Story of the Song

Story of the Song: ‘Can the Can’ by Suzi Quatro

From The Independent archive: Robert Webb peels back the lid on Suzi Quatro’s chart-topping 1973 glam-fem anthem ‘Can the Can’

Friday 14 May 2021 21:30
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<p>Hell for leather: Suzi Quatro at the height of her chart success in the 1970s</p>

Hell for leather: Suzi Quatro at the height of her chart success in the 1970s

As a song, Can the Can doesn't amount to a tin of beans. Lyrically confused and melodically banal, it's nevertheless the glam-fem anthem: a pulsing drum and bass scuffle delivered with a high-pitched screech by a leather-clad Seventies icon. It's by the bubblegum-pop composers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman: “Put your man in the can, honey / Get him while you can / Can the can.”

“We get a lot of criticism from people saying that we're getting money for old rope,” Chinn said at the time. “But it's not easy to write plastic songs.”

Surprisingly, we have the guitarist Jeff Beck to thank for Suzi Quatro's British chart success, and so, ultimately, the plastic Can the Can.

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