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Cheap Trick

Combining a love for British guitar pop songcraft with crunching power chords and a flair for the absurd, Cheap Trick provided the necessary links between '60s pop, heavy metal, and punk. Led by guitarist Rick Nielsen, the band's early albums were filled with highly melodic, well-written songs that drew equally from the crafted pop of the Beatles, the sonic assault of the Who, and the tongue-in-cheek musical eclecticism and humor of the Move. Their sound provided a blueprint for both power pop and arena rock; it also had a surprisingly long-lived effect on both alternative and heavy metal bands of the '80s and '90s, who often relied on the same combination of loud riffs and catchy melodies.

Cheap Trick's roots lie in Fuse, a late-'60s band formed by Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson in Rockford, Illinois. The group released an album on Epic in 1969; after it failed to gain any attention, the band relocated to Philadelphia and changed their name to Sick Man of Europe. The group toured Europe unsuccessfully in 1972 and returned to Illinois in 1973. Not long after their return to Rockford, Nielsen and Petersson changed their band's name once more -- this time to Cheap Trick -- and added drummer Bun E. Carlos and vocalist Randy "Xeno" Hogan to the lineup. Hogan was fired the following year, making room for ex-folksinger Robin Zander to join the group. Between 1975 and the band's first album in 1977, Cheap Trick toured constantly, playing over 200 concerts a year while occasionally opening for the likes of the Kinks, Kiss, Santana, AC/DC, and Queen. During this time, the band built up a solid catalog of original songs that would eventually comprise their first three albums; they also perfected their kinetic live show.

Cheap Trick signed with Epic in 1976 and released their self-titled debut early the following year. The record sold well in America, yet it failed to chart. However, the group became a massive success in Japan, and the album went gold upon release. Later that year, the band released their second album, In Color. It backed away from the harder-rocking side of Cheap Trick, featuring slicker production and quieter arrangements that spotlighted the band's melodic skills instead. Due to their constant touring, the record made it into the U.S. charts, peaking at number 73. It became another gold-seller in Japan, however, where the musicians had become virtual superstars. Their Japanese concerts began selling out within two hours, and they packed the sizable Budokan Arena.

Cheap Trick's concerts at Budokan were recorded for possible release, although the live album didn't appear until the band's third album, 1978's Heaven Tonight, was first released. That third album captured both the loud, raucous energy of Cheap Trick's debut and the hook-laden songcraft of In Color, leading to their first Top 100 single, "Surrender," which peaked at number 62. However, the live performances on At Budokan (1979) captured the band's energetic, infectious live show, resulting in their commercial breakthrough in America. The album stayed on the charts for over a year, peaking at number four and eventually selling over three million copies. Meanwhile, a live version of "I Want You to Want Me" became their first Top Ten hit. Later that year, the group released their fourth studio album, Dream Police, which followed the same stylistic approach as Heaven Tonight. It also followed At Budokan into the Top Ten, selling over a million copies and launching the Top 40 hit singles "Voices" and "Dream Police." In the summer of 1980, the group released an EP of tracks recorded between 1976-1979 called Found All the Parts.

Following the recording of the George Martin-produced All Shook Up, Petersson left the group in the summer of 1980 to form a group with his wife, Dagmar. He was replaced by Jon Brant. Released toward the end of 1980, All Shook Up performed respectably, peaking at number 24 and going gold, yet the single "Stop This Game" failed to crack the Top 40. One on One, the group's seventh album and the first recorded with Brant, appeared in 1982. Although it peaked at number 39, the record was more successful than All Shook Up, eventually going platinum. Nevertheless, the group was entering a downhill commercial slide, despite the fact that its music was becoming increasingly polished. Next Position Please, released in 1983, failed to launch a hit single and spent only 11 weeks on the charts. Standing on the Edge (1985) and The Doctor (1986) suffered similar fates, as the group was slowly losing its creative spark.

Petersson rejoined the band in 1988 and the group began working on a new record with the help of several professional songwriters. The resulting record, Lap of Luxury, was a platinum Top 20 hit, featuring the number one power ballad "The Flame" and a Top Ten version of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel." Busted, released in 1990, wasn't as successful as Lap of Luxury, peaking at number 48 and effectively putting an end to the group's commercial comeback.

