Just as their run with Sweet was petering out in 1974, songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn hooked up with a spunky little leather-clad rocker from Detroit, transplanted to London, Suzi Quatro.
When rehearsals for her first album were coming together, producer Mickie Most brought in the Chinnichap team to help out. Two weeks later Chapman and Chinn delivered “Can the Can,” produced the song with Quatro and her tough three-piece band, and watched it shoot to No. 1 in the UK.
The first Quatro album is a power pop landmark: infusing pop into real rock ‘n’ roll, rather than the other way around. Besides boasting Chinnichap’s hooky “Can the Can,” “48 Crash,” and the pre-Adam Ant tribal beat of “Primitive Love,” the album also features Quatro and guitarist Len Tuckey’s “Official Suburbian Superman,” “Sticks and Stones,” and most impressive and enduring, “Skin Tight Skin.”
“Skin” is a spooky precursor to the electronic new wave of Gary Numan and Blondie, highlighted by Alastair McKenzie’s atmospheric mellotron wash and jazzy electric piano.
Chinnichap did several albums with Quatro, and though the rock steadily gave way to the pop over time, they generated a boatload of hits in the U.K. before finally hitting in the U.S. in 1979 with “Stumblin’ In,” her duet with Smokie lead singer Chris Norman. Quatro’s tough-chick persona also led to the role of Leather Tuscadero on TV’s Happy Days.