Suzi Quatro famously said, “I will retire when I go onstage, shake my ass and there is silence.” To be honest, it's hard to imagine that there would ever be an audience anywhere that Suzi Quatro could not entertain. Her career is surely the envy of many other musicians who dream of her longevity. Suzi has after-all been a consummate professional for over 50 years, selling over 55 million records. She's a natural and gifted musician who's had an extraordinary and versatile career that thankfully shows no sign of stalling anytime soon.
As four of her RAK albums get their digital debut, Suzi also releases a greatest hits album with a difference – the tracks were chosen by her. Legend is a perhaps the best Suzi Quatro compilation album that you could have in your collection because it shows a broad section of her abilities as a musician and writer. Alongside all the favourites, the album even shows signs of the more progressive elements of her music that would be brought out in her current side project with supergroup QSP. Take the end section of the superb Skin Tight Skin from her debut album, for a syncopated run down that's unlike anything you'd be familiar with from her glam style pop tunes. All the hits are there as a reminder of her commercial success: Can The Can, Devil Gate Drive, Stumblin' In. Of course, the compilation would feel desperately out of place without them, but many of the album tracks that have been overlooked by other curators appear in this personal collection. Interestingly all the tracks featured have also made it into a live arena too at some stage, meaning that they also managed to cross over from a deep cut to a live version.
Often seen as a pioneer of female rock, Suzi personally rebuffed the idea of gender from the beginning; refusing to see her femininity as an obstacle, or even see herself as different from the male orientated world of rock music that she found herself in. She was just a musician and an artist, the same as them and taken just as seriously. Not seeing her gender as a barrier gave Suzi the advantage of paving a way for women in rock. Her leather jumpsuit is as iconic as her bass lines. For the time it was sexy, shocking and groundbreaking. Even when you listen to the heavily sexual lyrics (listen to Daytona Demon and She's In Love With You for some of these progressively risqué moments) in some of her songs you realise that this is a woman who wanted to shake things up, level the playing field, refused to be trampled underfoot and above all be as respected by her peers for being a talented musician and not just a gimmick or a fad.
For an artist who came to the top through hard graft, tenacity and professionalism, Suzi naturally finds the so-called quick success route ridiculous. Even in 1979 when she released Hollywood, a catchy and satirical tale about a young starlet looking for fame in all the wrong places, Suzi was keen to point out that there really is only one way to get to the top – practice and perseverance. 15 Minutes of Fame follows a similar line but is delivered in a more jovial style but none the less unaware of the fragility of fame. Free the Butterfly take its name from Suzi's self-help album with therapist and sound healer Shirlie Roden. The track itself is an optimistic and empowering song about new beginnings and embracing life's changes. Dancing in the Wind is another commentary from a mature point of view about the phoney and facile nature of celebrity; from the vulture newspaper hacks who want to tear you apart to the avaricious suits who want a pound of flesh but the over riding message could be emblematic of Suzi's long career: you have to rise above all that crap to stay at the top and not be dragged down.
The Best of Suzi Quatro: Legend is an outstanding compilation for long time fans or those who want an introduction to Suzi's music. It's also a worthy reminder of the pioneering and legendary musician.
Groupie Rating 5/5