Thursday, January 20, 2005

8-Track Memories - Cheap Trick

When I was a kid, I stayed with my grandparents for a few weeks every summer. They moved into a new house just before my brother was born in 1979. My absolute favorite 8-track then was Cheap Trick's Live At Budokan. The day they moved, I lost my Cheap Trick tape. I think I threw some sort of tantrum until my parents replaced it.

Cheap Trick was a hot band in the late 1970s. This was years before the cheesy hit ballad "The Flame" and long before famous fans like Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins) made them "cool" again in the late 1990s (the bands played together memorably at the release concert for Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness). This album was also my introduction to Japan, which was pretty exotic to a nine-year-old. The way the fans were screaming, you would have thought these were the Beatles reunited, not a band from Rockford, IL with a couple of hit singles.

I don't remember why I got this tape in the first place, but it was probably from hearing "Surrender" and "I Want You To Want Me" on the radio. Looking back, the latter is just a lightweight pop song, but "Surrender" has stood the test of time. The lyrics are goofy but in a charming way. I also liked "Ain't That A Shame" and "Clock Strikes Ten," which had a guitar line that coincidentally sounded like the doorbell chimes in my grandparents' new house.

I just learned that in 1998, the entire concert was released on CD. The original had just ten songs. As a kid, I had wondered why a band would go all the way to Japan to play such a short concert (editing never occurred to me). Cheap Trick At Budokan: The Complete Concert sets the record straight with nineteen songs, including one of the band's classics, "Auf Wiedersehen," as well as their well-known cover of The Move's "California Man" (written by Jeff Lynne, better known from ELO).

I never bought another Cheap Trick album, and I stopped listening to Budokan sometime in junior high school. I heard a few songs from the album last year, though, and I remembered all the words. Impressively, they are still together with the same line-up (one member left for a while in the 1980s but came back).

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