Cheap Trick (1977 album)

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Cheap Trick
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 1977
StudioRecord Plant, New York City
ProducerJack Douglas
Cheap Trick chronology
Cheap Trick
In Color
Singles from Cheap Trick
  1. "Oh, Candy"
    Released: April 1977

Cheap Trick is the first studio album released in 1977 by the American rock band Cheap Trick. It was their debut album for Epic Records, produced by Jack Douglas. The album did not reach the Billboard 200 chart but did "bubble under" at number 207 for one week in April 1977.[1]


Most of the songs have a more raw sound akin to hard rock bands of the period compared to the group's later more polished power pop style, and the song lyrics deal with more extreme subject matter than later albums. For instance, "The Ballad of T.V. Violence" is about serial killer Richard Speck, "Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School" is about an ephebophile, and "Oh, Candy" is about a photographer friend of the band, Marshall Mintz, who committed suicide.

This album, along with the following three albums, are considered by fans and critics to be Cheap Trick's best works. This one, however, is more known for capturing both their dark side and the fierceness of their early live performances more than any other studio release in their catalog.

The album was produced by Jack Douglas, who had achieved a similar sonic density with the hard rock band Aerosmith, and the album sounds quite different than subsequent Cheap Trick records. Jack Douglas later worked with the band on the Found All the Parts EP, on the album Standing on the Edge, as well as on a re-recorded version of "Surrender" in the late 1990s and on a few tracks on Rockford.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB[3]
Rolling Stonepositive[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[5]
Spin Alternative Record Guide(10/10)[6]
Trouser Presspositive[7]

The album was generally well-received by critics with favorable comparisons to the Beatles and the Who, and critics likened Robin Zander's vocals to John Lennon's. Charles M. Young, writing for Rolling Stone, said the album had a "heavy emphasis on basics with a strain of demented violence" and that the lyrics "run the gamut of lust, confusion and misogyny, growing out of rejection and antiauthoritarian sentiments about school—all with an element of wit."[4] Ira Robbins of Trouser Press noted the album's "wall-of-guitar sound" and said the band was "sarcastic, smart, nasty, powerful, tight, casual, and destined for something great."[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Rick Nielsen except where noted.

Side A
1."Hot Love" 2:30
2."Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace"Terry Reid4:35
3."He's a Whore" 2:43
4."Mandocello" 4:47
5."The Ballad of TV Violence (I'm Not the Only Boy)" 5:15
Side 1
1."Elo Kiddies" 3:41
2."Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School" 4:44
3."Taxman, Mr. Thief" 4:16
4."Cry, Cry"Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson4:22
5."Oh, Candy" 3:07

The original vinyl record had "Side A" printed on the label on one side and "Side 1" printed on the other, a humorous touch reflecting the band's conviction that they didn't have any "B" material, although the placement of the track listing on the jacket seemed to indicate "Hot Love" was the first track on the album. Indeed, the matrix numbers on the record show the "Hot Love" side was designated side A and the "Elo Kiddies" side as side B. When the album was released on compact disc in the mid-1980s, it followed the same sequence. However, when the album was re-issued on CD in 1998, the band's preferred sequence was used, with "Elo Kiddies" being the first track.

1998 reissue bonus tracks
11."Lovin' Money" 4:09
12."I Want You to Want Me" 2:43
13."Lookout" 3:30
14."You're All Talk"Nielsen, Petersson3:31
15."I Dig Go-Go Girls" 3:06


Cheap Trick


In the documentary End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, Johnny Ramone stated that the guitar riff in "The KKK Took My Baby Away" was inspired by the riff in "He's a Whore".

Big Black released a cover of "He's a Whore" as a single with a picture sleeve in the style of Cheap Trick's album cover. The back of the sleeve was a similar take on the German band Kraftwerk and their song, "The Model". Big Black's version was included as a bonus track on the CD release of their second album, Songs About Fucking.

The Methadones covered "He's a Whore" on 21st Century Power Pop Riot, an album of covers released in 2006. Concrete Blonde covered "Mandocello" on Still in Hollywood.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Singles & Albums (1998): 311
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Cheap Trick (1977) - Cheap Trick". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via
  4. ^ a b Young, Charles M. (May 5, 1977). "Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 157. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Weisbard & Marks, 1995. p.80
  7. ^ a b Robbins, Ira (April 1977). "Cheap Trick (Epic PE 34400)". Trouser Press. New York: Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press, Inc.