The original wild one is given a career once over
To MV, Suzi Quatro will always be synonymous with two things. First, her appearances on Saturday Morning childhood shows like Swap Shop and Going Live (it was still ok to like Noel “Tiny Beard” Edmonds then so it’s cool) and her cameo showing on the greatest TV programme ever made (that’s Minder should there be any doubt).
What that means, however is like any kid growing up in late 1970s and early 1980s, we knew Suzi’s hits (and liked them too) but we perhaps weren’t as familiar as we might have been as to the rest of her back catalogue.
Indeed, it was only upon receiving “Legend” for review that we began to think that, you know what, that title might be on the money. Because, really, when Suzi released her debut record in 1973 who else was there doing this type of rock n roll as a female solo artist? Of course it’s common now – but maybe it wouldn’t have been without trailblazers like Quatro. Or put another way, it is entirely possible that without her MV wouldn’t have been able to engage in our (as yet) unrequited love affair with Belinda Carlisle since 1987.
But we digress.
The point of all this is shown in “Legend”. A 20-song retrospective, which is released alongside along with four remastered solo albums.
“Legend” is particularly interesting because Quatro has picked the songs herself. Which means that alongside the aforementioned chart botherers “Can The Can” Devil Gate Drive” “48 Crash” and the others, she has given the chance for people like us to hear a flavour of the rest of her career too.
The old cliché about the best songs never dating is never more true here either. It is on another of the mega sellers that she hits top marks. “Stumblin’ In” a duet with Chris Norman is perfect, laid-back West Coast country and a world away from the leather clad biker chick shtick that we might have thought of.
Ironically, it is the quieter ones that show her real skill. “If You Can’t Give Me Love” from 1978 is like a turbo charged “My Sweet Lord” and there is a real sense of regret about the brilliant “Suicide”, with it’s echoes of something Springsteen might have done on “Born To Run” and the bluesy “Cat Size” is perfect for the end of the night when it is just you and your regrets.
Elsewhere there is glorious simplicity about the rock n roll here. “She’s In Love With You” is perfect singalong stuff, and the 1979 tale of misadventure might have been done on songs from Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” to Poison’s “Fallen Angel” and others, but never better than here – and you imagine the closing swearword might have caused more shockwaves then than now.
Although she is rightly proud of her self-penned songs, it is “Wild One” (written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn who were behind many of the hits) that seems to sum her up best. After claiming she is a “touched up freak on a winning streak” it becomes essentially the perfect three minute pop rock song.
We already knew she had buckets of those, of course, but “Legend” proves she remains so much more and is a fabulous document of a varied career.
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