I’ll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt

In their late ’70s heyday they were sometimes described as a couple of “bozo geeks” paired with a couple of “heartthrobs” but the beginnings of the (still-touring) power-pop band, Cheap Trick stretch back more than 50 years, to a Rockford, Illinois kid with a penchant for collecting guitars, who formed his first band in 1961.  He was a dead ringer for Huntz Hall of the Bowery Boys and with a grace-saving sense of humor to match, lead guitarist, songwriter and arranger Rick Nielsen slowly gained a reputation for his bouncing onstage antics and habit of flicking guitar picks into the audience.

Nelson and bassist Tom Petersson had already played in several groups together before teaming up with rival band drummer, Rick Carlson, aka Bun E. Carlos. Initially calling themselves “Sick Man of Europe” they decided to adopt a new name, just prior bringing  on new lead singer Robin Zander, having recently seen the British glam rock band Slade in concert. Here was a band, according to Petersson, that used “every cheap trick in the book” as part of their act.

Now with a line-up that included two glamor boys of its own (Petersson and Zander), as well as a chain smoking drummer who resembled a ’40s era tire salesman and an over the top lead guitarist who sported a checkerboard motif while taking the Huntz Hall resemblance to the extreme by wearing a flipped up baseball cap, Cheap Trick hit the road, playing 300 nights a year throughout the Midwest.

Although their first three albums went virtually unnoticed in the States they were hugely popular in Japan and a Japanese tour was planned as a result.  What wasn’t planned was the frenzied reception the group received upon their arrival.   Referred to as “the American Beatles” they were mobbed wherever they went and it was quickly decided that some of their concerts should be recorded so that a live album could be released exclusively in Japan.

Predictably, the resulting 1978 album was a Japanese chart topper, but the unexpected import demand was considerable enough for the record label to release it domestically the following year.  Peaking at Number Four on the American Billboard charts, “Cheap Trick at Budokan” went triple platinum in the U.S. alone, and the odd assortment of bozo geeks and heartthrobs became international sensations.

Today’s selection (featuring songwriter, Nielsen in his awesomely contrapuntal guitar glory) is by far Cheap Trick’s biggest selling single, reaching Number 7 on the Billboard Charts and Number 29 in the UK.  First released on the “In Color” album it was superbly reinvented before a live Japanese audience on “Cheap Trick at Budokan”.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Friday 7 September

I Want You to Want Me

 I want you to want me

I need you to need me

I’d love you to love me

I’m beggin’ you to beg me

I want you to want me

I need you to need me

I’d love you to love me

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt

I’ll get home early from work if you say that you love me

 Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin’.

Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

I want you to want me

I need you to need me

I’d love you to love me

I’m beggin’ you to beg me

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt

I’ll get home early from work if you say that you love me

Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin’.

Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin’.

Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?

 I want you to want me

I need you to need me

I’d love you to love me

I’m beggin’ you to beg me

I want you to want me

I want you to want me

I want you to want me

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