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Cheap Trick is an American rock/Power Pop band from Rockford, Illinois, that gained popularity in the late 1970s. The band consists of Robin Zander (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar, backing vocals), Tom Petersson (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Bun E. Carlos (drums, percussion).
Cheap Trick created a substantial fan base through a hard-edged yet melodic pop sound that combines the tunefulness of The Beatles with the speed and energy of Punk Rock, making them probably the most popular Power Pop band. Their biggest hits include "Surrender", "I Want You to Want Me", "Dream Police" and "The Flame." Cheap Trick also performed the theme song "That '70s Song" for That 70s Show from the second season onward and the theme song "Baby Muggles" for The Colbert Report. Songs by the band even appear in two of the cult animated films of the early 1980s, Rock and Rule with "Born to Raise Hell" and "Send Love Through" with Debbie Harry and Heavy Metal with "Reach Out."
Cheap Trick continues to tour with the original lineup, and their most recent release, 2009's The Latest, has gained critical acclaim. The band is most popular in Japan, where they have remained popular superstars since their first album - what's more, they only climbed to similarly large popularity in the USA with the 1978 live album At Budokan, initially a Japan-only release. They have been often referred to in the Japanese press as the "American Beatles".
Some of their famous songs include:
- Dream Police
- The Flame - their sole #1 hit.
- If You Want My Love
- She's Tight
- Surrender - probably their most widely recognised song.
- That's 70's Song- A cover of Alex Chilton's "In the Street"
- Can't Stop Falling In Love
This band has examples of:
- Adults Are Useless - Not really. Your momma's alright, your daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird...
- Black Sheep Hit - "The Flame", a ballad which was their only #1 hit in the US.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Rick Neilsen and Bun E. Carlos carry cartoonish stage personas, but Neilsen can carry a set on the strength of his guitar playing alone, and Carlos has superb chops as a drummer.
- Cover Version: Their live version of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame", from Budokan, remains one of their biggest radio songs. Heaven Tonight has a cover of The Move's "California Man". "Don't Be Cruel", the follow-up single to "The Flame" from Lap of Luxury, is a cover of the Elvis Presley classic, and went all the way to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Driven to Suicide: An oddly recurring theme.
- Epic Rocking: Live versions of "Gonna Raise Hell" and "Heaven Tonight" could get pretty long.
- Intercourse with You - The main theme of She's Tight.
- "Heaven Tonight"
- Long Title: "The Ballad of T.V. Violence (I'm Not the Only Boy)"
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Auf Wiedersehen" has to be the happiest-ever song about suicide.
- They like jarring mood swings, as in "How Are You?": in the middle of a bouncy, cheery, singsong melody is a sudden, accusing "How could you? Why did you?"
- Nice Guys - They had a good reputation among other bands who toured with them, and were respectful towards their supporting acts. When The Angels/Angel City's equipment was stolen, Cheap Trick provided them with gear to finish their tour. By contrast, The Kinks the same year found Angel City's act too difficult to follow and dropped them from the bill.
- Nice Hat - Rick Nielsen
- Notable Music Videos
- Power Ballad: "The Flame"
- The Power of Rock - Rock and Rule
- Real Song Theme Tune - That's 70's Show. The theme song, "That 70's Song", is a loose cover of "In the Street" by Big Star.
- Rock Band - "Hello There" is Rock Band 2's intro song. Also, three of their hits were released for Rock Band 3 as DLC (all of them from the At Budokan live album): "Surrender", "I Want You to Want Me" and "Dream Police".
- Self-Titled Album - Twice!
- Shout-Out - "When I woke up / Mom and Dad are rolling on the couch / Rolling numbers, rock and rolling / got my KISS records out."
- At concerts the band would toss KISS albums into the audience during that part of the song.
- Smoking Is Cool - Averted. While Bun E. Carlos was famous for his ever-present cigarette while he performed, he quit smoking in the 90s.
- Three Chords and the Truth - One of the most common praises of At Budokan is that it presents the respective songs in a comparatively "raw", energetic fashion in comparison with Tom Werman's "overproduction" on that period's albums. For example, compare the two versions of "Surrender".
- Unusual Euphemism: "Big Eyes". Doesn't sound like he's really looking her in the eye.
- Up to Eleven: Double-necked guitars, which usually added a second, 12-string neck to the body of the guitar, were a popular gimmick in the 1970s. Neilsen went and got a three-... no, four-... no, FIVE-necked guitar made for himself.