BY JOHN B. MOORE
While Cheap Trick has finally joined the likes of Aerosmith, Journey, Night Ranger and others on that endless summer nostalgia lap of outdoor music sheds, we will always have their first four records as reminders of happier times, when the band began their journey as Power Pop Pioneers (though 2009’s Latest, was a pretty good album, so there may still be some life left in ‘em). Legacy has packaged all five records in a very cool box set, remastered in 2013 from the original analog tapes. This set includes the only five Cheap Trick albums you will ever need to own:
Cheap Trick – Their 1977 debut started off strong with “ELO Kiddies,” and had a few other highlights (most notably “He’s a Whore”), bit overall this decent debut was more of a prelude of better things to come.
In Color – Probably their best non-live album, this one boasts “Hello There,” “Clock Strikes Ten,” “I Want You to Want Me” and “Southern Girls” – all of which are show staples for the band to this day. By the way, this album came out in 1977. See that current rock bands? You don’t need to let years go by waiting for inspiration to strike. Get your ass in the studio (though it should be noted, pills and Cocaine probably had a lot to do with the bands prolific output during this period).
Heaven Tonight – Originally out in 1978, boasting singer Robin Zander and bassist Tom Petersson on the album cover rocking two sweet, sweet late-‘70s hair dos – this one was almost as strong as In Color, introducing the world to Power Pop Xanadu in the form of album opener “Surrender” (“Your mommy’s alright/your daddy’s alright/they just seem a little weird!”).
(Live) At Budokan – The band’s paramount release. Some will try and tell you this live record – the album that brought the band to a much broader audience – is a bit overrated. They are lying; avoid them at all costs. Can 12,000 screaming Japanese fans really be wrong? Selling three million copies in the U.S., this is easily the band’s biggest album.
Dream Police – Released in 1979, the title track is still one of the band’s best songs. There are a couple of other great tracks on here like “Voices” and “I’ll Be With You Tonight.” This is also the album that showed Kiss weren’t the only rock band to be seduced by that bitch Disco, with the dreadful nine-plus minute long rock/dance hybrid “Gonna Raise Hell.”