Suzi Quatro: the soundtrack of my life

Suzi Quatro
(Image credit: Suzi Quatro)

Since first exploding into all our lives in 1973 with with the now evergreen Can The Can, Suzi Quatro has exemplified the ultimate rock’n’roll frontwoman. 

From the pioneering Chinnichap hellcat in skin-tight black leather to the time-honoured living legend of today, Suzi Q has retained an attitude and swagger that’s as quintessentially Detroit as it is Motown. 

Currently enjoying something of a career renaissance, Quatro has used enforced lockdown downtime well, producing The Devil In Me (in collaboration with her son Richard Tuckey), an album that some, including Suzi herself, are already calling a career highlight.


The first music I remember hearing

That would very probably have been my mother singing to me. I always remember that she used to sing [Doris Day’s] Que Sera Sera all the time. It’s still one of my favourites, with great lyrics that I still believe: ‘what will be, will be’.

The first song I performed live

That would have been when I was seven and playing bongos in front of my father’s band the Art Quatro Trio. He took me to his gig and I played Mack The Knife on the bongo drums.

The greatest album of all time

It’s Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde for me. I first heard it when I was about fourteen or fifteen when it first came out. I totally and utterly fell in love with it and I’ve been a lifelong Bob Dylan fanatic from that moment on. Bob Dylan clarified my love of writing lyrics.

The singer

Nat King Cole. I like the tone of his voice, the smokiness of it and that it goes straight to the heart. What he sings, you believe.

The songwriter

Well, the first person that springs to mind is Carole King, so I’d have to say her.

The guitar hero

It would have to be my bass hero, which is James Jamerson from Tamla Motown [Jamerson appeared on literally hundreds of 60s and early-70s hits by The Supremes, Steve Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops et al]. I’m from Detroit, so how could Motown not be a part of my life? I was weaned on it. It’s huge and in my DNA forever.

The best live band I've seen

I would have to say that the first live band that I really loved were the Blues Magoos. I went to a downtown club in Detroit called the Chess Mate Club and they were the first psychedelic rock’n’roll band from New York that I had ever seen, and the noise and the craziness of it just blew me away.

The biggest disappointment

The one that came to mind was when we were snowed in here [Essex] and we had a gig up in Scotland. So we took the Range Rover, got all the way up to Scotland and the gig had been cancelled. As biggest disappointments go, that was pretty shitty.

The most underrated band ever

I don’t know who that would be. Not even one comes to mind, probably because if they were that underrated I wouldn’t have been interested or have even heard of them.

The anthem

I really like Let It Be by The Beatles. A great anthem to close the sixties. It’s just a great, great number.

My Saturday night party dong

Runaround Sue by Dion And The Belmonts. Such a great vocal.

The best record I've made

My new album, The Devil In Me, is my best work. And I’m not the only one saying it, it’s coming from every single reviewer. Since No Control [2019] I’ve been on a songwriting surge, just nonstop. My fire is lit. My son Richard has really made every song on the album count. My Heart And Soul, a Christmas song, is just one of the best, most beautiful things we’ve ever written. It was from missing my husband. I was two and a half months without him when that one came out.

The worst record I've made

I really try not to be involved in anything bad. If it’s bad I’m not doing it. Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman wrote songs specifically for me, but there was one song called Some Girls that Mike had written for Debbie Harry. She didn’t want it, and he played it for me. I said: “No, this is pop. I’m not pop.” It ended up with Racey [who had a UK No.2 hit with it in 1979].

My guilty pleasure

My most guilty pleasure is watching Coronation Street. Not any more, but I used to love to watch the original Coronation Street. I thought it was really indicative of British life.

My 'in the mood for love' song

When I Fall In Love by Nat King Cole. My favourite song of all time. It had a huge emotional impact on me.

The song that makes me cry

That same song, Nat King Cole’s When I Fall In Love. I first heard it back in the fifties when it first came out. My dad used to play it a lot.

The song I want played at my funeral

Same song again. I’ve actually already had it written into my will that it’ll be played at my funeral.

Suzi Quatro’s The Devil In Me is available now via Steamhammer/SPV.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.