I can’t believe we are already on the band’s 8th studio album. We are slap dab in the middle of the 80’s and Cheap Trick were still going, but I wouldn’t say they were still going strong. I say that because for this album, the band did something that hand’t done much of prior. They had a song doctor come in and help with the songwriting process. This was becoming very common back in the day. The song doctor was Mark Radice and he has 8 co-writes on the album which I feel is a little disappointing. Has the band lost its edge?
The line-up was consistent as we still have Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Jon Brant who is the newest member and he has some writing credits on this album as well. That part I like as it is great to see him now contributing to the creative aspect of the band. The band brought back a familiar face to produce the album, Jack Douglas. If you follow this site at all recently that name will sound familiar as not only has he produced prior Cheap Trick albums, he has also produced many of Aerosmith’s best albums which we have reviewed in the Aerosmith Collection Series we are also doing here at 2 Loud 2 Old. Big connection between the bands.
The band worked on the album during 1984 and 1985 and it finally saw its release on July 19, 1985. The album ended up not sounding like the album intended by Jack Douglas because he was unable to mix the album. Due to some legal complications he was having with another artist (Yoko Ono), he couldn’t mix it so Tony Platt was brought in. Tony didn’t have Jack’s vision of a harder, rawer sounding album, but instead went with the sound of the 80’s and added some keyboards and drum machines much to the dislike of Bun E. As a result, I think we get an album that doesn’t have the edge, the pizazz that we needed from Cheap Trick. The band ended up only releasing one single off the album and it didn’t even crack the Top 40. Cheap Trick were starting to be forgotten.
By the time the 80’s hit, Aerosmith was a mess. Joe Perry was out of the band and Steven’s drug use was way out of control. During the Fall of 1980, Steven was in a horrendous motorcycle accident which put him out of commission for months upon months. When the band finally went back in to the recording studio, things weren’t any better. After recording the first song and single, “Lightning Strikes”, Brad Whitford was done as well. He picked up his toys from the attic and walked away.
Was the band near the end? Probably pretty close. But there was an old friend that came back in to the mix. Famed producer, Jack Douglas, was back to produce the album. Jack had done all the band’s big albums and they really needed a friendly face to help them navigate this mess.
So who was still in the band? You have Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton of course. Then Jimmy Crespo was still around after replacing Joe Perry and the newest member was guitarist Rick Dufay. However, he was brought in after the album was done and didn’t actually play on it although he was credited. The album is also notable for its price tag. Because of how long it took to record (1981-1982), the cost of the album was immense at around $1.5 million. That was an unheard of price tag in those days.
The 70’s were a huge decade for Cheap Trick. In just three short years, we were blessed with four studio albums and one of the greatest live albums of all time with ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’. Not a bad run. Now we are in to the 80’s and this album was sort of a way to end the 70’s with a nice little bonus. The four-song E.P. was released on 10″ Vinyl and was part of Epic Records series called Nu-Disk, but that series was rather short-lived and I don’t know if I’ve found another album from that series.
If I remember correctly, it was believed that some of the songs on here were from a Cheap Trick album that was canned and never released, especially when more songs from this time frame were released as bonus tracks on other releases/compilations down the road. I believe there were 7 other tracks with all but 1 being released. However, I don’t think that was ever confirmed or denied. Most likely, they were working on an album and decided to shift gears in to a new direction which then became the album ‘All Shook Up’ which we will get to next time.
The album was released on June 2, 1980 and contained four tracks. Side 1 were both live songs (cough, cough, sort of) and side 2 were brand new studio tracks (thus the rumors mentioned above). I don’t see any chart information on them so not sure how well the E.P. did, but doesn’t matter to me as I love finding this kind of stuff.
The band had their break-through album with ‘Toys in the Attic’, then their fourt album, ‘Rocks”, would solidify them as one of America’s greatest rock & roll bands. The album would see the band go a little more raw and heavy as the band really let it loose with this one. They recorded the album at the “Wherehouse” which was the band’s rehearsal space where they took the Record Plant’s mobile recording studio and backed it right in to the space and did their thing. Producer, Jack Douglas, was able to get the band loose and wild, which I am sure the heavy usage of drugs helped. Despite all the drugs being used, the band was clicking and the end result fits the album title perfectly because the band ‘Rocks’.
