Robin Zander

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Robin Zander
Cheap Trick at Gulfstream Park - Robin Zander.jpg
Zander performing in Hallandale Beach, Florida, 2006
Background information
Born (1953-01-23) January 23, 1953 (age 65)
Beloit, Wisconsin, United States
GenresRock, power pop, hard rock, southern rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1973–present
Associated actsCheap Trick
Zander performing live at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida – January 31, 2014

Robin Zander (born January 23, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter and musician, best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band Cheap Trick.

Early life & career[edit]

Zander was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, and grew up in nearby Loves Park, Illinois. He learned to play guitar by the age of 12, and appearing in high school productions like Annie Get Your Gun helped him to develop his stage presence. His early bands included The Destinations, Butterscotch Sundae and The Hoods, covering songs by bands such as The Animals, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In high school, Zander sang for three years in the Madrigals, the most demanding of the three choral groups at his school, played basketball and football, and had a part-time job at a sandwich shop.

In the early 1970s, Zander teamed up with Brian Beebe to form a duo called Zander and Kent. They secured a three-summer residency contract at the Picadilly Club in Wisconsin Dells, a contract which caused Zander to turn down an invitation in 1973 to join the earliest incarnation of Cheap Trick. The lead singer role was then offered to Randy Hogan, but he left in the fall of 1974, which neatly coincided with Zander's Dells contract expiring in September of that year. In 1974, Zander accepted the second invitation to join Cheap Trick,[1] and the classic line-up of Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos was in place.

Cheap Trick's 1979 album, Cheap Trick at Budokan, catapulted the band to stardom.[2] The band reached the Top 10 in the U.S. charts in 1979 with I Want You to Want Me and topped the charts in 1988 with The Flame.[3] Cheap Trick has performed more than 5,000 shows,[4] and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.[5]


Known for his "pin-up good looks",[6] Zander's singing has been described as "jaw-dropping" and "supremely virtuosic".[7] In a 2014 piece titled "Unsung Heroes: The 10 Most Underrated Classic Rock Singers", Dan Tucker of described Zander as having "range, style and attitude."[8]

Zander's vocal style has influenced many other rock singers from 1980s hard rockers such as Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe, Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses, Bret Michaels of Poison, and Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1990's punk revivalists, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, to alternative icons Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.[9][10][11][12]

The May 2009 issue of Classic Rock magazine published a list of the 50 Greatest Singers in Rock. Zander was voted #23 on the list by readers, Classic Rock critics and a number of singers.[13]

Work with other artists[edit]

Alongside the likes of Steven Tyler, Billy Gibbons, Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Stevens and Glenn Hughes, Zander was part of the all-star Kings of Chaos line-up that played shows in South Africa during December 2014 and in the USA during the first half of 2015.

Zander has appeared as a guest on albums by artists such as Mötley Crüe, The Posies, Foreigner, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, and he has contributed vocals to tribute albums such as The Art of McCartney, Stone Cold Queen: A Tribute, Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Mötley Crüe alongside country singer Cassadee Pope and Sin-Atra.

On September 30, 2016, Los Angeles rock band Steel Panther released a cover version of Cheap Trick song "She's Tight" (from Cheap Trick's 1982 album One On One), which features Robin singing and appearing in the music video.[14]

Solo projects[edit]

March 4, 1983, saw An Evening with Robin Zander held at Rockford's Midway Theater. This solo show included choir and orchestra conducted by Ralph Nielsen, with Zander singing a variety of English ballads, classical pieces, contemporary classics and Cheap Trick songs.[9]

Zander released the solo album Robin Zander in 1993. A second solo album, Countryside Blvd, was finally released online in April 2011 but was withdrawn from online music outlets within hours of being available.[15]

In January 2013, Zander formed The Robin Zander Band with drummer and longtime friend Steve Luongo. The band also includes Mark Hitt on guitar and Larry Hobbs on bass. The band plays occasional shows nationally in the USA when Cheap Trick is off the road.

On September 26, 2014, Robin reunited with old musical partner Brian Beebe for a show at Monk's in the Wisconsin Dells; Robin's son, Robin Taylor Zander, also participated.

Personal life[edit]

Zander performing in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2008

Zander lives in Safety Harbor, Florida[16][17] with his wife, former Playboy Playmate Pamela Stein.[18] Zander and Stein have a son, Robin Taylor Zander, and a daughter, Robin-Sailor Zander;[19] both are singer-songwriters.[20] Zander and his first wife, Karen, had two children: Ian Zander and Holland Zander; Ian and Holland are musicians as well.[21]




  1. ^
  2. ^ "Cheap Trick – At Budokan (album)". Retrieved 2007-11-10.
  3. ^
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  9. ^ a b Robin Zander Bio | Robin Zander Career | MTV
  10. ^ Q and A: Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick | Dallas Observer
  11. ^ Cheap Trick singer talks longevity, lawsuits, and lipo before acoustic show
  12. ^ Robin Zander | Biography & History | AllMusic
  13. ^ Classic Rock May09 – 50 Greatest Singers – Glenn Hughes Fan Forum
  14. ^ "Steel Panther release She's Tight video". Loudwire. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  15. ^ Turned On Its Ear: Robin Zander and the Case of the Magically Disappearing Solo Album
  16. ^ "Daddy's all right: Cheap Trick's Robin Zander to play concert with son and daughter this Saturday". September 6, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  17. ^ Cridlin, Jay (April 6, 2016). "Cheap Trick's Robin Zander celebrates Safety Harbor, Hall of Fame induction". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  18. ^ Greene, Andy (April 8, 2016). "Inside Cheap Trick's Unlikely Renaissance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "Daddy's all right: Cheap Trick's Robin Zander to play concert with son and daughter this Saturday". September 6, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  20. ^ Cridlin, Jay (April 6, 2016). "Cheap Trick's Robin Zander celebrates Safety Harbor, Hall of Fame induction". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  21. ^ Leaf, Brian (April 10, 2016). "Cheap Trick: Several bandmates' kids pursuing the family business". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  • Reputation is a Fragile Thing by Mike Hayes with Ken Sharp (published by Poptastic, 1998)

External links[edit]