Cheap Trick soldiered into the new decade by signing with Warner Bros. in 1994 and releasing Woke Up with a Monster, which peaked at number 123 and spent two weeks on the albums chart. That same year, Epic released a sequel to At Budokan, aptly titled Budokan II. Compiled from the same shows as At Budokan, the record served as an an effective reminder of why the group had become so popular in the late '70s.

In 1995, Cheap Trick asked to leave Warner's roster after the label's chief executives, Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin, departed. The band then decided to go back to the basics, and several alt rock superstars who had been influenced by Cheap Trick gave the band opportunities to restore its reputation. The Smashing Pumpkins had the band open their tour in 1995, and the group played several dates on the 1996 Lollapalooza Tour. That same year, the box set Sex, America, Cheap Trick appeared to positive reviews, and the band signed with the fledgling indie label Red Ant-Alliance before setting to work on a new album. Early in 1997, the group released a Steve Albini-produced single on Sub Pop, which was followed by the eponymous Cheap Trick, their acclaimed debut for Red Ant-Alliance, in the spring. Unfortunately, Red Ant-Alliance filed for bankruptcy seven weeks after the album's release, sadly putting a sudden halt on the group's building momentum.

On April 30, 1998, the group launched a four-night residence in Chicago, devoting each show to reprising one of their first four albums in its entirety. Those shows later yielded a 1999 live LP, Music for Hangovers, which the musicians issued on their own Cheap Trick Unlimited label. A band-authorized hits collection followed in 2000. By the dawn of the new millennium, Cheap Trick were still without a label, but had retained their loyal following by continually touring the world. Appropriately, another live set saw the light of day in 2001. Entitled Silver, the double-disc album (and companion DVD) documented the band's star-studded, career-spanning 25th anniversary show on August 28, 1999. The band also recorded another studio album, released in 2003 as Special One. It was followed in 2006 by Rockford, named in tribute to the band's hometown, and then The Latest in 2009. Cheap Trick also maintained a heavy touring ethic, canvassing America that summer alongside Def Leppard and releasing their tribute to the Beatles with Sgt. Pepper Live. In late 2015, Cheap Trick signed with powerhouse country label Big Machine Records, and their first album for their new sponsors, Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello, was released in April 2016. It was the first Cheap Trick release since the departure of drummer Bun E. Carlos from the band. Daxx Nielsen, Rick's son, became the group's new percussionist in 2010. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Sgt. Pepper Live

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live 2009)

2. With A Little Help From My Friends (Live 2009)

3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Live 2009)

4. Getting Better (Live 2009)

5. Fixing A Hole (Live 2009)

6. She's Leaving Home (Live 2009)

7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite (Live 2009)

8. Within You Without You (Live 2009)

9. When I'm Sixty-Four (Live 2009)

10. Lovely Rita (Live 2009)

11. Good Morning Good Morning (Live 2009)

12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Live 2009)

