'The Independent Music Show Magazine' September 2019 - Page 21

Graham Sclater

Musician - Author

Fifty plus years of Rock and Roll

with Suzi Quatro

by Graham Sclater

Susan Kay Quatro was born in 1950 in Detroit Michigan, USA to an Italian father and Hungarian mother. She was heavily influenced by Elvis Presley when she was six and in her early teens she played drums and percussion.

Her instrument of choice changed when in 1964 her father bought her a 1957 Fender Precision bass guitar and she joined her sister’s band, The Pleasure Seekers. They recorded three singles and released two of them before changing their name to Cradle.

A successful English based producer and record label owner, Mickie Most, who was covered in one of my earlier articles, spotted her after being asked by their brother to see Cradle. Almost immediately he saw her potential and offered to bring her to England. So in 1971 she was taken under Mickie’s wing and for the next twelve months she lived in a hotel while honing her talent as a music and songwriter. Her first self-penned single, “Rolling Stone,” featuring such musical luminaries as Peter Frampton, Duncan Brown and Alan White only charted in Portugal, where it reached No 1.

At that point she felt she needed her own band to reach her true potential and for several months auditioned musicians. She was introduced to the songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (who will be the subject of my next article) In 1972 she embarked on a UK tour supporting Thin Lizzy and this was followed by the release of her second single, “Can the Can,” in 1973, written by Chinn and Chapman and which was to be a hit in much of Europe and Australia. This was soon followed by more hits which included, “48 Crash” “Daytona Diamond” and “Devil Gate Drive” from the writing and production powerhouse of Chinn and Chapman. She also played on Cozy Powell’s hit “Dance with the Devil,” a song written by Mickie Most.

Following her meteoric rise further top ten hit records seemed to evade her until 1978 when she duetted with Chris Norman of Smokie on “If You Can’t Give Me Love” and “Stumblin’ In”. This seemed to rejuvenate her and the following year her album featuring the two duets and new material took her back into the charts.

When her contract with RAK Records expired in 1980 she signed to Dreamland Records, a new label set up by Mike Chapman. She recorded an album with Chapman but it was shelved in 1997. Once again success eluded her although she was constantly gigging in Europe and further afield to sell out audiences.

She has continued to record and release albums with some success but by constantly touring, which is her first love, she has continued to harness new fans as well as people who bought her hit records many decades ago. Her skin tight leather jeans and jacket are her trademark and she still continues to wear those on stage as she plays around the world.

Suzi has appeared in the cult television show Happy Days is now a regular radio host on BBC Radio 2 as well as appearing in the theatre in stage shows and musicals.

A very good friend of mine, saxophonist Ray Beavis, appears on every show with her and has been with her for many years as she continues to tour across Europe and beyond to capacity audiences.

There will be a two hour Suzi Quatro documentary on Sky Arts during October 2019.

Who knows if she will ever stop touring, but somehow, I suspect, she won’t.

Graham Sclater is a music publisher, record producer and author and is the CEO of Tabitha Publishing Limited.