Cheap Trick is an American rock 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. Their biggest hits include "Surrender", "I Want You to Want Me", "Dream Police", "Voices", "Stop This Game", "If You Want My Love", "Don't Be Cruel" (a cover of Elvis Presley's hit), "Ghost Town", and "The Flame." Cheap Trick also performed the theme song "In The Street" for That '70s Show from the second season onward and the theme song "Baby Muggles" for the Colbert Report.
Cheap Trick continues to tour with the original lineup, and their most recent release, Rockford, has gained critical acclaim. They were honored in October 2007 by the Chicago Chapter of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) for their contributions to the music industry, including 20 million records sold, 29 movie soundtracks, and 40 gold and platinum recording awards. Cheap Trick was ranked #25 on VH1's Greatest Artists of Hard Rock program. The band is most popular in Japan, where they have remained popular superstars since their first album. They have been often referred to in the Japanese press as the "American Beatles".
1.1 The Early Years (Pre-Cheap Trick) : 1968–1970
1.2 Cheap Trick 1971-1978
1.3 Budokan brings success: 1978–1981
1.4 The Post-Petersson years: 1981–1987
1.5 Number One to Independence 1987–1997
1.6 Cheap Trick Unlimited 1998–2005
1.7 Independence: 2006–present
2.1 Live Performances
2.3 Bands Influenced
3 Band members
3.1 Current members
3.2 Former members
4.1 Studio albums
6 External links
 The Early Years (Pre-Cheap Trick) : 1968–1970
In 1961, Nielsen began playing locally in Rockford, utilizing an ever-increasing collection of rare and valuable guitars. He formed several local bands with names like The Phaetons, The Boyz, and The Grim Reapers. Finally, Nielsen formed Fuse in 1967 with Petersson, who had played in another local band called The Bo Weevils.
Fuse released a self-titled album for Epic Records in 1968, which was generally ignored. Frustrated by their lack of success, Fuse, which by then included Bun E. Carlos on drums, moved to Philadelphia in 1971. After spending a year in Europe, Nielsen and Petersson returned to Rockford and reunited with Carlos.
 Cheap Trick 1971-1978
In 1971 Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, and Bun E. Carlos replaced lead singer Randy "Xeno" Hogan with Robin Zander. The band was renamed, and Cheap Trick was born.
Cheap Trick performed around Rockford, southern Wisconsin, and the Chicago area while they developed a unique stage show. Producer Jack Douglas signed the group to Epic Records in 1976 after seeing the band at a live performance in 1976, and released their eponymous self-titled debut album in February 1977, and featured such tracks as "Elo Kiddies," "Taxman, Mr. Thief," "He's a Whore," and the ballad "Mandocello." While the album received great reviews, it did not sell many copies. One single was issued, "Oh, Candy," but did not chart. They then opened shows for The Kinks, Boston, Santana, Kiss, and other headliners as they toured constantly, playing as many as 250 shows a year. At the same time, the band began to develop a large fan base in Japan.
The next album, In Color, was released later that year, and features some of the band's most well-known songs, such as "Big Eyes," "Downed," "Clock Strikes Ten," and "Come On, Come On." The album also featured the debut of "I Want You To Want Me," which had previously been recorded for the debut album but did not make the final cut. Producer Tom Werman re-worked the song with honkey-tonk piano, much to the band's dismay. The album sold slightly more copies than the debut LP, and "I Want You To Want Me," "Southern Girls," and "So Good To See You" were issued as singles but all failed to chart. The band has always been vocal about the album's poor production, as producer Tom Werman attempted to bring out the band's lighter and pop-influenced side. While the album was a flop in the US, it made the band superstars in Japan, where the album went gold and "Clock Strikes Ten" became a number one single.
Heaven Tonight was released in 1978, and combined the elements of the first two albums to produce a hook-filled pop-rock album with an attitude. Tom Petersson also switched to the 12-string bass guitar, making Heaven Tonight the first album ever recorded with a 12-string bass.  Teen anthem Surrender, one of Cheap Trick's signature songs, was issued as the first single from the album and was the band's first single to chart in the US, which peaked at #62. The album featured more of the band's most well-known songs, such as the album's second single, a cover of The Move's "California Man," as well as "High Roller," and "Auf Wiedersehen." The album became their first Gold record in the US, and further cemented their superstar status in Japan.
