May the Quatro be with you: Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman, “Stumblin’ In” (1979)


(Above: Suzi Quatro’s debut album, 1978.)

Early this morning I saw a take on the Star Wars “May the Fourth be with you” trope invoking Suzi Quatro.  I shared the meme, got a laugh, and then hopped in the shower.  Damned if this song didn’t get sung in the shower as a result, so here we go.

Detroit’s Suzi Quatro was known to television viewers in the late 1970s from a guest appearance she made as Leather Tuscadero, the singing sister of Pinky, on “Happy Days.”  Her signature greeting was to slap her hip twice and point her finger as if it were a pistol, saying “pow.”  She looked nothing like a character from the 1950s, but by the time Fonzie cleared the shark, such continuity wasn’t necessary.   If that wasn’t enough, she was also given an opportunity to sing on the show as a member of Leather and the Suedes. (As a kid, I much preferred this to time given to Anson Williams to sing.) Her singing career up to that point hadn’t been much to write home about, charting Top 100 singles in 1974 and 1976.

But TV has a funny way of making people famous.  The first song released after the string of TV appearances, “Stumblin’ In,” went all the way to #4 in early 1979.  One hit, and that was it.  A few subsequent releases that year – “If You Can’t Give Me Love,” “I’ve Never Been in Love,” and “She’s In Love With You” (do you sense a theme?) – all stalled out just below the threshold of the Top 40.

The song, to be honest, is damned catchy. It had been years since I had heard it, and then we snuck it into the rotation at WCFL, and I think played it a couple of times a week.

So who is Chris Norman, you asked?  You won’t go away wondering.  He was a member of the band Smokie, a British band that hit the American Top 40 once in 1977 with a song called “Livin’ Next Door To Alice.” It’s a little too David Geddes for me. I much prefer the X-rated version by an Australian band called Gompie, who had their edited version all over the radio when I was there in 1995.

You can get the song stuck in your head, too – perhaps not in the shower –  by clicking here. 



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