Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cheap Trick rock The Midnight Special

“Big in Japan” often comes to mind when thinking about Cheap Trick’s 1978 breakthrough with their “At Budokan” live album, recorded at the Tokyo venue that April.

Originally intended as a Japanese-only release, “Budokan” hit the Asian market in October; it quickly began selling so many import copies in the US that it was released there just four months later, in February ’79, selling millions and making Cheap Trick international superstars.

If the setup to Trick’s Japanese success began with their 1977 self-titled debut, the second album, “In Color,” kicked things up a notch or two – producing regional hits there with “I Want You To Want Me” and “Clock Strikes Ten” (which hit #1).

The home run was delivered with Trick’s third album, “Heaven Tonight,” released in May of ‘78.

“Heaven” was released about the same time Trick played the Budokan shows, where fan reaction was reminiscent of Beatlemania.

The teen anthem, “Surrender,” was the lead single and the first Trick song to chart in the US, where it reached #62.

Following the Japanese shows, Cheap Trick spent much of the year on the road in the States, opening for bands like Aerosmith, The Cars, Uriah Heep and AC/DC.

Fall saw them tape a performance for The Midnight Special, which aired in late November - Ted Nugent was the guest host; other acts included REO Speedwagon, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Golden Earring and Aerosmith.

Cheap Trick performed two songs: “Surrender,” and the killer album track, “California Man,” written by Roy Wood (the final release by The Move in April ‘72; a month later, they changed their name to the Electric Light Orchestra).

Surrender Cheap Trick - Surrender - Heaven Tonight (Remastered)

Cheap Trick - Surrender
The Midnight Special – November 24, 1978

California Cheap Trick - California Man - Heaven Tonight (Remastered)

Cheap Trick – California Man
The Midnight Special – November 24, 1978