Suzi Quatro is a female rock star who began playing bass guitar and singing lead back in the early 1970s and still does to the present day. She is renowned for her hits can the can, devil gate drive, stumblin in, If you can’t give me love to name but a few. She has gone on to also star in many tv shows (happy days, Minder and many more) and theatre shows (Annie Get Your Gun and Tallulah Bankhead). She has also worked as a radio presenter including her own show on BBC Radio 2.
For more background on Suzi check out her Wikipedia page
If you have read any of my previous blog posts you will have noticed that the rock star Suzi Quatro has always been a huge influence on my leather world for many years. From her awe-inspiring leather clothing and rocking music to her dominant character and take on life in what used to be a mans world of rock and roll.
For me, Suzi Quatro is and will always be the sexy, feisty first girl of rock who took to my tv screen and stage dressed head to foot leather and she rocked my world!
Here is a list of the 10 times Suzi Quatro Rocked my world in her leathers.
1. Seeing her In that leather jumpsuit
The first time I actually realised I was watching Suzi on tv was way back in the 80s. When she appeared on the Saturday morning kids show swap shop. She was wearing only a leather jacket and I can remember thinking wow she is the leader of her own band. I know by then she was already famous and hadn’t had a number one hit for several years. But back in 1973 when she took the world by storm I was just 8 years old and although I probably did see her on top of the pops and don’t have that clear a memory of it. No, it was later when I was in my teenage years, after seeing her on swap shop that I realized who she was and began looking back at her earlier years when she was at the height of her rock and roll fame. This wasn’t as easy back then as it is today. I can just click on google and find everything I need. No back then I had to rely on the BBC repeating top of the pops and old magazines and newspaper clips. Looking back now it is incredible to think that she was such a groundbreaker and role model.
2. Watching Her In Full Leather Rocking on My TV
Watching a repeat of her performing Can The Can from 1973 in one of her famous full leather outfits just blew my mind. I had never seen anything like it. She seemed so powerful and sexy. Strutting around in her leathers and clearly being the one in complete charge. I knew watching her then that that’s who I wanted to be just as soon as I could get hold of a leather jumpsuit like the ones she was always being seen wearing.
I found many articles and photos from newspapers and magazines from the early 1970s and in everyone she was in full leather, sometimes a silver catsuit but usually a black leather jumpsuit. I don’t know if it was the only one she had, but she seemed to be living in it. Just like I would be when I got one I thought!
In a lot of the pictures, She was often depicted as being worshipped by all the other long-haired band members (all male) and they were clearly all in her power. Looking at her, bass guitar slung low over her leather-covered hips just mesmerized me and gave me many sexy thoughts I can tell you!
3. Seeing her Live On Stage In her Leathers
Watching her on various chat shows and performing her latest song during the late 80s and early 90s she had begun to not wear full leather. She always had some leather, a jacket some leather trousers and a couple of times I was shocked by her appearing in a leather skirt. During these years she always reminded me of one of my aunts who was a bit of a wild lady. She always wore some leather, usually kid leather gloves or a long leather coat, and was always looking gorgeous. Suzi seemed more middle-aged mom now and her music seemed to reflect that. I guess you can’t be a teenage leather rebel all your life. Or so I thought at the time!
I finally got to see her playing live in about 2006 at, of all places, the Buxton Opera house in the Peak District, England. She did the show with a tight backing band and it was all quite civilized. We even had an interval. When she came back on for the second time the place went wild as she walked on stage wearing her trademark full leather catsuit. I was of course wearing my Suzi costume-leather jacket and leather trousers. She blew the roof off and all us old cronies had a great time. I can just about remember coming out of there (id had quite a lot to drink lol) and enjoyed strolling, or was that staggering? back through the pretty gardens. As soon as the place looked deserted I can remember my guy and I getting very naughty in the cool summer evening behind some trees-what a naughty night it was. Rock on Suzi Q!!
4. Becoming A Leather Suzi
So, after deciding that Suzi was the sexiest and strongest woman I had seen I knew I needed to get myself a leather jumpsuit. Unfortunately back in the early nineties, A real leather outfit like that was going to cost a fortune. There were a few high street leather shops and they sold plenty of leather clothes (mostly leather jackets) a few leather skirts and pants but no jumpsuits. I knew that you would probably have to go shopping in London to find leather catsuits on the rack or even made to measure – as I’m sure Suzi’s were.
So I had to compromise and wear as much leather as I could even though it wasn’t a jumpsuit. I had the sexiest pair of leather trousers which I had already bought (see my first leather trouser blog post). I managed to find a thin, skin-tight leather-look jacket that had been made of very similar looking leather as my trousers. I found a gorgeous wide leather belt with a silver buckle on it to wear and cover up the waistline gap between my jacket and trousers. With the belt on It looked pretty close to a full-length leather jumpsuit just like Suzie. finding some high heeled leather booties was easy, as they were on sale everywhere. Next, I was off to the hairdressers to have a Suzi hair cut. Now her hairstyle in the 70s was pretty radicule-tom boyish my mother would say. And it didn’t fit in with the nineties big hairdos. But I wanted the shortish mousey hairstyle that Susie had.
And that was me done looking just like an early 1970s Suzi Quatro! Apart from the slight fact that it was now the early 80s lol.
The other problem was her look was just half the story. It was also her attitude. I needed to adopt her in charge persona, I wanted to be the boss, the leader of a band and rock and roll!! How was I going to do that without even being able to play a bass guitar?
