The ‘Happy Days’ Regular Who Broke Barriers For Joan Jett And The Go-Go’s

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'Happy Days''Happy Days'

Suzi Quatro became known to America as a member of the fictional band Leather and the Suedes on Happy Days, where she played Leather Tuscadero. Although she was already well-known in countries like the UK, Australia, and Germany, it was not until her TV appearance did America recognized her.

She made her only top-five American hit thanks to Happy Days and sold more than 50 million records worldwide. The duet with Smokie’s Chris Norman, “Stumblin’ In” became a fan favorite beyond the US as well, and she performed on stages and media. Here are interesting facts about the tough girl rocker from the classic sitcom.

Humble beginnings

HAPPY DAYS, Suzi Quatro, Henry Winkler, ‘Fonzie: Rock Entrepreneur, Pt. I & II’ (Season 5), 1974-84

As a teenager, Suzi asked her father for a guitar after seeing the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, where she had watched Elvis Presley perform seven years prior. She and her sister, Patti, became an all-girl group with two other siblings in the neighborhood.

Hideout Records signed the newly formed band named Pleasure Seekers, and Suzi’s promoter brother helped them get gigs in Detroit. Suzi and Patti were joined by their sisters Arlene and Nancy due to lineup changes, and they moved to Mercury Records.

Suzi opened doors for artists like Joan Jett

As the world moved on to heavier sounds, Pleasure Seekers adapted and changed their name to Cradle, touring the US and Vietnam in 1971. English producer Mickie Most took a liking to Suzi when he watched them perform, so he invited her to Motown studios, where she met and jammed The Meters’ “Cissy Strut” with guitarist Jeff Beck and iconic drummer Cozy Powell. Suzi also scored a record deal with Most’s label, RAK.

JOAN JETT, c. 1980

Suzi opened doors for artists like Joan Jett and The Go-Go’s in the male-dominated Rock ‘n’ Roll genre. Although the gender play was undeniable, Suzi admitted she never let it get in her way and simply did what she loved best: music. “I didn’t ever think of myself, I didn’t then, and I don’t now, as a girl musician. I think it’s because I don’t do gender,” she once said. “So, I wasn’t up there like a women’s libber and, ‘Hey, I’m a girl, and look what I can do.’ That wasn’t my act. It was just, ‘Here I am.’”

Playing Leather on ‘Happy Days’

Suzi appeared on seven episodes of the famous ‘70s series, Happy Days and this helped to ramp up her ratings in the US. She was just dropped by her American record label when creator Gary Marshall noticed her after seeing her photo in his daughter’s bedroom. Her appearance in seasons five and six, in addition to her collaboration with the Smokie frontman, saved Suzi’s career in her homeland.

HAPPY DAYS, Ron Howard, Suzi Quatro, Anson Williams, ‘Rules To Date By’ Season 5), 1974-84

“I was selling millions of records, you know? And anybody with success is gonna get some of the doubters and try to put you in a box or whatever. I had plenty of people who said, ‘Wow.’ And I’ve had other people who said, ‘Oh, manufactured.’ If you know me at all, one thing I could never be is manufactured,” she said in 2019.

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