Up the Creek (song)

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"Up the Creek"
Cheap Trick Up the Creek 1984 Single.jpg
Single by Cheap Trick
from the album Up the Creek soundtrack
B-side"Up the Creek (Acappella Intro)"
Power Pop
Length3:03 (single)
3:58 (album)
LabelEpic Records
Songwriter(s)Rick Nielsen
Randy Bishop
Producer(s)Spencer Proffer
Cheap Trick singles chronology
"Spring Break"
"Up the Creek"
"Tonight It's You"
"Spring Break"
"Up the Creek"
"Tonight It's You"

"Up the Creek" is a non-album single by American rock band Cheap Trick, released as the title track for the 1984 film Up the Creek, appearing on the film's soundtrack release as the first/opening track.[1] The song was written by Rick Nielsen and musician/songwriter Randy Bishop. Bishop also wrote/co-wrote a lot of the soundtrack's material, including "Chasin' The Sky" by The Beach Boys, "The Heat" by Heart and "One Track Heart (Passion In The Dark)" by Danny Spanos.[2]

The single was released on 7" and 12" vinyl in the United States, along with promotional 7" and 12" vinyls.[3] The single version lasted a duration of 3:03[4] whilst the soundtrack version lasted 3:58 in length.[1] The single and soundtrack album was released via the record label Pasha, owned by producer Spencer Proffer.[5] On all versions of the single, Nielsen's name was incorrectly titled "P. Nielsen".[3]

The B-side "Up the Creek (Acappella Intro)" added an Acappella introduction to the track, lasting a duration of 3:48. This version remains available on vinyl only to date.[4]

The song was produced by American producer Spencer Proffer, known for his wide range of production work with bands like Quiet Riot.[6]

The single's 7" vinyl cover is a similar photo used for the band's 1983 album "Next Position Please", taken from the same photo shoot.[7][8]


Following the soundtrack single release "Spring Break" from the 1983 film Spring Break, the band released another soundtrack single for the 1984 film "Up the Creek".[9][10]

While a music video was created, the band only rarely performed the song live in 1984 (including a performance at The Palace in Hollywood). The song has never appeared on any compilation or Cheap Trick release since.

The song and soundtrack was a commercial failure, although the single managed to peak at #36 on the American Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts, but only for a total of two weeks.

In an interview with drummer Bun E. Carlos, he was asked why the song had never been included in a Cheap Trick release aside from the original single, to which Carlos replied "'Cause it sucks."[11]

In a 1997 interview with Rick Nielsen by John Krewson, the song was mentioned to Nielsen, who replied "Now that was a bad song! I co-wrote that... No, wait, let's see... I can't remember. Maybe I actually wrote that whole thing. Man! I must've been high. That was one of the worst songs - put it this way, it was one of the worst movies that's ever been out. Song-wise, it fit right in with the movie."[12]

Music video[edit]

A music video, based on the film and featuring the band, was released to promote the single, directed by Dominic Orlando. It was filmed in Los Angeles.[13] The video used the Acappella introduction for the song.[14]

The video highlights a comedic theme, with the first sequence showing Nielsen fishing in a bathtub, attempting to catch a girl. The next sequence shows the band sitting in a bathtub, using it to float along the river, with Nielsen using a guitar as a paddle. The final sequence shows the previous sequence as a dream, with Nielsen being pulled down the plug of his bathtub, shortly performing part of the song with the band after, with a soaked foam guitar. The ending shows part of the house Nielsen's in collapse, due to the large amount of overflowing water.[14]

Three versions of the video were produced, one with bikini-clad women, the second topless, and the third with full nudity, frontal and rear. The third version was shown on the Playboy Channel and featured in Playboy magazine.[citation needed]

In the 1997 interview by John Krewson, Nielsen mentioned the music video, "Our video was the worst video we've ever done. We've done some bad, bad ones, but that took the cake. The worst..."[12]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "Up the Creek" - 3:03
  2. "Up the Creek (Acappella Intro)" - 3:48
7" Single (American promo)
  1. "Up the Creek" - 3:03
  2. "Up the Creek (Acappella Intro)" - 3:48
12" Single
  1. "Up the Creek" - 3:03
  2. "Up the Creek (Acappella Intro)" - 3:48
12" Single (American promo)
  1. "Up the Creek" - 3:03
  2. "Up the Creek (Acappella Intro)" - 3:48

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic.com spoke of the song in a review of the film's soundtrack, writing "Like Cheap Trick's ridiculous theme song: even these distinguished junk dealers abandoned this piece. (When inquired as to why "Up the Creek" has never graced any legit Trick collection, archivist and drummer Bun E. Carlos ponderously replied, "'Cause it sucks.") This version does not have the a cappella opening only available in promo format, but you do get the "Freeway Jam" finale, a spirited vocal and an aural reminder of a stupefying movie tie-in video (Trick going down the bathtub drain)."[11]

Upon the original release of the Up the Creek film, The Morning Call (Lehigh Valley's Newspaper) reviewed the film and mentioned the song, stating "Up the Creek" has an awful title song performed by the rock band Cheap Trick and several other pop/rock songs which are mixed at too low a volume under the dialogue to be heard."[15]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart 36


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

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Producer on "Up the Creek" - Spencer Proffer for Pasha
  • Arrangers on "Up the Creek" - Cheap Trick, Spencer Proffer
  • Writers of "Up the Creek" - Rick Nielsen, Randy Bishop


  1. ^ a b "Various - Up The Creek - Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  2. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088333/soundtrack
  3. ^ a b "The Official Kick Axe Fan Site-Up The Creek". Kickaxe.wz.cz. 2001-05-27. Archived from the original on 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  4. ^ a b "Cheap Trick - Up The Creek (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  5. ^ "Spencer Proffer-Biography". Morlingmanor.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  6. ^ "Company Bios : Spencer Proffer". Meteor 17. 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  7. ^ "Up the Creek by Cheap Trick : Reviews and Ratings". Rate Your Music. 2006-02-03. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  8. ^ "Cheap Trick - Next Position Please (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  9. ^ "Cheap Trick Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  10. ^ "Albums by Cheap Trick". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  11. ^ a b Stone, Doug. "Up the Creek - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  12. ^ a b Krewson, John (1997-03-12). "Cheap Trick | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  13. ^ "Robin Zander From Cheap Trick Filming A Video To The Song… News Photo | Getty Images Ireland | 90418977". Gettyimages.ie. 1984-01-01. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  14. ^ a b "Cheap Trick - Up The Creek video". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  15. ^ PAUL WILLISTEIN (1984-05-19). "Up The Creek' Without A Cinematic Paddle Movie Review". Morning Call. Retrieved 2012-12-12.