5. I love Stumblin’ In
The curious thing is with Suzi is that although she has this wonderful rock and roll image of being a leather queen. Apart from the leather clothing that is about it as far as her rock lifestyle goes. No drink, drugs, orgies not even smoking/ In fact if it wasn’t for her leather she could have been seen as your neighbor or mom who just happens to play the guitar, sing and occasionally would get dressed up in a leather jumpsuit and do her best Elvis impression. At the time I didn’t appreciate this and took it she was living the whole rock queen lifestyle. So in my leather pants and jacket with my short hair cut, I started drinking whiskey and smoking. I thought I looked so cool standing outside a night club lighting up a cigarette and sharing a bottle of jack daniels until one of us pucked. She may not have been living the rock and roll lifestyle but I was-without the music bit!
Of course building up a love of smoking and drinking doesn’t happen overnight – it takes a lot of practice. And back in my teenage years when I still lived with my parents, this could cause quite a lot of trouble. When a mum or dad sees their sweet little daughter stumbling through the front door smelling of cigarette smoke and whiskey and barely being able to string a sentence together or stand up without the aid of a wall, chair, or anything nearby I guess they lose their shit! And mine certainly did haha.
Nothing worse than your mom and dad giving you evils over the morning’s breakfast table after you woke the whole house up at 3 o’clock in the morning and somehow tried to get into the wrong house. Now you feel like throwing up at any moment and mum clanks down a bowl of frosties in front of you with the words “You better be going in to work. Being hungover is not an excuse. Even though you look terrible” You try to keep the sick in but suddenly it explodes all over the kitchen table-last nights bourbon and kebab. “You young lady are grounded for a year”!
Thanks Suzi !!
6. Hello Leather Tuscadero
I still don’t know if her stint on the happy days tv show helped enhance her rock and roll career or ruined it. Looking back at her episodes now it does seem very cheesy and full of canned laughter. She is wearing plenty of leather, although not always a full ensemble. and she rocks a few songs as the leader of her band. But I think she was right to turn down their offer of more episodes and also refusing to go and make a spin-off show. A bit like all those dodgy films Elvis made. They are very full of candy floss and weak stories even though its the king of rock and roll in them.
I was glad to see her on tv and loved the name- Leather Tuscadero but I’m glad she went on and did so much more.
7. Watching Her Film and seeing she is still in full leather
In the late nineties and early ’00s, I lost sight of Suzi. I didn’t see much of her. I know she did some stage shows and appeared in a few tv shows as a guest show. But there weren’t many songs and on the few times I did see her she wasn’t even wearing any leather!!
But towards the end of the 00s, I caught her DVD documentary leather forever ( a mixture of chat and concert performances) and I was bowled over! Here she was once again rocking in her full leather outfits, leading the band and controlling the crowd. She was the leather-clad Suzi Quatro I knew and loved. And still inspiring me. Here she was in her fifties showing the world that an older woman can still wear full leathers and still rock them like it was 1973!!!
8. Reading her Autobiography
I can remember standing on a wet damp underground train platform. Dressed in one of my leather catsuits, boots and yes I was wearing the wide leather belt I had bought all those years ago. It was my I’m leather Suzi outfit. I had heard on the radio that she was in London and would be signing copies of her autobiography, Unzipped. I was excited as I couldn’t wait to actually meet her, I was dressed in my leathers and she would also, hopefully, be dressed in leather too. I got to the book store much later than I had planned and had certainly caused quite a bit of attention in my catsuit. I couldn’t understand that when I got to the book department of the store there was no queue. Surely I wasn’t the only one who wanted to meet the leather queen of rock and roll? There was a dark wooden desk and a high backed leather chair in the far corner of the store. On the desk was a pile of her books, some DVDs, and a note saying Suzi Quatro book signing here today 10-12.00. Which was gutting because it was now 12.45!! The seat was still warm ! she must have only just left. My chance to see her in the leather had gone!
I bought the book anyway and certainly enjoyed reading her side of her remarkable story. Interestingly although she did talk about wearing that leather jumpsuit and the fact that wearing leather was her idea and she actually had to fight to be allowed to wear it. There wasn’t much more about it. A bit like when I read Tina Turner biography. Surely she had a leather fetish like me the number of times she wore leather. But no turned out she only wore leather because she didn’t have to iron it when she was on the road touring!!!
9. Finding Out Who Else Was Influenced By Suzi Quatro
Over the years I had a few friends who admitted to liking Suzis’ music and look. I had many boyfriends who loved her look and therefore mine. But I have also realised (as Iam sure Suzi herself has) just how many women in particular in the music industry she has influenced and through her own work got them to perform and becoming rock royalty them selves.
Here’s just a few who have said publicly that Suzi Quatro played an important part in influencing them and their own careers:
- Joan Jett and RunTina Weymouth (aways
- Debbie Harry
- Chrissie Hynde
- Kathy Valentine (Go-Gos)
- KT Tunstall
- Courtney Love
- Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads)
10. She Keeps on Rocking In Leathers
So as the great Suzi reaches 70 this year I am so glad to report that she is still rocking the crowds and rocking leather. She is just launching a documentary film of her life and was planning yet another tour.
I cant see her stopping either! Its great to know that you can still be up for walking around in tight leather, no matter what your age. This gives me encouragement and means I am fully expecting to be rocking my leathers into my seventies-and beyond!
Thanks Suzi x
Some Suzi Quatro Records In My Collection & They Should Be In Yours!
There are a lot of greatest hit packages around and each has the most famous tracks plus a few different from the others. So I guess you need a few of them to get a good selection of her work. Obvioulsy if you spot any of the original vinyl albums from back in the seventies they are worth quite a bit. I wish I’d kept all of mine!!
Suzi Q : Trailblazer, Inspiration, Survivor
And here is her latest release Suzi Q : Trailblazer, Inspiration, Survivor a DVD film part concert footage and part documentary. Its a must-have for any Suzi Quatro fan like me. Maybe this time I will get it signed by her!