1970s US Pop Culture anomaly
September 25, 2006 2:49 PM   Subscribe

What was it about 70s America that made Suzi Quatro so huge in Europe and Australia but a flop in the US? Also who was the song "48 Crash" written about?
posted by zaebiz to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
She was part of the death-spiral of Happy Days. Lame by association.
posted by jsteward at 3:34 PM on September 25, 2006

Chinn and Chapman. At this point music had ceased to be the 1960s. The Beatles had split up and other bands had lost their drive and were becoming old farts. Punk had started but this did not appeal to the new teenyboppers who wanted the Beatles Mark II but not the Beatles, if you see what I mean. Reg (that's Elton John to you) and Abba were taking the world by storm but Chinn & Chapman cottoned on to glam rock to sell to the teenyboppers and it worked. Suzi tagged on to that. America was going to disco, which never really worked in the UK just as Chinn & Chapman never worked in the US.

It was said that when the music was good the UK and US charts were similar. When it was bad they weren't. Early 70s (punk excepted) was bad.
posted by TheRaven at 4:00 PM on September 25, 2006

Suzi Quatro's hits were circa 1973-75; Happy Days didn't start until 1974 - so jsteward's answer is out. I bow to TheRaven's superior knowledge of the period (I was ~ 7 ;-), with the simpler explanation that that style of glam rock never really took off in the US until 1975-76 onwards (Kiss et al) - and was up against disco.
posted by Pinback at 4:35 PM on September 25, 2006

Two words: Leather Tuscadero.

And her song "Stumblin' In" was a US #4 hit in 1979.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:37 PM on September 25, 2006

Best answer: I'd hazard the guess that Suzi Q was a little too butch for the mid-70s American market--though a few years later Joan Jett took a similar persona / sound straight up the charts. But after Patti Smith's furry armpit made the cover of Rolling Stone, tuff little glam chicks with shags and leather pants didn't look quite so threatening. Too, the Chinnichap records were perfectly calibrated to succeed in the UK market, where they were hugely successful. Making it in the states was probably not all that essential to their bubblegum master plan.
posted by Scram at 4:46 PM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: She was part of the death-spiral of Happy Days. Lame by association

Actually I read somewhere that SuziQ's appearance on Happy Day's was incredibly successful (based on fan mail volumes) and she was offered her own spin-off series and turned it down for fear of being typecast. She just never made it very big in the US charts, and yes Happy Days was after her non-US fame.

Incidentally she played an appealing wildchild character with heart in Happy Days which contrasted with her raw, uber-wild image as a popstar. Don't hate me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a number of us believed and continue to believe that there was something sickly sweet required for mainstream American success in all forms of pop culture.
posted by zaebiz at 5:16 PM on September 25, 2006

Are those questions related?
posted by phrontist at 7:53 PM on September 25, 2006

Response by poster: Are those questions related?

In so far as 48 Crash was a huge hit for SuziQ outside of US but a flop inside, yes. Perhaps the subject matter of the song had something to do with it?
posted by zaebiz at 8:16 PM on September 25, 2006

phrontist: "48 Crash" is a Suzi Quatro song, but I have no idea who it's about.

Suzi Quatro made it onto one of the best film soundtracks ever (in my opinion) -- 1980's Times Square with the Ramones, Patti Smith, Roxy Music, etc, so I don't think she was a total flop in the U.S.
posted by jdl at 8:19 PM on September 25, 2006

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