If It Takes a Lifetime

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"If It Takes a Lifetime"
Cheap Trick If It Takes a Lifetime 2006 Single Cover.jpeg
Single by Cheap Trick
from the album Rockford
Released 2006
Format CD
Genre Rock, power pop
Length 3:44
Label Big3 Records
Cheap Trick Unlimited
Songwriter(s) Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos, Julian Raymond
Producer(s) Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick singles chronology
"Come On, Come On, Come On"
"If It Takes a Lifetime"
"Sick Man of Europe"

"Come On, Come On, Come On"
"If It Takes a Lifetime"
"Sick Man of Europe"

"If It Takes a Lifetime" is a single by American rock band Cheap Trick, released as the third and final single from their critically acclaimed 2006 album Rockford. It was the band's last single in three years.


Released as the third single from Rockford, the remixed promotional single aimed for radio station play only - much like the band's other recent single releases.[1]

The song was written by all four members of the band with American songwriter and producer Julian Raymond. The song was produced by Cheap Trick, whilst Raymond co-produced.[2] Raymond had previously co-written with the band on the 1994 album track "Tell Me Everything", the 2003 album track/single "My Obsession", the Rockford album track "All Those Years" and also various eight tracks on the band's 2009 album The Latest.[3]

The song was recorded at four studios; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, California. Like the Rockford album, the song was mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, New York.[2]

The single's song version was a remix by American musician, songwriter and producer Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. In the Billboard Magazine issue of July 15, 2006, a section on Zandt's "Little Steven's Underground Garage" weekly syndicated radio show, the song "If It Takes a Lifetime" had peaked at #2 in the top 10 "Coolest Garage Songs", whilst the Rockford album was listed at #1 on the "Coolest Garage Albums" chart.[4]

In an interview with Rick Nielsen based in a Cheap Trick featured article for The Press of Atlantic City of June 29, 2006, Nielsen stated how the band had played the song live acoustically, stating "We did "If It Takes a Lifetime," and said to ourselves, "Yeah, that should be done electrically."[5]

In the Star Press issue of September 7, 2006, Michelle Kinsey had interviewed Nielsen, who had stated that "If It Takes a Lifetime" was the song he looked forward to the most during a Cheap Trick concert.[6]


The single was released in America only as a promotional one-track single through Big3 Records and Cgeap Trick Unlimited. The single featured the remix of "If It Takes a Lifetime" as the sole track. The remix was titled "If It Takes a Lifetime (Little Steven Van Zandt Radio Edit)".[1] The yellow & black graphics CD single featured a custom picture sleeve, which featured the cartoon head of each band member as seen on the Rockford album cover.[7]

Following the song's original release as a single and on the Rockford album, the song was included on the 2008 various artists compilation The Coolest Songs in the World, Vol. 5. The album was released by Wicked Cool, and featured the remix of "If It Takes a Lifetime". The compilation was part of Little Steven Van Zandt's series of CD collections devoted to music featured on his weekly syndicated radio show.[8]


No music video was created for the single, although the song became part of the band's live set around the time of the album's release and onwards.

On June 7, 2006, the band appeared on Rockline, a nationally syndicated radio interview program hosted by Bob Coburn, where the band performed the song live, along with the Rockford lead single "Perfect Stranger" and the band's two classic hits "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender".[9]

On September 4, 2006, the band appeared on the Bart Connor-presented WGN America show MDA, where the band performed the song live. On September 11, 2006, the performance of the song was uploaded unofficially onto YouTube where since then it has gained 10,000 views.[10]

On September 25, 2006, the band appeared on a MSNBC show, where the band performed the song live, along with three of the band's classic hits; "I Want You to Want Me", "Voices" and "Dream Police". On September 30, 2006, the performance of the song was uploaded unofficially onto YouTube where since then it has gained 32,000 views.[11] Another video of the same performance has gained 22,000 views since September 2006.[12]

An unofficial audience recording of the band performing the song in London, Ontario, Canada on July 27, 2007, also exists on YouTube.[13]

