Cheap Trick – ‘The Doctor’ (1986) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

After recording the fantastic track, “Mighty Wings” for the Top Gun Soundtrack, Cheap Trick headed in to the studio to record their next album. At the time, not knowing that song wasn’t written by the band, I had high hopes that their album would come out rocking like that song. Yeah, but it didn’t…AT ALL!! Thanks to the production by Tony Platt, Cheap Trick came out with an album that had no balls and sounded so dated with the massive keyboards that you threw your hands up in the air and said “what is this crap”. Yes, I am ruining this review by telling you the ending right away…that is how bad this album is to me.

The band was really fighting with their label as the label kept screaming more keyboards and the band, in the end, just threw up their hands and finished the album in 3 weeks. I don’t think they even realized at the time how weak and lame this would turn out to be. They probably had an idea as it was Tony Platt that mixed their last album after Jack Douglas had to back out due to legal problems with Yoko Ono (that is whole other story for another time). Tony turned their album. “Standing On the Edge” in to a wimpfest when it was supposed to be a rocker…at least that was Jack’s vision. Why would they expect anything different with this one.

The band line-up was unchanged from the prior as we still had Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Jon Brant. However, this would be the last album to feature Brant as the band’s next album would see the return of founding bass player Tom Petersson. And not a moment too soon. The album finally saw its release on November of 1986 and it didn’t do well at all. It peaked at #115 on the Billboard Charts and only had one U.S. single which didn’t even chart. That says all you need to know right there. The band had probably hit rock bottom at this point in their career which would make you think that after this, there was no where to go but up. We will see if that happens.

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Cheap Trick – “Mighty Wings” (1986) – 7″ Single (The Cheap Trick Collection Series – Bonus Edition)

Between the albums ‘Standing on the Edge” and “The Doctor”, Cheap Trick were asked to do a song on an upcoming movie starring this two-bit actor named Tom Cruise. The movie was ‘Top Gun’ and would blow up the silverscreen and was a massive hit. What also was a massive hit was the soundtrack to that movie. What a line-up of who was big in the 80’s. You get Kenny Loggins, Loverboy, Berlin, Miami Sound Machine and Teena Marie to name most of the artist.

Cheap Trick were asked to do the song “Might Wings” which was written by Mark Spiro and Harold Faltermeyer who also produced the soundtrack. The song was the third single off the soundtrack and the only one to not chart which is a big surprise to me as it was my favorite song on the soundtrack. The song appeared in the movie twice. First as an instrumental piece during the scene first training session at Mirimar and then the full version of the track was played during the end credits.

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Cheap Trick – “Tonight It’s You” (1985) – 7″ Single (The Cheap Trick Collection Series – Bonus Edition)

The Cheap Trick Collection Series is about all things in my collection that are Cheap Trick related and this time around we are looking at a 7″ Single I picked up over the past year. The single is for the song “Tonight It’s You” off their album ‘Standing on the Edge which we reviewed last week. The song was the only single off the album and sadly, it didn’t break the Top 40, stalling out at #44. The song was written by Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Jon Brant and the song doctor Mark Radice who we talked about during the album review.

The Single is an edited and re-mixed version of the album cutting off over a minute of run time. The album version sits at around 4:47 and the Single edit is at 3:10. Basically they cut off a lot of the end that is repetitive as well as tightening it up to fit the short attention spans of the radio listener. The B-Side is off the same album and is the final song called “Wild Wild Women”.

My version is the standard U.S. Single, nothing special. I do love the cover and how it is the album cover but using the orange tint. Not original, but still looks good.

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Cheap Trick – ‘Standing on the Edge’ (1985) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

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.

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Cheap Trick – ‘Next Position Please’ (1983) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

After the disappointing results of the George Martin produced ‘One on One’, the band went back to their earlier Power Pop sound using producer Todd Rundgren. Now, hearing Rundgren was the producer made me think this might get just as experimental as the previous one, but surprisingly it doesn’t. It sticks to a sound of the band’s earlier albums like ‘In Color’ and ‘Heaven Tonight’. As we are now dead in the middle of the new wave movement that Cheap Trick influenced the bands in this genre greatly, it was a strange thing to have them go back in time with their sound and not push the sound further forward. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound like the 80’s at times because it does, it is just when they do they classic Cheap Trick sound, it really works well.

The band at the time was still Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and newer member Jon Brant. And from what I’ve read, many members of the band feel this is one of their favorite albums. I can’t say I agree with that statement, but we will get to that in a minute.

The album was recorded back in December 1982 at Utopia Sound in Lake Hill, New York which I am guessing is Rundgren’s studio as he has an album called Utopia which I own. But the album didn’t actually see the light of day August 15, 1983 which to me is quite a long stretch between recording and releasing. That would be normal in today’s timeframe with delays on vinyl pressing, but back then turnaround time was much faster. Not sure why the delay. The album charted only as high as #61 and the two singles on the album didn’t break the Top 40 and in fact, not sure if they even charted at all. The album didn’t even go Gold. This was not turning out to be a very shining example of the who the band were.

