Clock Strikes Ten

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"Clock Strikes Ten"
Clock Strikes Ten cover.jpg
Single by Cheap Trick
from the album In Color
B-side "So Good to See You"
Released 1977
Format 7" single
Recorded Kendun Recorders
Los Angeles, 1977
Genre Rock
Length 2:59
Label Epic
Writer(s) Rick Nielsen
Producer(s) Tom Werman

"Clock Strikes Ten" is a song released in 1977 by Cheap Trick on their second album, In Color.[1] It was written by Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen.[1] It was released as a single in Japan, where it was a major hit and reached #1 on their singles chart.[2][3][4][5][6] Its success, as well as the success of two follow up singles, "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender", paved the way for Cheap Trick's famous concerts at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in April 1978 that were recorded for the group's most popular album - Cheap Trick at Budokan.[7]


It is a fast paced song that begins with guitar notes struck to sound like Big Ben's chimes[8][9] (full hour). The song has similarities to the 1950s song "Rock Around the Clock".[8] Bruce Meyer of UPI called "Clock Strikes Ten" a "nearly perfect rock construction, using established forms without a hint of cliche."[10] Nielsen has described the theme of the song as "Simple fun and games. People are going out on a Saturday night, going completely nuts, people that live for the weekend, and who doesn't?"[8] Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone said that the song "can only be compared to Little Richard playing 'Rip It Up,' easily his silliest song, on guitar."[9] Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times described it as "frenzied," calling it one of the highlights of In Color.[11]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
Japanese Singles Chart 1

Other versions[edit]

"Clock Strikes Ten" was often played as an encore in live shows, and it was the final song played in the encore of the Budokan concerts.[12] The live version was released as the final song on the Cheap Trick at Budokan album.[13] The live version was also released as the B-side of the live version single of "I Want You to Want Me" that was a top 10 hit in 1979.[14] In 1978, Cheap Trick played "Clock Strikes Ten" and "I Want You to Want Me" on the BBC2 television program The Old Grey Whistle Test.[15] "Clock Strikes Ten" has since been released on several other compilation and live albums, including The Greatest Hits, Sex, America, Cheap Trick, The Essential Cheap Trick and Live in Australia.[16] It has also been covered by The Electric Ferrets on their album Ferretzilla.[16]

Nirvana producer Steve Albini recorded a version of "Clock Strikes Ten" that was never officially released, but which Tom Beaujour of Rolling Stone described as "impossibly heavy."[6] Beaujour proclaimed that in Albini's version one can hear why Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain once stated that ""We sound just like Cheap Trick, only the guitars are louder."[6] It has also been covered by The Electric Ferrets on their album Ferretzilla.[16]

Famous Monsters covered the song on their album "Into the Night!!!"


  1. ^ a b "In Color". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  2. ^ Hayes, M.; Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation is a Fragile Thing. pp. 48, 61. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8. 
  3. ^ McLane, D. (June 14, 1979). "Cheap Trick Finds Heaven". Rolling Stone. p. 50. 
  4. ^ Wright, J. "Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick". Classic Rock Revisited. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  5. ^ "300 Hits in Japan 1965-1984, Vol. 10". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  6. ^ a b c Beaujour, T. (April 4, 2016). "10 Insanely Great Cheap Trick Songs Only Hardcore Fans Know". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  7. ^ "BUDOKAN!(30th Anniversary DVD+3CDs) insert booklet". 
  8. ^ a b c Hayes, M.; Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation is a Fragile Thing. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8. 
  9. ^ a b Marsh, D. (September 22, 1977). "In Color by Cheap Trick". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  10. ^ Meyer, B. (September 14, 1977). "Cheap Trick: A Great New Band". Beaver County Times. p. 15. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  11. ^ Hilburn, R. (October 2, 1977). "Pop Music". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ Hayes, M.; Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation is a Fragile Thing. pp. 46, 61. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8. 
  13. ^ "Cheap Trick at Budokan". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  14. ^ "Cheap Trick Billboard singles". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  15. ^ Hayes, M.; Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation is a Fragile Thing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8. 
  16. ^ a b c "Clock Strikes Ten covers". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 

External links[edit]