13. A Day In The Life (Live 2009)

14. Medley Song (Live 2009)

x

Track List: The Latest

1. Sleep Forever

2. When The Lights Are Out

3. Miss Tomorrow

4. Sick Man Of Europe

5. These Days

6. Miracle

7. Everyday You Make Me Crazy

8. California Girl

9. Everybody Knows

10. Alive

11. Times Of Our Lives

12. Closer, The Ballad Of Burt And Linda

13. Smile

x

Track List: Rockford

1. Welcome To The World

2. Perfect Stranger

3. If It Takes A Lifetime

4. Come On Come On Come On

5. O Claire

6. This Time You Got It

7. Give It Away

8. One More

9. Every Night And Every Day

10. Dream The Night Away

11. All Those Years

12. Decaf

x

Track List: The Essential Cheap Trick

Disc 1

2. Hot Love

3. He's A Whore

5. Clock Strikes Ten

7. Downed

8. Hello There

9. Surrender

10. California Man

11. High Roller

12. Auf Wiedersehen

13. I Want You To Want Me (Live)

14. Ain't That A Shame (Live)

15. Takin' Me Back

16. Dream Police

17. Voices

Disc 2

1. Way Of The World

2. Stop This Game

3. World's Greatest Lover

5. She's Tight

6. If You Want My Love (Alternate Version)

7. I Can't Take It

8. Tonight It's You

9. This Time Around

10. The Flame

11. Had To Make You Mine

12. I Can't Understand It

13. Can't Stop Fallin' Into Love

14. Walk Away (feat. Chrissie Hynde)

x

Track List: The Authorized Greatest Hits

1. I Want You To Want Me (Live)

2. Ain't That A Shame (Live)

4. Surrender

5. Stop This Game

6. Dream Police

7. If You Want My Love (Alternate Version)

8. Tonight It's You

10. Mandocello

12. She's Tight

14. Walk Away (feat. Chrissie Hynde)

15. Can't Stop Fallin' Into Love

x

Track List: Cheap Trick: The Greatest Hits

1. Clock Strikes Ten (Live)

2. Dream Police

3. Don't Be Cruel

4. Tonight It's You

5. She's Tight

6. I Want You To Want Me (Live)

7. If You Want My Love

8. Ain't That A Shame (Live)

9. Surrender

10. The Flame

11. I Can't Take It

12. Can't Stop Fallin' Into Love

13. Voices

14. Magical Mystery Tour

x

Track List: Lap Of Luxury

1. Let Go

2. No Mercy

3. The Flame

4. Space

5. Never Had A Lot To Lose

6. Don't Be Cruel

7. Wrong Side Of Love

8. All We Need Is A Dream

9. Ghost Town

10. All Wound Up

x

Track List: One On One

1. I Want You

2. One On One

3. If You Want My Love

4. Oo La La La

5. Lookin' Out For Number One

6. She's Tight

7. Time Is Runnin'

8. Saturday At Midnight

9. Love's Got A Hold On Me

10. I Want Be Man

11. Four Letter Word

x

Track List: All Shook Up

1. Stop This Game

2. Just Got Back

3. Baby Loves To Rock

4. Can't Stop It But I'm Gonna Try

5. World's Greatest Lover

6. High Priest Of Rhythmic Noise

7. Love Comes A-Tumblin' Down

8. I Love You Honey But I Hate Your Friends

9. Go For The Throat (Use Your Own Imagination)

10. Who D'King

11. Everything Works If You Let It

14. Such A Good Girl

15. Take Me I'm Yours

x

Track List: Dream Police

1. Dream Police

2. Way Of The World

3. The House Is Rockin' (With Domestic Problems)

4. Gonna Raise Hell

5. I'll Be With You Tonight

6. Voices

7. Writing On The Wall

8. I Know What I Want

9. Need Your Love

x

Track List: Live At Budokan (Live)

1. Hello There (Live)

2. Come On, Come On (Live)

3. Lookout (Live)

4. Big Eyes (Live)

5. Need Your Love (Live)

6. Ain't That A Shame (Live)

7. I Want You To Want Me (Live)

8. Surrender (Live)

9. Goodnight (Live)

10. Clock Strikes Ten (Live)

x

Track List: Heaven Tonight

1. Surrender

2. On Top Of The World

3. California Man

4. High Roller

5. Auf Wiedersehen

6. Takin' Me Back

7. On The Radio

8. Heaven Tonight

9. Stiff Competition

10. How Are You?

11. Oh Claire

x

Track List: Cheap Trick - Expanded Edition

1. ELO Kiddies

2. Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School

3. Taxman, Mr. Thief

4. Cry, Cry

5. Oh, Candy

6. Hot Love

7. Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace

8. He's A Whore

9. Mandocello

10. The Ballad Of TV Violence (I'm Not The Only Boy)

13. Lookout

14. You're All Talk

15. I Dig Go-Go Girls

x

Track List: In Color

1. Hello There

2. Big Eyes

3. Downed

4. I Want You To Want Me

5. You're All Talk

6. Oh Caroline

7. Clock Strikes Ten

8. Southern Girls

9. Come On, Come On

10. So Good To See You

x

Track List: Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello

2. No Direction Home

3. When I Wake Up Tomorrow

5. Blood Red Lips

6. Sing My Blues Away

7. Roll Me

x

Track List: No Direction Home (Single)

