“Before I did what I did, we didn’t have a place in rock ‘n’ roll. Not really. You had your Grace Slicks and all that, but that’s not what I did. I was the first to be taken seriously as a female rock ‘n’ roll musician and singer. That hadn’t been done before. I played the boys at their own game. For everybody that came afterward, it was a little bit easier, which is good. I’m proud of that. If I have a legacy, that’s what it is. It’s nothing I take lightly. It was gonna happen sooner or later. In 2014, I will have done my job 50 years. It was gonna be done by somebody, and I think it fell to me to do because I don’t look at gender. I never have. It doesn’t occur to me if a 6-foot-tall guy has pissed me off not to square up to him. That’s just the way I am. If I wanted to play a bass solo, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t. When I saw Elvis for the first time when I was 5, I decided I wanted to be him, and it didn’t occur to me that he was a guy. That’s why it had to fall to somebody like me.”
Quatro’s paternal grandfather was an Italian immigrant to the US. His family name of “Quattrocchi” was shortened by the immigration authorities because they found it too difficult to pronounce. Quatro’s Catholic family were living in Detroit, Michigan when she was born. She has three sisters and a brother, and her parents fostered several other children while she was growing up. Her father, Art, was a semi-professional musician and worked at General Motors, a company that designs, manufactures, markets and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts and sells financial services. Her mother, Helen, was Hungarian. In this environment, Quatro grew to be “extrovert but solitary”, according to Norman, and she only became close to her mother after leaving the US for England.
Her sister Arlene is the mother of actress Sherilyn Fenn. Her sister Patti joined Fanny, one of the earliest all-female rock bands to gain national attention. Quatro has a brother, Michael Quatro, who is also a musician.