 Budokan brings success: 1978–1981
Not one of Cheap Trick's first three albums made it into the Top 40 in the United States. In Japan, however, all three albums became gold records. When Cheap Trick went to Japan to tour the country for the first time, in 1978, they were received with a frenzy reminiscent of Beatlemania. During this tour, on April 28, 1978, Cheap Trick recorded a live show for their loyal Japanese fans at the Nippon Budokan. The show was released as a live album titled At Budokan, which was intended to be exclusive to Japan. The album suddenly became a popular import in the United States, and demand for the album became so great that Epic Records finally issued the album in the US in 1979.
At Budokan launched Cheap Trick into international stardom, and the album went triple platinum in the United States and reached #26 on the Swedish music charts. The smash track was the live version of "I Want You to Want Me", which had originally been released on In Color. It reached #7 on the US charts, and has gone on to become Cheap Trick's most well-known song. The second single, "Ain't That A Shame," peaked at #35. One song from At Budokan, "Need Your Love", had already been recorded for the next studio album, Dream Police, which was released later in 1979. The title track of the album was a hit single, as was "Voices," but the work was panned by critics, who seemingly turned on the band after their new found success.
By 1980, when All Shook Up was released, Cheap Trick was headlining stadiums and arenas. All Shook Up—produced by former Beatles producer George Martin—reached #24 on the charts and was certified gold, but the album's high-class background didn't save it from descriptions like "Led Zeppelin gone psycho." One song from the All Shook Up sessions, "Everything Works If You Let It", appeared on the soundtrack of Roadie, and Carlos and Nielsen participated in sessions for John Lennon and Yoko Ono's album Double Fantasy and were recording with Lennon in New York City the evening before he was murdered. The Found All The Parts EP was also released in 1980 and consisted of previously unreleased material, including a faux live cover of The Beatles' "Day Tripper" and was produced by Jack Douglas.
 The Post-Petersson years: 1981–1987
Shortly after the release of All Shook Up, Petersson left the group to record with a short-lived project and one five-song E.P. called "Tom Peterson (sic) and Another Language". Pete Comita initially replaced him, and the band recorded five songs to contribute to two movie soundtracks. "I'm The Man," "Born To Raise Hell," and "Ohm Sweet Ohm," which were produced by Jack Douglas, went to the film Rock & Rule. "Reach Out" and "I Must Be Dreamin'" went to the film Heavy Metal and were produced by legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker. "Reach Out" was written by Comita and Bob James. Comita left the band after a only few months, durring pre-production of the band's next album. Jon Brant became Petersson's steady replacement. The first album recorded with Brant was 1982's One on One, produced by Roy Thomas Baker. The album spawned two minor hits, "If You Want My Love" and "She's Tight." The music videos for both songs received heavy rotation on MTV.
The following year, Cheap Trick released Next Position Please with Todd Rundgren as the producer. The first single was a cover of The Motors "Dancing The Night Away." Epic Records, desperate for a hit from the band, forced the group to record the track. Rundgren refused to produce the song, and it was instead produced by Ian Taylor. It failed to chart anyway, as well as the second single and fan favorite "I Can't Take It." The Ian Taylor produced "Spring Break," which was a contribution to the soundtrack of the Sean S. Cunningham comedy film Spring Break, was also issued as a single. The track also failed to chart. In 1984, the band recorded the title track to the Tim Matheson comedy Up The Creek, which Neilsen later called "one of the worst" songs he'd ever written. However, the track reached #36 US Mainstream Rock charts. Both Spring Break and Up The Creek have yet to be released on DVD.
In 1985 they were reunited with Jack Douglas, who had produced their debut album, which resulted in Standing on the Edge. The band originally intended to return to their rough-sounding roots on the album, but Douglas backed out of the mixing process due to the legal issues he was having with Yoko Ono at the time. It was instead mixed by Tony Platt, who added more elements of typical 1980s production. This album was called their "best collection of bubblegum bazooka rock in years." The album also featured Mark Radice on keyboards, and he was also enlisted to assist in the songwriting process. The albums first single, "Tonight It's You" reached #44 on the US charts and the video received heavy rotation on MTV. The following singles "Little Sister," and "How About You" failed to chart.
In 1986, The band recorded "Mighty Wings", the end-title cut for the film Top Gun. They then released The Doctor, which turned out to be the final album with Brant as bassist. Some of the songs contained elements of funk, and the band utilized female back-up vocalists for the first time. However, synthesizers and computer-programmed sound effects drowned out most of the prominent instruments, most noticeably the guitar. Produced by Tony Platt, it is widely considered the bands' worst album. The album's only single, "It's Only Love" failed to chart, but many blame the album's poor success on the record label's lack of promotion.
