Cheap Trick – ‘In Color’ (1977) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

After the disappointing sales of their debut, the band quickly jumped back in to the studio to work on their second album, ‘In Color’. By September of 1977, the album was done and released. The album was far more polished than the rawness of the debut. I am sure they were hoping for a more radio-friendly sound and hoping for a big single. Which sadly, they did not get in the U.S. However, the band became superstars with this album in Japan. Yep, Japan. When they went and toured that country the next year, they were welcomed with a whole Beatlemania type vibe and the country just loved them. But we will get to that later.

The album cover as interesting. On the front, you have Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the front riding motorcycles and in vivid color. But when you turn the cover over, you get an upside picture of Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos riding bicycles and in black & white. I loved the contrast between the two pictures as it shows a playful band that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is having a little fun. Although the album is a single LP, you get a gatefold album jacket and in the inside picture is of the whole band in bright, bright color and again split between the same two members on each side, but at least Bun and Rick are not upside down this time.

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Cheap Trick – ‘Cheap Trick’ (1977) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

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.

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Cheap Trick – ‘We’re All Alright!’ – Album Review

Cheap Trick is the fine wine of Rock & Roll…they keep getting better with age.  Okay, that was extremely cheesy if not entirely true!  They are now on their 18th Studio album after 44 years together.  To top it off, it has only been around 15 months since their last one, ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello’.  The new album picks up right where that album left off.  ‘We’re All Alright!’ even takes it to the next level.

The album title, ‘We’re All Alright!’, is a line straight out of their classic song “Surrender” and the whole album is classic Cheap Trick.  The album is a fast paced, juggernaut of pure Cheap Trick rock.  The songs are generally around 3 minutes and the album flies by at only 33 minutes (45 for the deluxe edition).  The album consists of new songs and some old songs that were never recorded or released.

For a band where the members are well into their 60’s, they sound so alive and refreshing and sound better than bands that are half their age.  Robin Zander’s vocals are amazing and sound like he did when he was a kid. Rick Nielsen’s guitar work on the album is the highlight for me.  So many great riffs and solos that music today is sorely missing.  Tom Petersson’s work on the bass keeps everyone in line and adds the finishing touches to each song.  Daxx Nielsen (Rick’s son) on drums has that old Cheap Trick sound and keep the band going at a heart stopping pace.

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