Cheap Trick - St

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick

86 / 100

Their unusual stage appearance was a dream, but it’s Cheap Trick’s self titled debut, the ‘granddaddy’ of all American power pop records, that set the stage for a stellar career.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: Cheap Trick
ALBUM: Cheap Trick
SERIAL: 34400
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Robin Zander – vocals, guitars * Rick Neilsen – guitars * Tom Petersson – bass * Bun E Carlos – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 ELO Kiddies * 02 Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School * 03 Taxman, Mr Thief * 04 Cry, Cry * 05 Oh, Candy * 06 Hot Love * 07 Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace * 08 He’s A Whore * 09 Mandocello * 10 The Ballad Of TV Violence (I’m Not the Only Boy)



I am not quite sure why Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin in the late 70’s was such a wellspring of great power pop bands? From Off Broadway and Pezband to The Shoes and Cheap Trick, the scene certainly rivalled what was happening in New York. And with the exception of The Quick, (Danny Wilde‘s band who released the power pop classic ‘Mondo Deco’), Los Angeles lagged behind the initial onslaught in the wake of punk only to catch up a couple years later with a vengeance.

Cheap Trick developed a reputation for touring 350 days out of the year playing every backwoods watering hole they could find in the hinterlands of the Midwest. They picked up support slots wherever they could and dazzled audiences with their tasty rock and roll influenced more by The Move and The Beatles than anything that’s come out of Rockford, Illinois before or since. Their unusual stage appearance was a marketers dream, but it’s Cheap Trick’s self titled debut, the ‘granddaddy’ of all American power pop records, that set the stage for a stellar career.

The Songs

Lyrically, ‘Cheap Trick’ is a somewhat dark album especially so on the first two cuts, ‘ELO Kiddies’ and ‘Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School’. You get the picture. On the other hand, both songs are terrific from a melodic standpoint featuring some of Nielsen’s best guitar work. ‘Taxman, Mr.Thief’ dips into ‘Revolver’ period Beatles with an infectious chorus that sort of works it’s way in your brain and stays there. ‘Oh Candy’ works in a similar style, a little ‘pop’, but a classic.

‘Mandocello’ is a bit unexpected if listening to this album for the first time with it’s laid back acoustic guitar, but it works and again heavily influenced by the ‘Fab Four’ in the vocals. Closing the record is the creatively titled ‘The Ballad of TV Violence (I’m Not The Only Boy)’ which is typical Cheap Trick and the weakest track on the album, although that’s not saying much considering how good the record really is!

In Summary

‘Cheap Trick’ is a stunner, and to be honest there is nothing to compare it to other than the couple references mentioned earlier. Only one other band that I could bring up is The Raspberries, who broke up two years before this album was released, but this would be more for attitude and ideology than the music itself. After all, The Raspberries never rocked this hard.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Cheap Trick, "Cheap Trick [1977]" Album
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