 Number One to Independence 1987–1997
Petersson rejoined the group in 1987 and helped record 1988's Lap of Luxury, produced by Ritchie Zito. Due to the band's commercial decline, Epic Records forced the band to collaborate with professional songwriters. "The Flame," a typical 80's "factory ballad," was issued as the first single and became the band's first-ever #1 single. The second single, a cover of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel," also reached the top 10. Three other singles from the album were "Ghost Town," "Never Had A Lot To Lose," and "Let Go." Each one charted successfully, and Lap of Luxury went platinum and became recognized as the band's comeback album.
Busted was released in 1990 and was also produced by Ritchie Zito, as the band attempted to capitalize on the success of Lap of Luxury. This time, however, the band was allowed more creativity and professional songwriters were only used on a handful of songs. The first single "Can't Stop Falling Into Love" reached #12 on the charts but failed to reach as high on the charts as the label expected. The second single, the Diane Warren penned "Wherever Would I Be," suffered a worse fate reaching only #50. The following singles, "If You Need Me" and "Back N' Blue" were not successful, although the later single reached #32 on the US Mainstream Rock charts.
Over the course of the 1990s the band experienced several new lows when Sony Music, the successor to the band's CBS Records contract, put Cheap Trick's name on several budget compilations including Voices, I Want You To Want Me, Don't Be Cruel, and several others without their prior knowledge, consent, or agreement.
In 1993, Robin Zander released his eponymous debut solo record on Interscope, produced by Jimmy Iovine. Guitarist Mike Campbell, best known for his work with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, collaborated with Zander on most of the album's tracks. The album was largely unsuccessful but the single "I've Always Got You" reached #13 on the US Mainstream Rock charts.
The group left Epic after the disappointing sales of "Busted" – to sign with Warner Bros. Records. In 1994 the band released Woke Up With A Monster, which was produced by legendary producer Ted Templeman. The album's title track was issued as the first single and reached #16 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. The album's sales were poor, and it peaked at only #123, after the group's appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. By the time the album came out, there had been a variety of significant changes in the band, both music-wise and appearance-wise. The style of music is more on the "grunge" side, due to producer Ted Templeman's much criticized heavy-handed production. Rick Nielsen grew a once trademark goatee, and Robin Zander's voice grew noticeably deeper. The band also contributed a cover of John Lennon's song Cold Turkey on the Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon album.
The band quickly parted ways with Warner Bros. and decided it was time to go back to the basics. They concentrated on the strength of their live shows, which were near-legendary, and they decided to release new recordings to independent labels instead of major companies. Over the next few years, Cheap Trick toured with several bands who had been influenced by them, such as the Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. In 1996, the band independently released Gift, a two track Christmas CD that benefited Chicago-area charities. They also released the 7 inch vinyl single Baby Talk/Brontosaurus on Seattle-based indie label Sub Pop Records.
In 1997, Cheap Trick signed with indie label/distributor Red Ant/Alliance, and released Cheap Trick, produced by Ian Taylor, who the band had previously worked with in 1983. The band attempted to re-introduce themselves to a new generation, as the album was self-titled and the artwork was similar to their first album which had been released twenty years earlier. Seven weeks after the release, Red Ant declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which caused a furious music retail community to yank the record from stores. While the album was critically acclaimed, the single "Say Goodbye" only reached #119 on the charts.
 Cheap Trick Unlimited 1998–2005
Cheap Trick began to rebuild in 1998 by trying to restore normal relations with Sony/Epic and the music retail community. They established their own record company, Cheap Trick Unlimited. They toured behind the re-mastered re-releases of Budokan: The Complete Concert, and their first three records. One of the multi-night stands from this tour resulted in Music for Hangovers, a vibrant live effort that featured members of The Smashing Pumpkins on two tracks. Amid much criticism, Cheap Trick Unlimited sold the CD exclusively on Amazon.com for 8 weeks prior to releasing it in stores. To support the record they toured with Guided By Voices, and also played a concert with Pearl Jam. That same year, the band spent time in the studio recording with Steve Albini, who had produced the Baby Talk/Brontosaurus single. The band began re-recording their second album, In Color, as well as a handful of other miscellaneous tracks. The recordings were not finished and have yet to be officially released, but they were leaked onto the internet. The band also revealed in an interview that a rarities album was in the works and initially planned for release in early 2000. However, it was never released. 
In 1999, the band recorded a cover of Big Star's "In The Street" for use as the theme song for the television show That 70's Show. It was released on the show's soundtrack, That 70's Rockin' Album.
