Aug 07

SUZI QUATRO – “Can The Can”

FT + Popular57 comments • 4,720 views

#331, 16th June 1973

I’m pretty sure that the ‘ideal’ time for a pop songle has been revised up in my lifetime, the “three minute single” granted an unwieldy extra 30 seconds, which would make “Can The Can” a shot at perfection – except it stops, breathless, at two minutes five and has nowhere much to go from there. Quatro uses the breakdown to show her range, climbing from kittenish to kick-ass, and just proves what the first two peerless minutes suggested: nobody needs to hear her do soft and quiet. I’m simply not buying her mewing “can the can, honey” after hearing “SCRATCH OUT HER EYES!”. That moment is the song’s peak – it’s awesomely exciting, partly because the overdubbed Quatro-voices are so sharp and shrill and partly because of the way it barges into the song and just kicks aside the whole eagle/tiger/cat metaphor to show the violence in the glam dance.



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  1. 31
    Brian on 8 Aug 2007 #

    Interview with Suzi Q – about her new thingy :


  2. 32
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Aug 2007 #

    I MUST see that Willie Rushton/Suzi Q musical about Tallulah Bankhead NOW!!!

  3. 33
    Mark G on 9 Aug 2007 #

    again, what Marc said.

  4. 34
    doofuus2003 on 9 Aug 2007 #

    Not sure about the girrls in rock thing; I’m not accessing any database but an imperfect memory, but in the UK was not Maggie Bell already with Stone the Crows, maybe also Elkie Brooks with DaDa, pre-Vinegar Joe? Not that I like either of them any more than SQ, i.e. didn’t care for any of ’em really. For the attractive female singers, I think one has to turn to the soul and r’n’b field, (but please exclude Tina Turner)

  5. 35

    late 60s UK R&B not aimed chartwards, let alone at horny gender-confused teens, so yr point falls — also they were both singers, not bass-players

    incidence of tomboyism in soul and R&B is interesting question, tho

    “I think one has to turn” — yes plz note that yr libido is PARTICULAR TO YOU, and does not impact on the truth of mine — what you mean here is “I had to turn” (naturally i consider yr overbroad protestation to be secret admission of the scary hottness of noddy) :D

  6. 36
    Waldo on 9 Aug 2007 #

    No rock chick could hold a candle to Clodagh Rogers. She looked just like the girlies who featured on the covers of all those “Top of the Pops” albums, the “Now…” of their day.

  7. 37
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Aug 2007 #

    Noddy was neither scary nor hot to me; you’re not going to get me on this one…

    Saw Denise van Outen the other day in that terrible TV ad for Morrison’s supermarkets and she now appears to be modelling herself on the aforementioned Clodagh. Again I was far too young to appreciate fully the sensuality of “Come Back And Shake Me” but now I can understand why it shot up, and so did the single, boom boom…

  8. 38
    Waldo on 9 Aug 2007 #

    Marcello – Exactly right. And, as I have mentioned at another time, Clodagh’s Euro song, “Jack in the Box” went even further with her promise to “bounce up and down on my (ie: MY) spring…” Boom Boom indeed. And Woo-Hoo as well.

  9. 39
    Erithian on 13 Aug 2007 #

    Waldo, I didn’t comment before when you mentioned Clodagh Rodgers, but I found that an odd taste – never did it for me whereas Olivia was an altogether prettier version of the same. Still, each to his own – as I mentioned a while back, my early 70s pre-pubescent crush was Eve Graham, and I’m not sure how many people shared that particular taste!

    But Suzi – hell, now you’re talking. The sight of her in those leathers did things to me that I wasn’t quite sure about, being as it was just after my 11th birthday… And as for the actual song, I have to disagree with Tom’s assertion that it has nowhere much to go after the breakdown at two minutes five. For me what happens after that is essence of 1973 – the fat Glitter Band drums, the re-establishment of the riff, the slightly menacing vocal building back up to near-hysteria. Where other records of the era could and did repeat until fade, this did something else entirely, and was all the more memorable because of it. Fun, life-enhancing, and yet it was still basically nonsense. Like I said, essence of ’73.

  10. 40
    Waldo on 13 Aug 2007 #

    Erithian – It’s a good job I’ve never mentioned my Joyce Grenfell fetish…

  11. 41
    Marcello Carlin on 14 Aug 2007 #


  12. 42
    Waldo on 14 Aug 2007 #

    Margaret Rutherford?

  13. 43
    Marcello Carlin on 14 Aug 2007 #

    Results 1 – 10 of about 25 for “don’t drag me into your private hell”. (0.35 seconds)

  14. 44
    admin on 14 Aug 2007 #

    she’s currently doing the PR rounds (daytime telly etc) plugging her biog btw

  15. 45
    mike on 20 Aug 2007 #

    Now available in your nearest HMV/Virgin/Woolies/Asda etc, on a 5CD comp called 101 70s Hits. Released today, priced around 15 quid, contains a large wodge of UK Number Ones, and is notably heavy on the Roy Wood: California Man, 10538 Overture, See My Baby Jive, Angel Fingers, Forever and Dear Elaine.

