January 21, 2021
As a bass-playing, leather-clad lead singer, Quatro paved the way for a new generation of female rock stars in the 70s. She talks about fending off predatory men, carrying a knife for protection and why she still wears her famous jumpsuit
Suzi Quatro is remembering a “pivotal moment”. It was 1973, and the RAK Records boss, Mickie Most, asked her what she would like to wear to promote her wonderfully raucous single, Can the Can. “When I said leather, he said that was old-fashioned, but I stuck to my guns,” she recalls. Most relented, sketching a jumpsuit inspired by Jane Fonda’s character in the 1968 film Barbarella. “I went to the photo shoot in the jumpsuit and the photographer Gered Mankowitz said: ‘Suzi, give me that Suzi Quatro look.’ And all of a sudden, I had a look I didn’t know I had. I swear to God I didn’t know it was sexy until we got the photos back. He said: ‘Come and look.’ And I just went ‘Oh …’”
Can the Can rocketed to No 1, followed by smashes such as 48 Crash and Devil Gate Drive , numerous Top of the Pops appearances and 55m record sales to date.