KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – CHEAP TRICK “CHEAP TRICK”

Cheap Trick didn’t hit the big time until 1979 when the At Budokan concert recording became a multi-platinum success. Of the three studio albums in their discography at the time, new fans only went back to In Color and Heaven Tonight, leaving their self-titled 1977 debut as underappreciated classic. This is unfortunate because Cheap Trick is just as strong as any album they’ve ever released. It just lacked a catchy hit single that would draw listeners to it. See below for more information about this outstanding record.

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.

 

 

From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 2:

Like most people in my age group, I was introduced to the music of Cheap Trick via their 1978 At Budokan live album (released in the U.S. in 1979). In May 1980, just shy of my 14th birthday, they were the first band I saw in concert, on the Dream Police tour at Madison Square Garden. By then I owned all four of their studio albums, but for some reason it took several more years before I fully appreciated their self-titled debut. It’s a little darker and rougher around the edges than the records that followed, but all the elements that would soon make the world fall in love with them are already evident: Robin Zander’s powerful & passionate vocals, Rick Nielsen’s quirky lead guitar, sneering backing vocals and uniquely twisted songs and the inventive & propulsive rhythm section of bassist Tom Petersson and drummer Bun E. Carlos. They were already delivering catchy melodies but most of the songs have a harder edge than anything on the next few records. “Elo Kiddies” has a bouncy glam-rock stomp and “Oh, Candy” is classic power-pop; these two are what most people would expect from Cheap Trick. Otherwise, “Hot Love” and “He’s A Whore” are fueled by punk energy, and both “Mandocello” & “Taxman, Mr. Thief” are intense, slow-burning rockers. This album was also my introduction to the underrated talent of Terry Reid, whose “Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace” they cover here. Cheap Trick might seem like a dark horse in their early catalog, possibly due to the fact that none of its songs were included on At Budokan (and only two were performed at the concert), but it’s every bit as strong as their most commercially successful albums.

 

How do other Cheap Trick fans feel about their debut? If you only know the hits, please let me know your thoughts on the above audio clips.

20 comments on “Satur-debut – CHEAP TRICK “CHEAP TRICK”

  1. deKE
    June 29, 2019

    Brilliant writeup Rich!
    Your right, many people forget about this one and that may be due as you said that its a darker album with no apparent hit! Ello Kiddies is a wicked track. What a great 4 album they had until Budokan lifted off in sales!
    What a great first concert you seen as well!

    Like

    • Thanks, Derek. Glad you’re a fan of this one. For me their run of great albums extends through All Shook Up, and then it was hit & miss for a number of years. I love their first five studio albums equally, and each one offers a slightly different spin on their sound. I agree about “Elo Kiddies.” “Wicked” is agreat description.

      Like

  2. 80smetalman
    June 29, 2019

    Like you, I didn’t get into Cheap Trick until “At Budokan” and “Dream Police.” By then, they had finely tuned their craft but I agree with you that this album should not be ignored.

    Like

    • It took a number of years to fully appreciate their debut but once it got its hooks in me it never let me go. Glad you agree that it shouldn’t be ignored. Hopefully this post will inspire at least one or two people to check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dean Micheli
    June 29, 2019

    I first saw Cheap Trick open for the Runaways in April ’77, and it was instant love. Maybe because this was my first CT album, but it still may be my favorite from them (although some days I’ve been known to claim the same of the more poppy follow-up In Color).

    Like

    • Hi Dean. Thanks for stopping by. Seeing CT so early in their career must have been a blast. Amazing to think that just two years later they were one of the biggest bands in the world.

      Like

  4. Chris
    July 1, 2019

    I’ve listened to a small amount of Cheap Trick but not nearly enough! Need to dig into their peak 70s work. Of their singles, I love “Surrender” featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack.