1. No Direction Home

x

Track List: Special One

1. Scent Of A Woman

2. Too Much

3. Special One

4. Pop Drone

5. My Obsession

6. Words

7. Sorry Boy

8. Best Friend

9. If I Could

10. Low Life In High Heels

11. Hummer

Comments

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I finally had the pleasure of meeting Cheap Trick this year 2016...They can still bring in the crowd.
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Cheap trick Surrender / I WANT YOU TO WANT ME
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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DA
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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Saw them near Indy and fell in love with them all over again. I now start my day with a YouTube video of Cheap Trick. Really gets me goin' :)
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uptegraft3
Welcome to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame!!!!
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More cowbell!
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Just saw them at Summerfest in Milwaukee, still rocking, and sound great..
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michael--and r e w s
The 70's was the Golden Age of Rock... so many great bands, great songs, great albums.
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tannmill35
H u u
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MOM AND DAD GOT MY KISS RECORDS OUT ROCK AND ROLLING ON THE COUCH.
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Indeed .
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ONE OF BEST THE FLAME
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I love the song The Flame.....go o o d song.
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we dance tonight with each other no one to bother us
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Seen them in 1979 Columbus ohio they sound a lot better live
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Uuuiiiiio
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The fact is not to be in my room is not to be on my phone is
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I'm at work on my mind off the phone to be in a while ago I had a dream I had the same thing over the next few weeks
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Iota
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Welcome to the Rock &Roll HOF guys Rockford Illinois represent they outlasted Aerosmith , Kiss and many other American Rock bands with there original members before Bun E Carlos left ! Yes 2 different singers and bassist but they stand on their own !!
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Why does Pandora think Cheap Trick only has four songs total in their catalog (Surrender, I Want You to Want Me, Dream Police, The Flame)?
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I remember Live at Budakon , my sister love's it! Nielsen was a great guitarist !
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Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out!
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I lived in Rockford. Sometimes we would see one of Cheap Trick at a local bar and no one bothered them, they were just chill like another dude in their hometown. I admit , it was hard to not say Hi lol
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capepalm95.d b
4 great cords 4 great guys....viva LA Bun e
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Where's "the Doctor" album?
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It's not the album. But, I Want You To Want Me is, oh boy! Here is goes. One of the best songs EVER recorded / performed live. Best? Could be. Sorry other then that, CT...well anyway.
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I have a thing for radio bands (Foreigner, Goo Goo Dolls, etc). Cheap Trick is one of the best radio bands ever, I think, though probably not THE best.
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Congratulati o n s , boys. The Hall has some pure power pop now.
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When I was in 5th grade, my friend told me that Rick Nielsen always wore a hat because the other guys in the band painted his head red white and blue one night when he was drunk. I thought, wow, that must be some long-lasting paint
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kris.grabows k i
Hey man I could kiss you and you are a angel ������������
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Follow me if you listen to cheap trick =^.^=
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Love this band
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Best movie ever
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Saw these guys in 1980, Kemper Arena K.C. Mo. ears rang for 2 days afterwards.. . .
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samuelsincla i r 1 0 0 2
Cool
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Oh ya.Damm.....
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lwahl0327
Love this song my boyfriend showed me it
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Robin, Robin, Robin....
You send me!
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Love me some cheap trick!❤️
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In Color!
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Love me Cheap Trick...earl y years.
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Hey Brett, too bad you're so uncreative that you have to copy your own comments. Careful for the next strip search-the Dream Police might charge you with lameness.
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I got arrested once by the dream police. They strip search me first and then read me my rights...Kin d a liked it though...;)
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Come on, come on... Come on we're going to be late!
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Sick man of Europe, wow what a song
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I do love southern girls!Now pass me the grits!
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Love Cheap Trick......h e n c e the radio station..... . . . .
Show more

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