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Cheap Trick

Combining a love for British guitar pop songcraft with crunching power chords and a flair for the absurd, Cheap Trick provided the necessary links between '60s pop, heavy metal, and punk. Led by guitarist Rick Nielsen, the band's early albums were filled with highly melodic, well-written songs that drew equally from the crafted pop of the Beatles, the sonic assault of the Who, and the tongue-in-cheek musical eclecticism and humor of the Move. A canny student of '60s rock, Nielsen first worked with bassist Tom Petersson in the band Fuse, who released one album in 1969 before dissolving. Nielsen and Petersson continued working together in several formats until they teamed with drummer Bun E. Carlos and vocalist Robin Zander to form the definitive lineup of Cheap Trick in 1975. After developing a cult following after three outstanding albums -- 1977's Cheap Trick and In Color and 1978's Heaven Tonight -- and relentless touring, Cheap Trick scored an unexpected hit with 1978's At Budokan, a live album originally issued only in Japan that became their international breakthrough. Glossier production and fuzzy creative direction sapped the band's spirit on most of their work of the '80s, despite the commercial success of 1988's Lap of Luxury and its Number One single "The Flame." However, after leaving the major labels behind with 1997's Cheap Trick, the band enjoyed a creative second wind, reaffirming the strength of their formula on-stage and in the studio, and 2006's Rockford demonstrated they were far from a spent force. They later signed with the successful country label Big Machine and released 2016's Bang, Zoom, Crazy … Hello within months of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, kicking off a productive streak that saw them release three albums within 18 months. Their sound provided a blueprint for both power pop and arena rock; it also had a surprisingly long-lived effect on both alternative and heavy metal bands of the '80s and '90s, who often relied on the same combination of loud riffs and catchy melodies.


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