Track listing[edit]

CD Single (DPRO236788-2)
  1. "If It Takes a Lifetime (Little Steven Van Zandt Radio Edit)" - 3:41

Critical reception[edit]

Mark Deming of Allmusic spoke of the song in a review of The Coolest Songs in the World, Vol. 5 compilation, stating "The typical Nehru-and-fuzzbox aficionado might wonder what the Pipettes, the Saints, or Cheap Trick are doing on a collection like this one, but listen to the songs in context and it's clear why they're here -- Van Zandt clearly knows a great single when he hears one, and "Pull Shapes," "Porno Movies," and "If It Takes a Lifetime" all get over on cool melodies, high spirits, and ineffable cool that defies generic classification."[8]

Boston Globe writer Marc Hirsh reviewed the Rockford album in the June 23, 2006 issue, stating "With the exception of the ploddingly up-tempo "Perfect Stranger," the songs on "Rockford" sound as though Cheap Trick was thumbing through some old record guides, ran across the entries for its late-'70s albums and said, "Hey, that sounds pretty good." But along with "If It Takes a Lifetime," they sound blessedly like classic Cheap Trick songs and performances though, like the rest of the self-produced album."[14]

On February 23, 2007, writer Alan Sculley reviewed the Rockford album in the Desert Sun, stating "The poppier side of Cheap Trick's sound emerges brightly on hook-laden Beatles -esque songs such as "If It Takes A Lifetime" and "Every Night And Every Day"."[15] The same article was later featured in the Naperville Sun on August 30, 2007.[16]

In a German review of the album by The-Pit, author Alexander Müller described the song as "Somewhat relaxed but equally good" as the previous "Perfect Stranger" track.[17]

Upon release, Pop Matters writer Lou Friedman reviewed the Rockford album, stating "If It Takes a Lifetime" is another ballad disguised as a rocker, and has a sing-along chorus to boot."[18]

Audio Video Revolution reviewed the album upon release, where writer K. L. Poore stated "Perfect Stranger" throbs in a way that'll make the current crop of power pop purveyors turn red with jealousy, and while listening to "If It Takes a Lifetime" I figure that Rick Nielsen went to his "catchy hook" trunk, pulled out 10 or 15 and crammed them into the same song. And although the songs on Rockford are attributed to all four members of Cheap Trick, Nielsen's manic guitar riff fingerprints are all over them. It's the "too much is never enough school" - and I like it! After a few more listens to "If It Takes a Lifetime" I turn a little red and realize that I'm the one who's jealous now. I mean they’re tossing in musical afterthoughts that I'd give blood to have written. I flash on the thought that the masters of post-emo pop music are now looking for either fast food employment, or poison, because they can’t compete with the sheer pop explosion of Rockford."[19]

Upon release, Jed Gottlieb of The Phoenix reviewed the album which noted the song (track three of first three tracks), stating "Named for the band's Illinois home town, Rockford has all the Cheap Trick gimmicks: power-pop anthems, arena-rock ballads, oddball humor. And the band have recaptured that winning mix of Aerosmith grit, Beatles melodies, and Bay City Rollers whimsy. The first three tracks are irrelevant stabs at anemic Top 40, an even bigger disappointment when you consider the high-priced studio talent (engineers Steve Albini and Jack Douglas as well as producer/song doctor Linda Perry) involved. Cheap Trick haven’t learned any new tricks, but they're as skilled (and enthused) as they were two decades ago."[20]

In a track-by-track review of the album by 80's Metal Server, writer Ben Perry gave the song 10 out of 10, stating "For me, this is the easiest song on the album to get stuck in my head. No idea why, but it does...on a frequent basis and I do not even listen to this album much. Starting off slow and adding in a driving bass line that just carries throughout the song to accompany the memorable drumming. The chorus provides some greater Cheap Trick sugar that we all need to hear now and again."[21] ConcertLivewire.com author Tony Bonyata reviewed the album upon release, stating "Musically the band is back in fine form once again and firing on all cylinders - from Neilson's buzz-saw guitar ("Deaf") to Zander's commanding pipes (on the hard-rocking "Come On Come On Come On" and catchy first single from the album "Perfect Stranger") to the sugar-buzzed power-pop anthems ("Give It Away," "If It Takes a Lifetime" and the opening track "Welcome to the World")."[22]

