Song Of The Day 7/26/2015: The Pleasure Seekers – “What a Way to Die”

The Pleasure Seekers had a huge contingent of Quatros. Suzi, Patti and Arlene were all in the band, outnumbering other surnames by a solid three-to-two ratio. They started in Detroit in 1964 and gained a big following in fairly short order. Unlike other female artists at the time who were groomed and retrofitted to support a fantasized ideal of the complacent mate to a hassled male professional, the Pleasure Seekers were unrepentant and tenacious rockers from the beginning.

After conquering the Detroit club scene that wasn’t at a lack for musical heroes at the time – in addition to Motown, you had your Stooges, Seger, Nugent and MC5’s – the Pleasure Seekers were one of the very first all-female bands signed to a major label, Mercury, who wanted to turn them into a Vegas novelty act. They nixed that and renamed themselves Cradle to reflect their hard rock ambitions, adding a fourth Quatro, Nancy, when they did. You just can’t ever have enough Quatros.

“What a Way to Die,” cut in the insanely early year of 1964, is startling. It cuts right through the sanitized equivalent of sexuality being peddled at the time and addressed the hard truths about industrial-strength, brain-shattering carnality. They were in favor of it. Suzi’s exhortation “I may not live past 21, but AAAAH what a way to die!” is particularly brazen, a restatement of the late-teenage death wish which I’m certain caused Detroit to institute higher car safety standards. An amazing song.

After the Quatro sisters ceased performing together, Patty went to the business side, Arlene went into health and environmental advocacy, and Suzi continued her career, becoming the ideal woman for most of the U.K. and a specifically targeted demographic in the United States.
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