Speak the names of 1970s & early-'80s women rock icons such as Patty Smith, Debbie Harry, or Joan Jett, and you'll undoubtedly receive a nod of recognition. Say Suzi Quatro, and for the few who know the name, most will point to Happy Days, the American Graffiti-inspired hit '70s sit-com that featured Quatro in the recurring role of her Fonzie-adjacent character, Leather Tuscadero (footnote: Debbie Harry was also considered for the part). Few could name one of her many hits.
But Suzi Quatro was already a bonafide rock star by the time she was cast on Happy Days. It was, in fact, because she was a bonafide rock star that she got the role. As a kid, I understood that the woman singing with a seductive rock 'n' roll rasp wearing skin-tight leather jumpsuits and sporting the very un-1950s shag haircut, sharing the screen with Ron Howard and Henry Winkler, was a real rocker somewhere, someplace, but there was always a strange disconnect with Quatro. A popular culture gap. Why didn't I hear her on the radio? Where did she exist beyond the world of Happy Days? Why did she somehow seem both here and nowhere at the same time? And why now, with a career that spans more than four decades and record sales totaling over 55 million, is this Detroit native still barely known within the US? The compelling and revealing documentary, Suzi Q—from the Australian-based team of Liam Firmager and Tait Brady—fills all the gaps and satisfies every question.
Stream it, you won't regret it. It's the stuff a great rock 'n' roll documentary is made of. She'll inspire. You'll run to Spotify. You'll tell your friends.