Before there was Joan Jett, there was Suzi Quatro, the ballsy Detroit kid who moved to England, hooked up with impresario Mickie Most and the legendary songwriting team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, and crashed the all-boys Glam Party in full leather regalia, winning the hearts and minds of kids, primarily of the English and Australian persuasion, while she was at it. Quatro was a glitter queen and proto-punk all in one, to say nothing about being a precursor to The Runaways, and she scored a series of big hits in her adopted country, even if she never quite caught on here.
She was always her own woman; as she explained later, she spurned Elektra Records, who wanted to make her the new Janis Joplin, while hitching her star to Mickie Most, who “offered to take me to England and make me the first Suzi Quatro—I didn’t want to be the new anybody.” She added that if Most had “tried to make me into a Lulu, I wouldn’t have it. I’d say, ‘Go to hell’ and walk out.” That said, she wasn’t completely her own woman, being as she was part of the Chapman-Chinn songwriting monolith, although not to the extent of, say, Sweet; on her self-titled 1973 debut on RAK Records, only 3 of the 12 songs are Chapman-Chinn contributions. The rest are oldies or compositions by Quatro and her guitarist, Len Tuckey.
Chapman and Chinn more or less dominated the pre-pubescent wing of the Glam Movement, and it’s obvious why when you hear Quatro’s opening tune, “48 Crash.” Cool percussion, a great climbing riff—this one is simple as ABC but as catchy as a Venus flytrap, and the perfect song (as were most of their compositions) to sing along with. Meanwhile Quatro sings like a punk while bashing away at the bass, the backing vocalists repeat the title, and Tuckey plays some more than respectable guitar. And there’s no beating the great scream Quatro lets out in the middle of the song. Meanwhile, Quatro and Tuckey’s “Glycerine Queen” demonstrates that they were quick learners, not that the Chapman-Chinn formula was exactly rock science. Still, this one is stripped to the basics, rocks hard, and boasts a riff that brings to mind T. Rex. Once again the guys in the band repeat the title in the chorus, and if the teen in you doesn’t respond to this one, you’re not as glamtastic as you think you are.