  16. 46
    Lena on 15 Jun 2008 #

    I just heard this on today’s POTP and thought I heard the first female punk!

  17. 47
    DJ Punctum on 16 Jun 2008 #

    See My Baby Jive at 3, Rubber Bullets at 2 and Can The Can at the top; greatest top three ever?

  18. 48
    wichita lineman on 16 Jun 2008 #

    Hard to fault, tho if it had been Angel Fingers, The Dean And I, and 48 Crash the hat would have been worn at an even jauntier angle.

    Loved this too, even though I was a shade too young for Suzi’s leathers to mean much to me.

    Intreeged to know exactly which ‘soul/r’n’b tomboys’ lord sükråt was referring to… trying to think of a 1973 proto-Kelis. Could they really exist or are you just teasing us, Noddy lover?

    Sadly predictable but the young ONJ was one of the first femme singers to make me “feel all weird inside”, as Harry Nilsson would have it.

  19. 49
    SteveIson on 20 Jul 2008 #

    48 Crash is her best for me too…that stop/start insane scream ‘Your-so-YOUNG’…Its got those neat chromatic chords like early GG (i didn’t know i loved you) and the Glitter band had in too-which Chinn Chapman rarely used..

  20. 50
    Phil O'Malley on 26 May 2009 #

    I am not quite sure that anyone here is aware of the fact that music like Suzi Quatro’s-at the time of release-was important on a few different kinds of levels. Her music was a new kind of approach to rock and roll…in that Americans associate good solid rock, many times with the English…and although Suzi is not English, it had a British cool to it. To try to dissect it, rate it is foolish. It was fun and remains so. Who really cares what “Can the Can” means! Or a “48 Crash”? The Suzi Quatro look, the sound, was new and sexy and fresh…think Bowie circa ’72, Roxy Music,etc. In retrospect, they all might seem over the top and kind of “not so shocking” now…but Suzi Quatro, David Bowie, Roxy Music,etc., made it really cool then. Fond memories and what a sountrack for the time that uniquely still rocks today.

  21. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 Feb 2013 #

    I caught Wichita’s all too brief contribution concerning the Glam period last night on Radio 2 where he opined that he preferred 48 Crash to both CTC and DGD. I never would have agreed with this but after he played the record again (and let’s face it, 48 Crash very seldom gets an outing) I’m now minded to agree with him.

  22. 52
    Lena on 7 May 2013 #

    One the One: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/we-are-all-together-medicine-head-one.html Thanks for reading, everyone! More very soon!

  23. 53
    hectorthebat on 28 Jun 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Toby Creswell (Australia) – 1001 Songs (2005)

  24. 54
    Larry on 1 Nov 2014 #

    Love this and totally agree with Phil O’Malley in #50. I can remember hearing “48 Crash” for the first time (years after its release) and being grabbed by the surrealism of what I could hear of the lyrics, and the general joy in it.

    US #1 at this time – McCartney’s yucky “My Love”

  25. 55
    Phil on 16 Apr 2015 #

    “Come back and shake me” (written by Kenny Young) is pure filth, I discover to my surprise. The conceit seems to be that the singer’s an abandoned doll that needs to be mended and, er, played with again…

    My room is my house, my bed is my home
    My pillow’s my friend, my only friend
    Your old baby doll, your raggedy doll
    Is waiting for you to play again

    Not sure we can say that now, Mr Young. Towards the end she’s even asking him to “bring your old tools”. (Tools plural, but still.)

    I bought “Can the Can” (aged 12 going on 13), but I can’t say Suzi ever did anything for me. My earliest Pop Sex memory is of Pan’s People dancing to “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” and “Tears of a Clown“, when I was much younger (much younger for the first one). Then of course there was Bolan, and Bowie and “Starman”, and Ferry and “Pyjamarama” (which was actually about sex!!1!)… Coming up a bit empty on GURLS hem-hem. Looking back I went more for Falling In Love than leching, from quite early on – I was hopelessly in love with Cilla for a while (and if that doesn’t show my age I don’t know what would).

  26. 56
    Lonepilgrim on 1 Oct 2019 #

    I associate this with a particularly rich era when you could hear Suzi alongside All the Young Dudes & Walk on the Wild Side on the radio hinting at worlds of possibilities that just teenage me was only just dimly aware of

  27. 57
    Gareth Parker on 30 May 2021 #

    A 5/10 for me. Runs out of steam and of ideas near the end, in my opinion.

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