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Cheap Trick – ‘One on One’ (1982) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

The band waited two years to record their follow-up to the George Martin produced album, ‘All Shook Up’. During that time, their record label, CBS, sued the band for a whopping $10 million alleging the band was holding out recording a new album to get a better deal. By 1982, the lawsuit was settled and the band started working on their sixth studio album, ‘One on One’.

The band had a new bass player after original member, Tom Petersson left back in 1980. His name was Pete Comita. Well, Pete didn’t last long and was replaced rather quickly during the early recordings of the album. In fact, he doesn’t appear on any of the album. They replaced him with bass player, Jon Brant. Jon came in so late, he is only on three of the songs. Guitarist, Rick Nielsen picked up the slack and played bass on all the other tracks. And the other two members, Robin Zander and Bun E. Carlos were still able to their jobs and quite well.

One thing I found interesting about the album is the cover. You have a new member and yet if you look at the cover, his face is obscured unlike anyone else’s faces. I think this was done on purpose because hadn’t been in the band very long and didn’t contribute much to the album.

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Cheap Trick – ‘All Shook Up’ (1980) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

Cheap Trick was in high gear and on a tremendous pace of album/tour, album/tour and it was getting relentless. After the massive success of Budokan and Dream Police, they went to work on the next album, but this time around they were wanting to try something different. The first thing they did was part ways with long time producer, Tom Werman, who had produced everything except the debut.

The band had always been considered an American version of the Beatles and since they were huge fans of them, why not work with the one of the most famous producers, the fifth Beatle, George Martin. So off to London they went and recorded the album at Air Studios in London. Of course this was a big change for the band and their sound. Gone were the radio-friendly singles and in was a more experimental sound. They took chances and tried new things and whether for the better or not, we will shortly find out.

The band was still in tact with Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos. They finished up the album, but by the time it was done, Tom Petersson was exhausted. He was done as well. The non-stop touring and add to the fact he was not thrilled with the direction of the band and he didn’t even bother showing up in London when it was time to mix the album. And by August 26, 1980, Tom left the band to go record his own album with his wife. Who I think the band feels was part of his problem. Maybe she was their Yoko. The band pressed on and the album saw its release on October 24, 1980.

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Cheap Trick – ‘Found All The Parts E.P.’ (1980) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

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.

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Cheap Trick – ‘Dream Police’ (1979) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

The success of the live album, ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’, kept delaying the release of the band’s fourth studio album, ‘Dream Police’. And that was a great problem to have. The band recorded the album during ’78 and was ready to be released, but the label thought since ‘Bodokan’ had been imported so much in to the US, why not release the live album domestically. And it certainly paid off. They cleaned up a few things in early ’79 and it finally got a released date on September 21, 1979 as Budokan was blowing up the charts. That momentum set the band up for what would become their biggest commercial album to date. Heck, it only took the album a few months to go platinum. The album spawned four singles across the globe and gave the band two Top 40 songs on the Billboard Charts. Yes sir, Cheap Trick had made it to the big time. An audience that wasn’t ready for them a few short years earlier was finally on board.

Cheap Trick brought back Tom Werner for a third time as producer and this time around, the band experimented with their sound and brought in new elements such as orchestration and even songs that were structured to be more complex and definitely longer tracks as one almost hits 10 minutes. This was a band that was not afraid to try new things and this time around, it paid off…big time!! Band members, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos were ready to take on the world and now the world was ready for them.

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Cheap Trick – ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’ (1978) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

After the release of Cheap Trick’s second album, ‘In Color’, the band was getting quite a bit of recognition in Japan. So, a week after third album, ‘Heaven Tonight”, was released, the band did a quick tour in April of 1978 and they didn’t waste any time playing those songs. The band’s reception was nothing short of amazing. It was Beatlemania 2.0 as the Japanese fans went…well…fanatical. While in Japan, they decided to record the shows at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo and release the album in Japan only.

Here is a little fact for you, the recordings done at Nippon Budokan really sucked and the recording is actually the show in Osaka, but don’t tell anyone. Okay, don’t know if that is a fact, but I did read that somewhere so we will continue that statement here as it is cool if it is true. Regardless of where it was recorded, the show is amazing and the release in Japan on October 8, 1978 saw tremendous success, so much so that 30,000 copies of it were sold as imports to the US which prompted the label to finally release it in the US in February 1979 under the name ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’. The album would go on to be one of the biggest selling albums in the band’s career selling over 3 million copies and go to #4 on the Billboard Charts. Rolling Stones said it was one of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003 where it ranked at #426.

The album also introduced us to 2 new songs that had not been released yet and one of those, “Need Your Love” would wind up on their next album ‘Dream Police’. The other song, “Lookout”, was a leftover from their debut and would end up being released as a bonus track on later editions of the album starting in 1998. Due to the popularity of Budokan, the ‘Dream Police’ released date got pushed back as they were still having hit singles from this album. Not a bad problem to have actually.

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