Reach Out (Cheap Trick song)

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"Reach Out"
Cheap Trick Reach Out 1981 Single Cover.jpeg
Single by Cheap Trick
from the album Heavy Metal OST
B-side "I Must Be Dreamin'"
Released August 1981
Format 7"
Genre Rock
Power Pop
Length 3:35
Label Full Moon Records
Asylum Records
Songwriter(s) Bob James
Pete Comita
Producer(s) Roy Thomas Baker
Cheap Trick singles chronology
"World's Greatest Lover"
"Reach Out"
"If You Want My Love"
"World's Greatest Lover"
"Reach Out"
"If You Want My Love"

"Reach Out" is a single by American rock band Cheap Trick, released as a single from the soundtrack album for the 1981 film Heavy Metal. It was the band's only single of the year and the second of four singles from the soundtrack.


Released on the film soundtrack in 1981, the album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart.[1] Although both the lead single "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" and third single "Working in the Coal Mine" were successful singles from the album, "Reach Out" was not a success and failed to chart on the American Billboard Hot 100.

The song was written by former Montrose vocalist Bob James and Pete Comita. The executive producer of the soundtrack album and the song was Irving Azoff, whilst the song's producer was Roy Thomas Baker.[2] Comita was the band's bassist of the time, where he had replaced Tom Petersson. He recorded five songs with the band to contribute to two movie soundtracks. "I'm the Man", "Born to Raise Hell", and "Ohm Sweet Ohm", which were produced by Jack Douglas, went to the film Rock & Rule, whilst "Reach Out" and "I Must Be Dreamin'" went to the film Heavy Metal. Comita left the band after completing the 1980-81 World Tour that promoted the "All Shook Up" album and was replaced by Jon Brant.

The song and its b-side was recorded at Cherokee Recording Studios.[2]

In a 2009 interview with guitarist Rick Nielsen, the interviewer asked if Nielsen would comment on the claim that Comita wrote the 1983 song "I Can't Take It", credited solely to lead vocalist Robin Zander. Nielsen replied "That's the first time I've heard about that. But it wasn't I Can't Take It. He did write Reach Out (And Take It) which was on the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack. But he wrote that song with a guy named Bob James. He originally told us he had written it, but we later found out, he didn’t write it (alone)."[3]

A demo version of the song has been in circulation, with lead vocals by Comita.

Despite the commercial failure of the single, the song was uploaded unofficially onto YouTube and has gained 280,000 views since June 2008.[4]


The single was released before the soundtrack album. In the Billboard Magazine issue of August 1, 1981, it was noted that some of the singles would be released on the artists' own label and others on Full Moon/Asylum. Walter Yetnikoff, president of CBS Records at the time, allowed Irving Azoff and Full Moon to release the single. The article quoted Azoff, who stated "We're putting out the Cheap Trick cut on Full Moon. Walter said "You can release it; obviously you guys would work it harder than we would because we don't have a Cheap Trick album to sell right now."[5] It turned out to be the final collaboration between Azoff and CBS as the manager felt he was being jerked around. Yetnikoff had responded "Irving doesn't pay enough to artist and record companies. I've questioned some accounting we've gotten on previous material he used."[6] In the Milwaukee Journal issue of August 12, 1981, it was noted in a review of the album that "Reach Out" was due to receive a single release via Elektra Records.[7]

The single was released in America only via Full Moon and Asylum Records. It was issued on 7" vinyl only. The main release featured "I Must Be Dreamin'" as the b-side - a song also used on the soundtrack. It was written solely by Nielsen and also produced by Baker.[2] Although the album version of the song is 5:37, the b-side version was edited down to 3:17.[8] For the artwork, the design highlighted the same drawing as on the soundtrack album. The "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" single - also released directly from the album - used the same artwork too.[9] Aside from the main release, a promotional 7" vinyl was also released in America, without artwork. The single was "For Radio Station Use Only". It featured "Reach Out" on both sides - in stereo and mono respectively.[10]

The song has not been included on any Cheap Trick compilations.


No music video was created for the single, although the song became part of the band's live set during the single's release. It was also returned to the band's live set for certain shows in 1983 and 1984.[11]

In 1981, the band appeared at ChicagoFest, where the band performed various tracks including "Reach Out". The performance was professionally filmed.[12] The band also performed the song live on the German TV show "Rockpalast" in 1983, along with numerous other tracks. This appearance has since been uploaded onto YouTube.[13]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "Reach Out" - 3:35
  2. "I Must Be Dreamin'" - 3:17
7" Single (American promo)
  1. "Reach Out (Stereo)" - 3:35
  2. "Reach Out (Mono)" - 3:35

Critical reception[edit]

Bret Adams of Allmusic spoke of the song in a review of the Heavy Metal soundtrack album, noting "Cheap Trick's "Reach Out" and "I Must Be Dreamin'" rely more on synthesizers than power-pop guitars."[14]

The Milwaukee Journal issue of August 12, 1981, reviewed the soundtrack album, where writer Divina Infusio stated, "But the real treat of the LP is one of the two Cheap Trick cuts, "Reach Out," penned, in part, by the group's new bass player as of a year ago, Pete Comita. Cheap Trick hasn't done anything this good in a long time."[7]

In the Beacon Journal issue of October 25, 2001, an article based on a cancelled Devo, Wire and Buzzcocks show at the Highland Theatre allowed the author to speak about the soundtrack and "Reach Out", where he stated "...the last Cheap Trick I actually liked (Reach Out)."[15]


  • Robin Zander - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Rick Nielsen - lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Pete Comita - bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Bun E. Carlos - drums, percussion

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Producer – Roy Thomas Baker
  • Engineer – Ian Taylor
  • Mastering - Bernie Grundman
  • Executive Producer (soundtrack album) - Irving Azoff
  • Front Cover Illustration - Chris Achilleos
  • Writers of "Reach Out" - Robert James, Pete Comita
  • Writers of "I Must Be Dreamin'" - Rick Nielsen


  1. ^ "Heavy Metal - Original Soundtrack : Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b c "Various - Heavy Metal - Music From The Motion Picture (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  3. ^ Joe Matera. "Cheap Trick: 'Usually The Song Will Dictate What We Do With It' | Interviews @". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  4. ^ YouTube (2008-06-14). "HEAVY METAL-Cheap Trick-Reach Out". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  5. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". 1981-08-01. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  6. ^ "Risky Business: Rock in Film - R. Serge Denisoff, William D. Romanowski - Google Books". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  7. ^ a b [1]
  8. ^ "Cheap Trick - Reach Out / I Must Be Dreamin' (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  9. ^ "Don Felder - Heavy Metal (Takin' A Ride) / All Of You - Full Moon / Asylum - USA - E-47175". 45cat. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  10. ^ "Cheap Trick - Reach Out (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  11. ^ "Reach Out by Cheap Trick Song Statistics". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  12. ^ YouTube (2009-06-22). "Reach Out - Cheap Trick - Chicagofest '81". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  13. ^ YouTube (1979-07-04). "Reach Out - Cheap Trick - Live Rockpalast 1983". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  14. ^ Adams, Bret. "Heavy Metal - Original Soundtrack : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-04.