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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Suzi Quatro - The Albums (1980-1986) [3CD]
Artist - Suzi Quatro

The Albums (1980-1986) (due out May 20th, 2022 via 7T’s Records/Cherry Red Records UK) is a triple CD containing three albums by legendary ‘70s actress, broadcaster and the self-proclaimed First Lady of Rock, Suzi Quatro!

For those wanting a little bit more than that, Suzie Quatro is the aforementioned American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress who in the 1970s scored a string of hit singles that found greater success in Europe and Australia than in her homeland; reaching #1 in the UK, other European countries and Australia with her singles Can the Can (1973) and Devil Gate Drive (1974).

Quatro released her self-titled debut album in 1973 and since then she has released fifteen studio albums, ten compilation albums, and one live album. Her other solo hits also include 48 Crash, Daytona Demon, The Wild One, and Your Mama Won’t Like Me.

Following a recurring role as bass player Leather Tuscadero on the popular American sitcom Happy Days, her duet Stumblin’ In with Smokie’s lead singer Chris Norman reached #4 in the US.

Between 1973 and 1980, Quatro was awarded six Bravo Ottos and in 2010, she was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame. She is reported to have sold over 50 million records worldwide and continues to perform live.

Indeed, Quatro’s most recent studio album, The Devil in Me, was released in 2021 and saw the collaboration of her son Richard Tuckey who had already taken part in No Control in 2019.

The Albums (1980-1986) features three albums she put out between 1980 and 1986: Rock Hard (1980), Main Attraction (1982) and Unreleased Emotion (1986), and also now come with some extra tracks as a bonus!

Disc One is the Rock Hard album, the title track of which hit #68 in the UK charts (#26 Germany, #11 Australia) which features the ‘Glad All Over’ (#70 Germany) and ‘Lipstick’ singles.

CD 1: Rock Hard (1980)
1. Rock Hard
2. Glad All Over
3. Love Is Ready
4. State Of Mind
5. Woman Cry
6. Lipstick
7. Hard Headed
8. Ego In The Night
9. Lonely Is The Hardest
10. Lay Me Down
11. Wish Upon Me
12. Warm Leatherette [Bonus Track]

Although glam had long slipped off the radar by 1981, that year found Suzi Quatro releasing one of her finest albums. With Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (the producers behind her biggest hits) at the controls, Quatro and her band craft a series of songs that blend the hard rock power that fueled her glam rock era hits with a new soundscape that tarts up the songs with some ear attracting new wave hooks.

The tone is set by the title track, which starts the album with a blast thanks to its effective combination chugging guitar riffs, a stomping beat, and a shout-along chorus that praises the song’s tough female heroine.

Other hard rocking highlights include Glad All Over, a cover of the Dave Clark Five classic that uses a backbeat reminiscent of a squad of rolling tanks on its chorus, and Lipstick, a kiss-off to a cheating lover that pits power chords against bubblegum-styled handclaps to create a beguiling fusion of pop hooks and rock & roll muscle.

Even the quieter numbers manage to rock in their own way: a good example being Love Is Ready, a mid-tempo invitation to romance that swings with authority over some soaring guitar riffs.

Although it lacks the kind of single that would have put it over the top commercially, Rock Hard is so consistent and likable that it is tough to argue with.

Disc Two is 1982’s Main Attraction album which includes the ‘Heart Of Stone’ and the title track ‘Main Attraction’ 45s.

CD 2: Main Attraction (1982)
1. Heart Of Stone
2. Cheap Shot
3. She Knows
4. Main Attraction
5. Two Miles Out Of Georgia
6. Candy Man
7. Remote Control
8. Fantasy In Stereo
9. Transparent
10. Oh Baby
11. Heart Of Stone (7” Version)[Bonus Track]

I think it is more than fair to say that in the 1970s, glam-rocker Suzi Quatro was the original leather-clad rock & roll tough gal, inspiring Joan Jett and a host of others.

By the early ’80s, though, she was exploring a variety of other sonic options and coming just two years after Rock Hard, Main Attraction comes across as a three-album-melding of genres, thoughts and lyrical depth.

That said though, more than enough of the tracks are wickedly melodic, acoustic-based in places, some even a little Juice Newton-sounding (which is bever a bad thing, in my book), and whilst a few explore new wave/electro-dance production touches of the time (for better or for worse), the faithful were more than happy to hear her Quatro-embedded rocker mode still being forged.

The final disc is the Unreleased Emotion album which was recorded in 1986 though not issued until 1992. Bonus tracks include the ‘I Go Wild’ and ‘Tonight I Could Fall In Love’ singles which are joined by a duet with Troggs’ vocalist Reg Presley on ‘Wild Thing’.

CD 3: Unreleased Emotion (1986)
1. Pardon Me
2. There She Goes
3. Can I Be Your Girl
4. I’m A Rocker
5. Strange Encounters
6. Comes The Night
7. Starry Night
8. Good Girl (Looking For A Bad Time)
9. Everything I Ever Wanted
10. Secret Hideaway
11. Just Like Momma
12. Suzi Q
13. I Go Wild [Bonus Track]
14. Tonight I Could Fall In Love [Bonus Track]
15. Tonight I Could Fall In Love (Extended Mix) [Bonus Track]
16. Wild Thing (with Reg Presley) [Bonus Track]
17. I Don’t Want You (with Reg Presley) [Bonus Track]
18. Wild Thing (with Reg Presley) (Extended Mix) [Bonus Track]

An obvious loving ode to the likes of Roy Orbison, ’50s and early ’60s girl groups and similar era Elvis and company, Unreleased Emotion is perhaps a wee bit too faithful to this sound for its own good.

Though it undeniably illustrates Quatro’s abilities in writing accomplished approximations of this era across many styles, an ’80s twist a la the production approach of fellow ’50s inspired Detroiters The Romantics, may have served to make this a little more relevant, whilst still preserving Quatro’s rock credentials, so to speak.

As it stands, overwhelmingly, this album is very light bubbly rock with (I’m sad to report) thin, inexpensive sounding production. The result is that the great majority of it feels like it would never have made it onto albums when Quatro was successful just a few years earlier.

However, on another level, Unreleased Emotion is a graphic illustration (one of many) of just how difficult the massive post-punk change in musical style was in the ’80s, and especially for most ’70s chart artists in Europe.

But Quatro pushed on with it and come the final result, the music is definitely Quatro-esque, but not the hard rocker vibe that we were all used to before the dawn of the ’80s. But change, nay perpetual evolution, is most definitely something that music artists have to either dive into or shirk away from, and so (and regardless of the overall lackluster musical embrace that it puts out), I still praise Suzi for her efforts here.

‘70s expert Phil Hendricks has provided in-depth liner notes and the booklet also contains numerous associated picture sleeves from around the globe.

Still touring to this very day Suzi will be celebrated her 50-year career in the music industry with a show at the London Royal Albert Hall in April 2022.

Official Suzi Quatro Website

Official 3CD Purchase Link