What Was The First Record You Ever Bought?
I don’t know about you, but the first album I bought was “Quatro”, by Suzy Quatro. I was in Year 5 at primary school, and I had a job after school delivering chemist packages. I did this 3 afternoons a week. I can still remember that the album cost me $6.00. That was my full weekly earnings from my delivery job.
I grew up in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill. The local pharmacist used to hire primary school kids to deliver prescriptions around the neighbourhood. He offered free delivery to his customers and had a cheap workforce of children to make the deliveries. The rate of pay was 75 cents per hour. I’d work from 3:30pm – 6pm. Needless to say, he was a wealthy man and lived in a palatial home with water frontage. He also owned a second chemist shop in the next suburb.
Working for seven and a half hours to buy “Quatro” was totally worth it. Even though I was in Year 5, I had a total crush on Suzy Quatro. Those full leather outfits she wore had me staring at the front and back of the album cover for the full duration of playing the album. Even though I was too young to do anything about it, she definitely gave me a “feeling”.
I loved (and I still love) her screeching high vocals. In addition, the album was so well produced. Little did I know (when I was 11 years old) that the album was produced by an Aussie, Mike Chapman.
Mike Chapman is what you’d call a genius record-producer. The album “Quatro” also has Nicky Chinn listed as co-producer, but (according to an interview I heard with Mike Chapman), he only made a small contribution. I noticed (even as a kid) that all the best songs on the album were credited to “Chapman/Chinn”. These include “Devil Gate Drive”, “Too Big” and “Wild One”. Mike Chapman would go on to make some all time classic albums including “Parallel Lines” for Blondie and “Get The Knack” for The Knack.
A song on the album I always loved was “Keep a Knockin'”. Songwriting was credited to Richard Penniman. Years later, I would discover “Little Richard” (Richard Penniman’s rock’n’roll name). At age 11, everything is new. To me it was all “new” music.
When I was in Year 5, I remember we had a student teacher. He was fascinated by my obsession with Suzy Quatro. His words of wisdom were that Suzy Quarto would be forgotten within two years. Seems like I knew more than him!
Suzy Quatro is still gigging. Here’s a link to her “Shows” page on her website.
Suzy Quatro performing “Devil Gate Drive”