The album came out on May 14, 1976 and would spawn three singles, two of which hit the Top 40 and would eventually go on to sell over 4 million copies in the U.S. (but not all in the year of release of course). The album would go all the way to #3 on the Billboard Charts and would inspire so many future musicians such as Kurt Cobain, James Hetfield, Nikki Sixx and even Slash all citing this as a major influence in their decision to pursue music. Heck for the longest time, ‘Toys in the Attic’ was always my favorite…now, it is ‘Rocks’! The band was still unchanged with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer and for this album they were a true band, a single unit and were on fire…but not sure how long that would last.
After a very long tour in support of their album, “Get Your Wings”, the band was tight and playing better than ever. They were ready to jump back in the studio and bring producer Jack Douglas back with them. This time around though would be different. Their first two albums used up all the songs they had been playing for years. Aerosmith now had to write a whole album from scratch. As a result, they would create an album that was spawned from a new level of confidence with the band and a more polished understanding of how to write songs. The album they created, ‘Toys in the Attic’, would take the band to a whole new level of stardom. The album would go on to sell more than 8 million copies and be one of their most commercially successful albums of all time.
‘Toys in the Attic’ was released on April 8, 1975 and was recorded at the Record Plant in New York City from January to March of that year. It would go as high as #11 on the Billboard Charts and deliver not one, but two Top 40 hits with one going all the way to #10 as well. The success of this album also saw the band’s first two albums get a renewed interest and so they would re-release the single “Dream On” in from the debut seeing it go to #6 on the charts. Yes, ‘Toys in the Attic’, finally saw Aerosmith get what they had been working so hard for over the years. Fame, Fortune and Drugs…lots and lots of drugs.
The band was still the same old song and dance of members with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer. Everyone had at least one writing credit on the album except for Joey. Tyler had them on all of the songs except for the cover song they do. The band was on fire, but so were things behind the scenes, especially with the band members wives who didn’t all get along and would be a driving force behind a lot of the band’s battles and problems over the years…well that and drugs…did I mention drugs? These boys could not get enough of the stuff. That would soon become a problem, but not so much now.
After the debut album being a dud and all the touring, the band wasted no time going in to the studio for their second album, ‘Get Your Wing’. This time around at the boards was famed producer Jack Douglas who was introduced to the band by the one and only Bob Ezrin, who the label wanted to produce the album. Jack worked out well and would go on to have a long relationship with the band and deliver some of their best albums.
The band had extensive preproduction work and extensive rehearsals, the band entered the studio The Record Plant in New York City on December 17, 1973 and by January 14, 1974, they were done. The album would come out on March 15, 1974 and would go only to #74 on the Billboard Charts. All 3 singles flopped and not one of them charted. If they thought the first album was a dud, this one didn’t fare any better. But don’t feel bad, once the band broke, this album has since sold over 3 million copies and is certified Triple Platinum. It all worked out in the end.
But what makes this album successful on its own is that the band found their voice. They found their sound and they would find rock stardom. Bandmates Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer found themselves and were set to take over the world…okay, that is a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.
Welcome to the new series The Cheap Trick Collection Series. That means we will be going through every Cheap Trick album that I have in my collection whether it be on studio album, live album, compilations, singles or whatever it may be and it doesn’t matter if it is on Vinyl, CD, 7″ Single. We will go through them in chronological order starting with their 1977 debut and all the way up to the 2021 release ‘In Another World’ and most things in between…not all as I don’t have everything. Currently I’m missing some live albums, some greatest hits albums and even the Christmas album which I don’t think I can convince myself to buy (not a fan of Christmas albums). So, why don’t we get started with the debut, self-titled album from 1997, ‘Cheap Trick’.
Cheap Trick’s roots stem back to a band called Fuse which Rick Nielsen formed back in 1967 with Tom Petersson back in Rockford, Illinois. They recruited Bun E. Carlos on drums and they moved to Philadelphia where they changed their name for a short time to Sick Man of Europe. was formed back around 1973 and then lead singer, Randy “Xeno” Hogan, left the band shortly there after in 1974. They quickly replaced Randy with lead singer Robin Zander and the current line-up of Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos and Robin Zander was born. By 1975, they recorded a demo and they played a ton of shows. They shopped the demo around and by very early 1976, they were signed to Epic Records. Epic Records didn’t waste much time and got the band in the studio to record their first album, simply titled ‘Cheap Trick’.
Now the above story is what Wiki has you believing, but if you read the back of the album sleeve, you get a different history of the band. One that has them spending a lot of time in Europe (which they did) and forming the band while they were there. That European influence the guys had opened them up to so many different sounds and influences that broaden the scope of the type of music they would perform. If you have the sleeve, give it a read.