In their 25 year career, Cheap Trick has seen their share of musical fads and trends come and go. From punk to new wave, from the hair rock of the ‘80s to grunge, Cheap Trick has weathered the storm without having to change their sound or conform to the ever-changing musical landscape. Though their music seemed to get more polished during the late ‘80s, the band’s sound was still their own, and their trademark pop-infused rock was left intact.
After signing with Epic in 1976, Cheap Trick released three excellent albums, Cheap Trick (1977), In Color (1977) and Heaven Tonight (1978), that went almost totally unnoticed by mainstream rock listeners. But while American audiences were neither listening or buying, Japanese audiences were. Cheap Trick were virtual unknowns in the U.S., but in Japan they were stars, playing to packed venues across the country. Their massive success in Japan prompted them to record a series of sold-out shows at Budokan Arena. The result would turn them into superstars, globally.
When Live At Budokan (1979) was released to American audiences, it was an instant success. Featuring the strongest material of their first three albums, the record sold millions and gave the band two Top 10 hits in “I Want You To Want Me” and the anthemic rocker, “Surrender”. The album also perfectly captured the live magic that is Cheap Trick. While Live At Budokan is the album most fans harken to in any Cheap Trick discussion, what may be glossed over are the scores of dynamic rock tunes this band has produced over the past 23 years.
Authorized Greatest Hits seeks to refresh both the memories of fans, as well as provide the ultimate Cheap Trick primer for those unfamiliar with band. The disc certainly features it’s share of hits from “I Want You To Want Me”, “Surrender” and “Ain’t That a Shame” to ‘80s chart-toppers like “Dream Police” and “She’s Tight”. The disc also contains alternate versions of “If You Want My Love” and “Everything Works If You Let It”, which features an excellent Beatle-esque, acoustic intro. Authorized Greatest Hits also boasts live versions of “The Flame” and “I Can’t Take It”. In addition to the warm, Robin Zander/Chrissie Hynde duet, “Walk Away”, you also get “That ‘70s Song” from the popular TV sitcom, That ‘70s Show, making it’s first appearance on a Cheap Trick album.
Like most classic ‘70s and ‘80s groups, Cheap Trick have reissued, to disc, most of their early catalog, and in 1998, released their critically acclaimed, 4-CD boxed set, Sex, America, Cheap Trick. However, if you can’t afford the more exhaustive boxed set, Authorized Greatest Hits should be more than capable of filling the void. While the trends come and go, this excellent greatest hits package provides 16 reasons why Cheap Trick is still around, Wanting You…To Want Them.
// Notes from the Road
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