Gonna Raise Hell

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"Gonna Raise Hell"
Song by Cheap Trick
from the album Dream Police
Released 1979
Genre Rock
Length 9:20
Label Epic Records
Songwriter(s) Rick Nielsen
Producer(s) Tom Werman
Dream Police track listing
"The House Is Rockin' (With Domestic Problems)"
"Gonna Raise Hell"
"I'll Be with You Tonight"

"Gonna Raise Hell" is a song written by Rick Nielsen and originally released on Cheap Trick's 1979 album Dream Police. The subject of "Gonna Raise Hell" has been disputed. Some authors, such as Ira Robbins of Trouser Press, have believed that the song was about the Jonestown Massacre.[1][2] However, the song was written before that event.[1] Allmusic critic Tom Maginnis claims that the song is about having a good time despite the apathy in the world; since we can't change the world "we might as well raise some hell."[3] Composer Rick Nielsen claims that the song is about "religious, political and nuclear fanatics."[1]

"Gonna Raise Hell" has a disco beat.[2][3] At one point the band was planning to issue a 12" disco record of the song.[4] The guitar melody played by Rick Nielsen mostly follows that of the vocals.[3] Both Allmusic's Maginnis and Trouser Press' Robbins praise Tom Petersson's strong bass line.[2][3] The song contains an interlude for violins and cellos that was scored by Rick and Jai Winding.[1] According to drummer Bun E. Carlos, producer Tom Werman enhanced the snare drum sound on the recording by overdubbing the sound of two wooden boards hitting each other.[1]


Allmusic's Maginnis praises aspects of the song, including its "nice build ups, breakdowns and solos," but does not think that the string interludes work as well in "Gonna Raise Hell" as they did in the title track of the Dream Police album.[3] Maginnis also criticizes the song's length, at over nine minutes.[3] Carlos has explained the length by stating that the song was originally intended to be about five minutes long, but when the band decided to go for a disco interpretation, they improvised an additional five minutes during the recording.[1] According to Carlos, the first take of the improvised music sounded good enough to the band to be left in.[1]

Fellow Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine praises "Gonna Raise Hell" as an "epic rocker" that ranks "among Cheap Trick's finest."[5] Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh sees the song as a "variation on 'Helter Skelter'" by The Beatles, and believes that the layering of the vocals was inspired by The Beatles' Abbey Road.[6] Mojo Magazine claimed that "Gonna Raise Hell" and "Need Your Love," another song from Dream Police, "proved the Trick could do heavy, freaky rock jams as well as any of their peers."[7] Audio Magazine found the track amusing but complained that Cheap Trick was willing to go so far as to record a disco track in order to be successful.[8] Author Mike Hayes claims that with this song, producer Tom Werman achieved "the definitive Cheap Trick sound," even though the song's style differs from typical Cheap Trick fare.[1]

The song has been popular live at Cheap Trick concerts.[1]


It has been said that "Gonna Raise Hell" contains a hidden satanic message. Using back-masking, it was claimed you can hear, "You know Satan holds the key to the lock" when played backwards.

Other appearances[edit]

Since its original appearance on Dream Police, "Gonna Raise Hell" has been included on a number of Cheap Trick compilation albums, including Sex, America, Cheap Trick in 1996 and The Essential Cheap Trick in 2004.[3] It was also included on the live album Silver in 2001.[3] In Japan, it was included on the 1991 compilation album The Greatest Hits. "Gonna Raise Hell" was used in the soundtrack of the television show Freaks and Geeks in the episode "Tricks and Treats."[9][10]

Sam Kinison covered "Gonna Raise Hell" on his 1990 album Leader of the Banned.[11] Allmusic critic Bret Adams called Kinison's recording a "horrible hair metal version" of the song.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hayes, M.; Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation Is a Fragile Thing. Poptastic. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Robbins, I. (1991). The Trouser Press Record Guide. Collier Books. p. 119. ISBN 9780020363613. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Maginnis, T. "Gonna Raise Hell". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  4. ^ Green, P. (April 14, 1979). "Everyone's Jumping on Disco Bandwagon". Billboard Magazine. p. 6. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  5. ^ Erlewine, S.T. "Dream Police". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  6. ^ Marsh, D. (November 29, 1979). "Dream Police". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  7. ^ Mojo Magazine (150-153).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Dream Police: Cheap Trick". Audio Magazine. 64. 1980. 
  9. ^ Feig, P. & Apatow, J. (2004). Freaks and geeks: the complete scripts. Newmarket Press. pp. 170, 183. ISBN 9781557046451. 
  10. ^ "FAQ for Freaks and Geeks". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  11. ^ a b Adams, B. "Leader of the Banned". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 

External links[edit]