"Can the Can" is the second solo single by Suzi Quatro and her first to reach number one in the UK, spending a single week at the top of the chart in June 1973. It also reached number one on the European and Australian charts in whose market Quatro achieved her most consistent success throughout her career as a recording artist. The single belatedly became a hit in the US peaking at number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. It was re-released as a B-side single in 1984 but didn't chart. The single hit the charts again in 1987 in the UK at number 87, it also appeared on her 1995 album What Goes Around.
This single made Quatro the first female bass guitar player to become a major rock star and so broke a barrier to women's participation in rock music.
This, Quatro's second solo single, was released after she moved from the United States to Britain. In the United States she had already released two singles with all-female band The Pleasure Seekers. Her first solo single, "Rolling Stone", was recorded with session players. "Rolling Stone" only achieved popularity in Portugal, where it went to number one.
The song "Can the Can" was written and produced by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. It has the refrain :
Make a stand for your man, honey, try to can the can
Put your man in the can, honey, get him while you can
Can the can, can the can, if you can, well can the can
— – Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn
According to songwriter Nicky Chinn, the words "can the can" means "... something that is pretty impossible, you can't get one can inside another if they are the same size, so we're saying you can't put your man in the can if he is out there and not willing to commit".
^Williams, Andrew (5 August 2007). "60 SECONDS: Suzi Quatro". Metro. Retrieved 19 July 2013. Suzi Quatro was one of the biggest female pop stars of the 1970s – notching up No.1 hits with glam rock classics Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive.
^"Suzi Quatro". Archived from the original on 23 November 2009.. "The first single they recorded went nowhere, so Most brought in up-and-coming hard-pop writers, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The first song they gave Quatro, a hard rock pop gem entitled "Can the Can" went straight to the top of the U.K. charts." Wolfgang's Vault.
^"Teenager Pop Factory". Teenager. Vol. 4. M.M. Ahmed. 1973. p. 30. The only lady to get in top twenty and at number one, with a solo number was the English Suzy Quatro, with her hard rock and noisy number 'Can the Can'..