Back when I was obsessed with Queen in 2018-2019, I watched a clip of Roger Taylor on a British television quiz show titled Pop Quiz, where two teams of three competed against each other in music trivia. The clip was from 1981 and there were two other notable musicians on Taylor’s team: Cozy Powell and Suzi Quatro. I didn’t know it at the time, but Quatro would end up becoming my next obsession. She’s the reason why I started paying more attention to bass players.
I don’t even remember how I discovered her music (shocker); it just happened! Even after I lost interest in her during recent years, I still kept her song “48 Crash” on my Spotify playlist. I was wowed by her immediately. It was everything from her wardrobe, her tough girl attitude, her screams, and her incredible bass playing. She also wore a lot of black, so that was another reason why I adored her.
Ever since I started collecting CDs seriously, I always wanted to get her first couple of albums because she played a huge role in my love for rock ‘n’ roll. Unfortunately, she never made it big in the United States (with the exception of the annoying “Stumblin’ In”), so her studio albums are hard to find. I gave up for a bit, but while watching Sea of Tranquility’s “Our Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time with Female Vocals (w/Martin Popoff)” on YouTube, Pete Pardo brought up The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb.” That’s what made me look up Quatro’s albums on Amazon one more time. The reason being Joan Jett was heavily inspired by Quatro.
When I typed up her name in the search bar, I encountered The Rock Box: 1973-1979, a seven CD and one DVD set that includes all of Quatro’s recordings from the 70s on RAK Records. Everything from non-album singles, b-sides, unreleased outtakes, and a brand new mix of her Australian only live album from 1977 titled Live and Kickin.’ The box set was released in 2022, which was unbelievable. For eight discs total, it was only $59.98. After thinking it over for a couple of days, I purchased the set on June 20, 2022 and it arrived on June 22, 2022.
Box sets are a hit or miss for me because for most box sets, the discs come in thin slip cases, which I hate because there’s no protection for the discs and the CDs don’t look as cool to show off. I mean who wants to see a picture of a cardboard sleeve? Thankfully, for this Quatro box set, each disc has a protective inner sleeve. Also, the opening for the slip case is on the top, meaning the disc can’t slide out on the side.
The Rock Box: 1973-1979 includes Quatro’s first six studio albums, a live album; and a DVD that consists of promo videos, Top of the Pops performances, and a live concert film from 1975 in Japan. What are the six studio albums, you ask? They are Suzi Quatro (1973), Quatro (1974), Your Mamma Won’t Like Me (1975), Aggro-Phobia (1976), If You Knew Suzi… (1978), and Suzi… and Other Four Letter Words (1979). The live album, as mentioned before, is from 1977 titled Live and Kickin.’ It was recorded in Japan; Quatro was very popular over there.
The set also comes with a booklet detailing Quatro’s career from the 70s with amazing pictures of her. The book contains some fascinating stuff like why original keyboardist Alistair McKenzie was fired from the band in 1976; and recording her fifth studio album, If You Knew Suzi…, while she was filming Happy Days (1974-1984).
This set is worth getting because in my honest opinion, some of the bonus tracks are better than the tracks on the original albums. For Quatro’s first studio album, the original UK release didn’t include “Can the Can” and “Daytona Demon,” which blows my mind because those were big hits for her. “Ain’t Ya Something Honey” wasn’t included either, which was crazy because that’s a great song too. “Peter, Peter” wasn’t originally included on her third studio album, Your Mamma Won’t Like Me, despite how bada** it is.
What’s unbelievable is how many different eras Quatro had during the 70s. Her first two albums were traditional glam rock, her third album had a funk vibe going on, her fourth album went back to hard rock/glam rock, she did some country rock on her fifth studio album, and went disco and electronica on her sixth studio album. I do prefer her hard rock/glam rock sound more, but there’s something to enjoy from each era!
The DVD with the videos is a real treat to watch because who doesn’t love watching performers lip-sync to their own songs? My favorite part about watching the videos, though, was seeing how everyone’s hair changed throughout the years. One moment, Quatro had mid-length light brown hair and the next, her hair was darker and she rocked a short haircut that Joan Jett would replicate a few years later. Her guitar player, Len Tuckey, even had a perm at one point; who told him that was a good idea?
As for the 1975 concert film that’s also on the DVD, I’ve seen it on YouTube a couple of times beforehand. Despite the concert being so short, there’s no denying how incredible Quatro was at the time. She was so confident and such a bada**; she owned the stage! She nailed hits such as “I May Be Too Young,” “Your Mama Won’t Like Me,” “Devil Gate Drive,” and a cover version of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock.”
To be honest, not all of the songs in this set are great; some feel under-developed. But I’m happy to have Quatro’s entire 70s catalog because that’s what got me into her in the first place. My rating of Suzi Quatro’s The Rock Box: 1973-1979 is 5 out of 5 stars. This was just a quick review of the box set, overall. If you want me to do a review series of all the discs in this set, let me know in the comments below!
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