Friday, 17 July 2009

Suzi Quatro - The Wild One (a-side)

Suzi Quatro seemingly emerged from nowhere in 1973, but she had been playing professionally for nearly a decade with The Pleasure Seekers a band consisting of her sisters Arlene and Patti. They were one of the few all girl garage bands to play their own instruments. In 1968 Arlene left the band to raise her kids (one of whom is actress Sherilyn Fenn) and was replaced by another sister Nancy.

In the early 70's British producer Mickie Most saw her play in her home town of Detroit and wanted to work with her as a solo act. Six months later she was on her way to London.

Her first single flopped, so she was hooked up to songwriters Chinnichap. The first 45 written for her Can the Can was a number one hit in the UK in 1973. Over the next few years the songwriting team would write about ten other British chart hits for her, including four top ten entries.

Quatro and her then husband Len Tuckey did write some of her material, though these were usually left for album tracks or B sides. A few of which might turn up on this blog at a later date.

She remained largely unknown in her native US until the late 70's when she had a semi-regular acting job in the sitcom Happy Days, as the guitar playing Leather Tuscadero. In 1979 she made the American top five with another Chinnichap song Stumblin In, a duet with Chris Norman of Smokie.

Suzi Quatro is unusual, in that she is probably the only woman to have success in the glam rock genre, and she did it by being more aggressive and masculine than her male contemporaries. Suzi Quatro showed that it was possible for a petite woman to play bass, sing and wear tight leather.

The Wild One is a 1974 a-side that reached number 7 in the UK singles chart, and was written by Chinnichap. It is one of her lesser known singles but one of my favourites.