In early 2000, Cheap Trick entered into a license with the now-defunct Musicmaker.com to directly download and create custom CDs for over 50 songs. After spending a good part of 2001 writing songs and about six weeks of pre-production, Cheap Trick went into Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York in March 2002, where the band put together their first studio album in six years, Special One in May 2003. At the same time, the band brought their record label to Big3 Entertainment. While the lead-off single "Scent of A Woman" was typical Cheap Trick fare, most of the album's tracks were acoustic-based. The band also contributed a re-recorded version of "Surrender" to the comedy film Daddy Day Care and made a cameo in the film. They toured with Cake on the Unlimited Sunshine Tour that same year. In Japan, the band's entire catalog released between 1980 and 1990 was re-issued in remastered form.
In late 2003, Bun E. Carlos starred in a Target commercial with Torry Castellano, drummer of The Donnas. 
In April, 2005, Cheap Trick released the five-track Sessions@AOL EP for digital download.
 Independence: 2006–present
In 2006, Cheap Trick released Rockford on Cheap Trick Unlimited/Big3 Records. The first single from the album was "Perfect Stranger" (produced by Linda Perry and co-written by Cheap Trick and Perry). The band promoted the album through appearances on the Sirius and XM satellite radio networks and a North American tour. That same year, "Surrender" was featured as a playable track in the hit video game Guitar Hero II, and the albums Dream Police and All Shook Up were re-issued in remastered form with bonus tracks. One On One and Next Position Please (The Authorized Version) were released as digital downloads. The band also appeared in a McDonald's advertising campaign called "This Is You Wake-Up Call" featuring the band.
In 2007, officials of Rockford, Illinois honored Cheap Trick by reproducing the Rockford album cover art on that year's "city sticker" (vehicle registration). On June 19, 2007, the Illinois Senate passed Senate Resolution 255, which designated April 1 of every year as Cheap Trick Day in the State of Illinois. 
In August 2007, Cheap Trick honored the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by playing the album in its entirety with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by Edwin Outwater, along with guest vocalists including Joan Osborne and Aimee Mann. Geoff Emerick, who engineered all the sound effects on Sgt. Pepper, engineered the same sounds for the two live concerts.
The Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences honored Cheap Trick at the 2007 Recording Academy Honors event in Chicago on October 11, 2007. Nielsen and Carlos were on hand to receive the award, which was presented to them by Steve Albini.
Many compositions from Cheap Trick have appeared in commercials, video games, movie soundtracks, and television episodes. The version of "Surrender" from At Budokan is on the soundtrack of Detroit Rock City. Cheap Trick wrote and performed the theme song for Comedy Central's The Colbert Report,. Cheap Trick also performed the theme song to the FOX series That '70s Show, "That '70s Song" (a cover of "In the Street" by Big Star) beginning in season 2 of that series. "Surrender" is heard in the 2003 film Daddy Day Care, with Jeff Garlin, it is also used in an episode of Scrubs, called "My Old Man" (episode 18, season 1).
In 2008, Cheap Trick were selected to be featured in the John Varvatos Spring/Summer 2008 clothing ad campaign. The black and white commercial put the group on a boardwalk with bicycles, the filming backdrop was a beach for a very modern look for the band. Their song California Man was used in the advertising promotion.
On April 24, 2008, Cheap Trick played live at the Budokan for the 30th anniversary of the 1978 album Live at Budokan.
Also in 2008, the song "Dream Police" was featured as a playable track in the hit video game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
On July 5, 2008 at their concert in Milwaukee, Rick Neilsen announced to the crowd that the show was being recorded for a future cd and/or dvd release.
In September, 2008, it was revealed that the video game Rock Band 2 would feature the unreleased 1998 re-recorded version of "Hello There."
They are currently touring with Heart and Journey.
 Live Performances
Cheap Trick is well known for their four decades of almost continuous touring and their reputation as "the greatest live band ever." Their At Budokan album set the standard for live recordings and also elevated the status of the Budokan as a premier venue for rock concerts.
Cheap Trick is known for its use of unusual guitars and basses. Zander plays a Hamer 12-string guitar in addition to a Gibson Firebird, Fender Telecaster, and Rickenbacker 450 Gibson Flying V and Fender Stratocaster. Nielsen is an avid collector who, despite rationalizing his guitar collection, still has over 250 pieces in his possession. He has collaborated with Hamer on trademark 'themed' guitars, some based on Cheap Trick albums such as "Rockford," "The Doctor," and even songs such as "Gonna Raise Hell." Hamer has also made unique five-necked guitars and electric mandocellos for Nielsen.
Petersson (according to www.12stringbass.net) is generally credited for having the initial idea for a 12-string bass. He previously had used a Gibson Thunderbird and a Hagstrom 8-string bass, and asked Jol Dantzig of Hamer Guitars to make a 12-string bass. The company initially made him a 10-string bass. Following the successful trial use of that bass, the prototype 12-string bass, The Hamer 'Quad', was produced. Petersson later used 12-string basses made by Kids (a Japanese guitar maker), Chandler, and signature models from Waterstone as well as an impressive array of 4, 5 and 8 stringed basses from other guitar makers.
