This week was the 64th birthday of Suzi Quatro. Leather Tuscadero! I do not need to say anything more.
Susan Kay “Suzi” Quatro (born 3 June 1950) is British-based American singer-songwriter, bass guitar player, and actor. She is the first female bass player to become a major rock star — this success in the 1970s “empowered women”.
In the 1970s Quatro scored a string of hit singles that initially found greater success in Europe and Australia than in her homeland. But, following a recurring role as a female bass player on the popular American sitcom Happy Days, her duet “Stumblin’ In” with Chris Norman reached number 4 in the USA.
Between 1973 and 1980 Quatro was awarded six Bravo Ottos. In 2010 she was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame.
She is known in the United States for her role as female bass player Leather Tuscadero on the TV show Happy Days. Show producer Garry Marshall offered the role without an audition after seeing her on his daughter’s bedroom wall. Leather was the younger sister of Fonzie’s girlfriend, hot-rod driver Pinky Tuscadero. Leather fronted a rock band joined by principal character Joanie Cunningham. The character returned in other cameo roles, including once for a date to a fraternity formal with Ralph Malph. Marshall offered Quatro a Leather Tuscadero spin-off, but she refused, saying she did not want to be typecast.
Rock/hard rock singer Pat Benatar started her musical career in the 1970s and won four consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance from 1981 to 1984. According to Greg Prato and Stephen Thomas Erlew of AllMusic, Benatar was influenced by Quatro.
Tina Weymouth is a founding member and bassist of the New Wave group Talking Heads (formed in 1975 in New York City, USA) and its side project Tom Tom Club. Talking Heads was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. When Chris Frantz was unable to find a bass player interested in joining the group, he encouraged Weymouth to learn to play bass by listening to Quatro albums.
Quatro had a direct influence on The Runaways and Joan Jett. She also inspired Chrissie Hynde, the singer for rock band The Pretenders, and The White Stripes.