Suzi Quatro had a long and successful run of Top 10 hits in the U.K., and one big hit in America (1979's "Stumblin' In"), but despite her musical ability on bass and her edgy vocals, Quatro was never able to become a household name in her native United States.
Emerging from the Detroit music scene in the 1960s with one of the early all-girl garage bands, the Pleasure Seekers (later renamed Cradle), Quatro caught the attention of famed U.K. music producer Mickey Most, who had scored countless hits in the studio with the Animals, the Yardbirds, Lulu, Donovan, Herman's Hermits and others.
Most was recording an early Jeff Beck solo album in America and caught Quatro with Cradle at a Detroit nightclub. An offer was extended to only her, and when Cradle split up the next year, she took Most up on his offer.
The first single they recorded went nowhere, so Most brought in up-and-coming hard-pop writers, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The first song they gave Quatro, a hard rock pop gem entitled "Can the Can" went straight to the top of the U.K. charts. The team of Quatro, Chinn and Chapman would go on to score another ten hits in the U.K. over the next decade.
Following her U.K. success, she signed a deal in the U.S., but her success would be limited mainly because radio programmers and audiences still weren't ready for a leather-clad, angry female bass player/singer. Several attempts were made to expose her to the states; they tried and failed.
It would not be until the late '70s that Quatro hit her commercial stride in the states, when she landed a cameo as a leather-clad '50s female rocker named Leather Tuscadero on the popular TV sitcom, Happy Days. Quatro did such a good job on the show, they made her character a semi-regular, and she appeared on the show several more times as a love interest of Henry Winkler's character, the Fonz.
The U.S. hit "Stumblin' In" followed in 1979, but because it was a duet with an unknown vocalist named Chris Norman, it did little to break her own career. Quatro pulled out of the music business for a few years and kept a low profile through the '80s and '90s.
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