Carlos has played with many different commercial drum accessories, including Ludwig and Slingerland Radio King drums, Zildjian cymbals, rare Billy Gladstone snare drums, and Capella drum sticks.He is also an avid collector of vintage drums and buys, sells and trades with a few other Rockford, Illinois traders, mainly Randy Rainwater. Each year Rainwater and Carlos' collection can be seen at several drum shows in the Midwest.
Carlos has also recorded and written songs for many Rockford bands, such as Mark Willer and The Blues Hawks and also put together the short-lived Bun E. Carlos Experience, which also inluded Jon Brandt, who replaced Tom Petersson in the mid '80s, on bass.
 Bands Influenced
Bands citing Cheap Trick as an influence include The Datsuns, Enuff Z'nuff, Everclear, Extreme, Fountains of Wayne, Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, OK Go, Smashing Pumpkins, The Pink Spiders, Terrorvision, Weezer, among others.
Kurt Cobain once said about Nirvana: "We sound just like Cheap Trick, only the guitars are louder."
 Band members
 Current members
Robin Zander - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano (1974-present)
Rick Nielsen - lead guitar, backing vocals (1974-present)
Tom Petersson - bass guitar, backing vocals (1974-1980, 1987-present)
Bun E. Carlos - drums, percussion (1974-present)
 Former members
Jon Brant - bass guitar, backing vocals (1981-1987, 1999, 2004, 2007)
Pete Comita - bass guitar, backing vocals (1980-1981)
Main article: Cheap Trick discography
 Studio albums
Cheap Trick (1977)
In Color (1977)
Heaven Tonight (1978)
Dream Police (1979)
All Shook Up (1980)
Found All The Parts EP (2 live tracks, 2 studio tracks) (1980)
One on One (1982)
Next Position Please (1983)
Standing on the Edge (1985)
The Doctor (1986)
Lap of Luxury (1988)
The Greatest Hits (1991)
Woke Up With A Monster (1994)
Cheap Trick (1997)
Special One (2003)
^ Kuzminski, Anthony (2006). "Cheap Trick – Rockford Review". rocknworld.com. Archived from the original on 2006-11-29. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
^ The Recording Academy Honors 2007 by Dan Locke - UnRated Music Magazine
^ [http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62187/episode_wildcard.jhtml?wildcard=/shows/dynamic/includes/wildcards/the_greatest/hardrock_list_full.jhtml&event_id=862768&start=61 The Greatest: 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock (40 - 21)] at VH1.com
^ "Tom Werman Interview". . Retrieved on 2008-10-10.
^ a b "Cheap Trick biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
^ a b Marsh, Dave (1979-11-29). "Cheap Trick: Dream Police". Rolling Stone #305. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
^ "Cheap Trick – At Budokan (album)". SwissCharts.com. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
^ Fricke, David (1981-03-19). "Cheap Trick: All Shook Up". Rolling Stone #339. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
^ YouTube - John Lennon with Cheap Trick- I´m losing you
^ Cheap Trick The A.V. Club
^ Fricke, David (1985-10-10). "Cheap Trick: Standing on the Edge". Rolling Stone #458. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
^ "In Color (Re-recorded version)". . Retrieved on 2008-10-10.
^ "Yahoo! Interview". . Retrieved on 2008-10-11.
^ "Bun E and Torry Target Commercial". . Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
^ Podshow Radio July 21, 2006 Interview with Rick Nielsen
^ Baby Muggles
^ How Cheap Trick put the Budokan on the map The Japan Times Online
 External links
Cheap Trick.com - official website
Cheap Trick at the Internet Movie Database
Home Town Heroes - scholarly article about the 1970s Rockford, Illinois, social milieu from which Cheap Trick emerged
v • d • eCheap Trick
Robin Zander · Rick Nielsen · Tom Petersson · Bun E. CarlosJon Brant · Pete Comita · Randy "Xeno" Hogan ·
Cheap Trick · In Color · Heaven Tonight · Dream Police · All Shook Up · One on One · Next Position Please · Standing on the Edge · The Doctor · Lap of Luxury · Busted · Woke Up with a Monster · Cheap Trick (Cheap Trick '97) · Special One · Rockford
The Greatest Hits · Sex, America, Cheap Trick · Authorized Greatest Hits · The Essential Cheap Trick
At Budokan · Music for Hangovers · Silver