On MelodicRock.com, reviewer Andrew J McNeice reviewed Rockford, and wrote "Melodic rock anthems appear in the form of "Perfect Stranger" and the very Lap Of Luxury-ish pop/rock of "If It Takes a Lifetime" and "This Time You Got It."[23] Sea of Tranquility writer Ken Pierce reviewed the album upon release, writing "Come On, Come On, Come On" is one of those quick typical sing along tracks that the guys excelled at and while radio has not seen a Cheap Trick hit since "The Flame", I found "Perfect Stranger" and "If It Takes A Lifetime" would have been perfect material for the medium. The terrestrial radio world is far different from the time it regularly had Cheap Trick music showcased on it and now as a result perhaps the growing Satellite stations and cable music feeds is the best idea for this band going forward."[24]


  • Robin Zander - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Rick Nielsen - lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Tom Petersson - bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Bun E. Carlos - drums, percussion, producer

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Producer - Cheap Trick
  • Executive Producer - Bill Edwards
  • Mixer - Steve Thompson
  • Mastering - Ted Jensen
  • Recorded By - Bryan Cook
  • Recording Assistant - Kevin Churko
  • Keyboard - Kim Bullard
  • Background Vocal - Robin Taylor Zander
  • Writers of "If It Takes a Lifetime" - Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos, Julian Raymond


  1. ^ a b "Cheap Trick - If It Takes A Lifetime (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Images for Cheap Trick - RockFord". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  3. ^ The Latest. "The Latest: Cheap Trick: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  4. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 2006-07-15. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  5. ^ "pressofAtlanticCity.com - Article Archives". Nl.newsbank.com. 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Seasoned band has new bag of Tricks". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  7. ^ "Images for Cheap Trick - If It Takes A Lifetime". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  8. ^ a b Deming, Mark (2008-04-08). "The Coolest Songs in the World, Vol. 5 - Various Artists : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  9. ^ "Cheap Trick LIVE on Rockline". Trickworld.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  10. ^ YouTube (2006-09-11). "Cheap Trick - If It Takes A Lifetime". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  11. ^ YouTube (2006-09-30). "Cheap Trick - If It Takes A Lifetime". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  12. ^ YouTube (2006-09-29). "Cheap Trick Live on Imus in the Morning". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  13. ^ YouTube (2009-09-15). "Cheap Trick—If It Takes a Lifetime—Live-London ON 2007-07-27". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  14. ^ "CHEAP TRICK ; ROCKFORD BIG 3". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 2006-06-23. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  15. ^ "New Cheap Trick CD gives fans cause to celebrate". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  16. ^ Cheap Trick confidently returns to the scene
  17. ^ The-Pit.de (2006-06-23). "Cheap Trick: Rockford". The-Pit.de. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  18. ^ Friedman, Lou. "Cheap Trick: Rockford". PopMatters. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  19. ^ "Cheap Trick - Rockford". Avrev.com. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  20. ^ JED GOTTLIEB (2006-08-01). "Cheap Trick - CD Reviews". Thephoenix.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  21. ^ "Cheap Trick - Rockford". 80smetalserver.com. 2007-04-15. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  22. ^ "Cheap Trick - Rockford CD review". Concertlivewire.com. 2006-06-06. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  23. ^ "Interactive Melodic CD Reviews". MelodicRock.com. Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  24. ^ "Review: "Cheap Trick: Rockford" - Sea of Tranquility - The Web Destination for Progressive Music!". Sea of Tranquility. 2006-07-05. Retrieved 2013-03-01.