    Like

    • Hi Chris. You can’t go wrong with anything they released from the debut through All Shook Up. I only saw the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies once each so I don’t remember every song that appeared, but I know I loved the soundtracks and it makes me happy that younger generations have been exposed to all of that great ’70s music.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alyson
    July 1, 2019

    I’m experiencing deja vu with these last two posts of yours as I’m sure both bands featured in your 40 Year Friday series. I’m also pretty sure I left pretty lame comments back then so I won’t repeat them but will save my anecdotes for the albums that are yet to come, ones I’m sure we’ll agree upon.

    Cheap Trick not really my cup of tea, and I do really love tea.

    Like

    • Hi Alyson. Expect more deja vu the next two weeks since I’ll still be in 1977. It’s ironic that this entire Satur-debut series is already recycling previous content, but for the handful of ’77 releases I’m actually recycling content that was already recycled. Surprised to hear you’re not a fan of Cheap Trick, as I imagine at least a handful of their songs would be in your musical wheelhouse. As for tea, that’s my hot beverage of choice too. Well, it’s a tie with hot chocolate. No hot drinks now, as we’re in the midst of a heat wave that’s about to kick into a higher gear tomorrow. We’ll be hitting 100, which I believe is around 37-38 for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        July 1, 2019

        Cheap Trick only appeared in our Top 30 once with I Want You To Want Me in 1979 and it only reached No. 29 so not a terribly memorable band over here I’m afraid.

        As for your heatwave – good luck with that. I was (I think you know) in London at the weekend meeting a blogging pal, and the temperatures reached 35 degrees. With little air con and having to get the bus as the Underground was out of action it was pretty dire.

        Like

      • I figured Cheap Trick didn’t make an impact on you during their heyday of US popularity but thought you might have come around to them over the years. Perhaps the Beatle-y “Voices” might be a good entry point into their discography for you.

        Do the London buses not have air conditioning? If not, yikes…dire indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        July 2, 2019

        One of the many bands to investigate when I finally fully retire (a while away yet).

        No air con on London buses I’m afraid so it really was dire in terms of the heat onboard. Hope you survive your forthcoming heatwave.

        Like

      • I know what you mean about wanting to explore more music during retirement, even though the likelihood is that other activities & responsibilities will get in the way. I sure hope that’s not the case (for either of us) and we’ll get there sooner than we think.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Bill
    July 1, 2019

    Yeah Rich! Now we’re talking!

    My local classic rock station always played I Want You To Want Me from Budokan but I didn’t get around to owning the disc until the Complete Concert disc set came out. Consequently, I don’t know what the original track list was. I can only hear Robin saying, “This song….is from our first album….I think you know this one…”

    ELO Kiddies is a knockout song that would have made a classic, signature opening song for every concert if they didn’t top themselves with “Hello There” on their sophomore effort.

    The true highlight here for me, and one of my favorite under-rated CT songs is “He’s a Whore.” So much aggression. Very punk attitude from a poppier band who claim the Beatles as their main influence. Almost reminiscent of Daryl Hall’s “NYCNY” which would pre-date this in recording if not release.

    As far as tea goes, my bev of choice too….but how about a tie in…”but her money’s green, like tea and so is her teeth…” What a great line!

    Like

    • Hi Bill. It’s interesting that your initial exposure to At Budokan came via the complete concert edition. For those of us who got the original album when it was released, there was nothing from the debut so it’s almost like the band was telling us not to bother with it. Of course that was probably not the case and it was just the record company choosing the most radio-friendly songs. I completely agree about “Elo Kiddies” and good call on “He’s A Whore” (which is one of many favorites on the debut) and its spiritual connection to DH’s “NYCNY.” As for your tea-related lyric, I’m scratching my head. Wondering if it’s an easy one I should know. Please let me know. Thanks.

      Like

      • Bill
        July 4, 2019

        Not meaning to be obscure Rich, sorry. It is one of the lines from “He’s A Whore”, which btw has to have one of the greatest opening lines….so angry, yet so fitting for the song subject.

        Like

      • Thanks for clarifying, Bill. I’m not always great at remembering lyrics so not surprised this one stumped me. Good choice.

        Like

  7. Paul
    July 4, 2019

    Have to say more of a fan of their poppier stuff but was a good listen and I could hear snippets of where they would end up by Budakon.

    Like

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