The Unsung Legend: Suzi Q

Are you old enough to remember Suzi Quatro? For both young and old, Suzi Quatro Rock Legend holds a special place in rock history.

Clad in black leather pantsuit, with a big guitar and rocker attitude, Suzi Quatro burst onto the worldwide stage in 1973. She sold an amazing 55 million records in her 55-year career.

Given a Fender Precision bass guitar in 1964 by Art, her musician father, Susan Kay Quatro certainly created harmony with the special gift.

Starting Out with Music

Although only six at the time (in 1956), little Susan recalls seeing Elvis rocking out on TV. Is it a coincidence that she later donned a tight-fitting pantsuit and wrote her own hard rockin’ songs?

Believing in her dreams, it’s thought that her father Art paid for formal training in classical piano and percussion. She wasn’t as close to her mother Helen, at least until she left for the UK. Loving it from the start, Susan taught herself how to play the bass guitar. At about eight, she joined in with her father’s jazz band, the Art Quatro Trio, where she played some kind of drums. (Source: Wikipedia)

Female Rock Artist 1960s

After a while, Suzi and her sisters and friends formed a band called The Pleasure Seekers (1964-73), playing Garage Rock with a Motown vibe. Suzi played her favorite bass guitar. Band members were Patti Quatro, Arlene Quatro, Eileen Biddlingmeier, Diane Baker, Suzi Quatro.

Although she was the tender age of 14, the band lied about her age to promoters and she played to rooms full of men. She had her two sisters in the band too, and one of them (Patti) later joined Fanny, an early ’70s all-female rock band. It was one of the first all-girl bands to get national hits.

Suzi told the MetroTimes, “I was never gonna do anything else other than entertain and play rock ‘n roll.” (MetroTimes archive).

Quatro moved to England in 1971 after being picked up by record producer Mickie Most, founder of Rak Records. Her first single under his guidance was “Rolling Stone”, which only hit no. 1 in Portugal. Although she went along with Mickie’s songwriting and production crew (Micky Chinn and Mike Chapman), she molded her own slick rock-chick style. Mr Most dropped her act in 1980 (Wikipedia).

Suzi Quatro Strikes Gold

Quatro’s hit singles of the 1970s actually found greater success in Europe and Australia than in the USA, her homeland. She reached Number 1 on the UK Official Singles Chartand in Australia with “Can the Can” in 1973 and then the fiery “Devil Gate Drive” in 1974.

Voted by magazine readers, Quatro won six Bravo Otto awards from 1973 to 1980. In April 2009, the UK named Suzi Quatro as one of only 12 Queens of British Pop. (Source: Wikipedia)

Loving the stage and singing, Suzi was still performing around the world into her ’50s and ’60s. In 2019, Suzi toured widely in both her solo ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ tour and group tours in Australia.

Watch Suzi Quatro Rock Legend in Action

In 2019, the unique documentary ‘Suzi Q‘ came out. It is the story of the girl from Detroit and the UK, a Madonna of her time who broke the mold of women in rock & roll.

The story features candid chats with the star and energetic concert footage. Also featured in the Australian-directed film are Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Henry Winkler, Alice Cooper and Tina Weymouth. Suzi Q is viewable on Prime Video, Stan or AppleTV.

Filmink review: “A wildly entertaining, insightful, funny and occasionally heartbreaking cinematic tour through the extraordinary life of Suzi Quatro.”

Discography of Records

Suzi Quatro. Quatro. Your Mamma Won’t Like Me. Aggro-Phobia. If You Knew Suzi… Suzi… and Other Four Letter Words. Rock Hard. Main Attraction. Annie Get Your Gun – 1986 London Cast. Oh, Suzi Q. What Goes Around – Greatest & Latest. Unreleased Emotion. Free the Butterfly. Back to the Drive. In the Spotlight. Quatro, Scott & Powell. No Control. The Devil in Me.

Suzi Quatro was certainly a ’60s and ’70s rock goddess. One scholar described her as “a female rock pioneer, in some ways the female rock pioneer … a cornerstone in the archsheology of rock.”