Suzi Quatro — who turns 64 today (Tuesday) — was born in Detroit but chose rock and roll over the Motown sound for her niche.
She played in the band The Pleasure Seekers, which recorded for Mercury in the late ’60s with little success. She then moved to England in 1971 and was signed by producer Micky Most, who’d enjoyed tremendous success with Donovan and Herman’s Hermits. He was the mastermind for a series of hits — none of which did much in the States.
Her biggest American year was 1979 when her duet with Chris Norman, “Stumblin’ In,” peaked in the Top 5 — and she appeared on several Happy Days episodes as Leather Tuscadero, the bass-playing sister of Fonzie’s girlfriend Pinky. In a 2008 interview, Quatro says she was offered her own spin-off sitcom by Happy Days creator Garry Marshall — but she turned it down, fearful of being typecast. The season on which she appeared, 1978-’79, was reissued on DVD last month.
Her most recent U.S. appearance was in April 2013, when she and Martha Reeves were among the guests at the annual Detroit Music Awards.
Suzi remains a popular international touring act. Her website notes that she played Australia in July, did a show in Tokyo last Friday and is booked for August shows in Denmark and the Czech Republic.