Why Isn't Suzi Quatro In The Rock Hall Of Fame? The First Rock Chick, Then And Now

By | July 16, 2019

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Left: Suzi Quatro on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1975. Right: On stage at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1978. Sources: eBay; David Redfern/Redferns via Getty Images

Trailblazing musician Suzi Quatro is rightly credited with creating a new role for women in hard rock -- essentially, the rock 'n roll frontwoman, like a frontman in every way except gender. Quatro's band dressed like a bunch of bikers, and so did she. They were a four-piece, with Quatro on bass. With hard rock anthems like "48 Crash" and "Can The Can," which were massive hits outside of the U.S., Quatro proved that she could command the stage without having to wear a miniskirt and bang a tambourine. But is something missing from her resume?

Quatro has topped the singles chart in the UK (twice), Australia (three times), Germany, Ireland, South Africa, and Portugal. She's had eight top-ten hits in both Australia and Germany, and she's sold over 50 million albums worldwide. But how does the rock establishment judge someone who utterly failed to crack the U.S. market? Harshly, it would seem. Despite her achievements, Quatro isn't in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, an omission she called "disgusting" in early 2019. She told Billboard:

I'm pissed off that history is being rewritten. I was first, right? I was there before anybody else had a twinkle in their eye -- that's a fact of life.

From the earliest days growing up in a musical family just outside Detroit, Suzi Quatro and her sisters brought the noise. From self-taught bass player to international superstar, Suzi Quatro’s journey showed women everywhere that rock 'n roll knows no gender lines. However, Quatro’s road to international fame and fortune did not come easy.

Cabaret Clubs And Elvis Presley

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Left: A late-'60s PR photo of the Pleasure Seekers, featuring Patti Quatro, Arlene Quatro, Eileen Biddlingmeier, Diane Baker, and Suzi Quatro. Right: Quatro and her band as seen on the cover of her first album. Sources: Wikimedia Commons, suziquatro.com

Music was part of Quatro’s life from her early childhood. She idolized Elvis Presley and his sensuous style from watching The King on television. She also played either the bongo or congas in her father’s band, the Art Quatro Trio, while still in elementary school. Eventually, Quatro and her four sisters struck out on their own, becoming the Pleasure Seekers.

The sexy sounding and looking ladies were forced to mostly play in cabaret clubs where their looks earned more attention than their music. Despite her young age, Suzi understood that a little sex appeal was a necessary evil to make it big.