hermits) happened to see Cradle while he was in Detroit to work on an album with Jeff Beck at Motown's studios. Most let Quatro know he was interested in working with her as a solo act; six months later, Cradle split, and Suzy was on her way to London (Patti joined the all-woman rock band Fanny in Los Angeles).

After her first single flopped, Most hooked her up with songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, who were also supplying material to the Sweet. The Chapman-Chinn-penned "Can the Can" went to number one in the U.K. in 1973, and over the next few years the same team would write about ten other British chart hits for her, including four Top Ten entries. These fused glitter and bubblegum in much the same way as the Sweet did, though Quatro was perhaps a tad raunchier (without ever getting downright scary). Quatro and her guitarist (and husband) Len Tuckey did write some of her material, though these efforts were usually confined to albums. In the U.S., though, she could barely get into the Top 100, though she did get on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Her American fortunes changed in the late '70s, when she had a short-lived, semi-regular stint on the sitcom Happy Days as the guitar-playing, sassy Leather Tuscadero. In 1979, she made the American Top Five with "Stumblin' In," although this was a duet with Chris Norman. Undoubtedly an influence upon the Runaways and Joan Jett, and thus by extension a mild influence on a subsequent generation of female rockers, she's kept a low profile in the '80s and '90s, although she's done some television and theatrical work in Britain. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Always good to hear you Suzi
The critic here is undoubtedly not a fan, or doesn't even know about Suzi Q......Lady Ga Ga said in a recent interview that if it wasn't for performers like Suzi Quatro and Janis Joplin, female performers of now would have a very different platform!
Madonna said something very similar in the '90's.
basscarol229
Undoubtedly an influence on Joan Jett...... No kidding, genius, Joan used to find out what hotel Suzi was staying in when Suzi played LA and sit in the lobby for literally hours just to get a glimpse of her idol. And since Kathleen Hanna has publicly stated that she considers Joan the musical godmother of Revolution Girl Style (she NEVER used the term Riot Girrrrl) yeah, it can be said that Suzi is the first link in the chain that led to women hard rockers.
I really like The Pleasure Seekers.
Suzi and Joan r people who can show that girls can rock
My fave lady. Almost as kewl as Leather Tuscadero.
I had her first lp but can't find name of it! But she can rock it! She was Leather Tuskadareo on Happy Days!
Who wrote this bio??!! Sorry just gonna say it you're an idiot. Why don't you ask a FEMALE MUSICIAN?? Duh, go back and read what you wrote: SHE FRONTED ONE OF THE FIRST ALL GIRL BANDS, PLAYING THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS! ! Do I need to point out that this was UNHEARD of in the late 60's??!! WITHOUT her influence, there would be no Runaways, no Joan Jett, therefore no Alanis, no Hole, no Garbage no Fiona or anybody like it after.That's equivilent to saying Janis Jopin didn't make an impact on female ar
Suzi can still rock it! I remember listening to her back in the 70s,wishing that I could be like her! On my "bucket list" is to see her before she stops playing!
jabrwh
From Grosse Pointe?
ladytx683
is she the one that came out on happy days?
I love Suzi Quatro...gla d to add her on Pandora, will be looking for the other bands she was in.
saine59
I don't know about Roxie but Chris Norman was with Smokie.
gannonfit
I have seen this great video on Youtube with Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman of the British band, Roxie. But I cannot find Roxie on Pandora. I wonder why?
Oh wait... i' have the original vinyl
yes i am the wild one
I liked your music in 1978 and listen on pandora radio
peridot100
It's a mistake to have someone write about an artist when they are just reciting facts and their tone indicates they are obviously not a fan.
Far fetched my A**!
hulot1929
How nice Suzi showed up on my L7 station. During the musical dark ages(the 70s), she was virtually all I listened to (Oqatro, Meg Christian, Pink Floyd, and Kraftwerk).
carmenmockus
Looking for early recording of song called Michael by this artist.

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