Cheap Trick is the first studio album released in 1977 by the American rock band Cheap Trick. It was their debut album for Epic Records, produced by Jack Douglas. The album did not reach the Billboard 200 chart but did "bubble under" at number 207 for one week in April 1977.
Most of the songs have a more raw sound akin to hard rock bands of the period compared to the group's later more polished power pop style, and the song lyrics deal with more extreme subject matter than later albums. For instance, "The Ballad of T.V. Violence" is about serial killer Richard Speck, "Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School" is about a pedophile, and "Oh Candy" is about a photographer friend of the band, Marshall Mintz (a.k.a. "m&m") who committed suicide.
This album, along with the following three albums, are considered by fans and critics to be Cheap Trick's best works. This one, however, is more known for capturing both their dark side and the fierceness of their early live performances more than any other studio release in their catalog.
The album was produced by Jack Douglas, who had achieved a similar sonic density with the blues-rock/hard rock band Aerosmith, and the album sounds quite different than subsequent Cheap Trick records. Jack Douglas later worked with the band on the Found All the Parts EP, on the album Standing On The Edge, as well as on a re-recorded version of "Surrender" in the late 1990s and on a few tracks on Rockford.
When Cheap Trick performed the entire debut album at Metro in Chicago on May 1, 1998, they played the album in the intended order, starting with "Elo Kiddies". This concert was recorded, and parts of it contributed to the live album Music for Hangovers.
All songs written by Rick Nielsen except where noted.
- "Hot Love" — 2:30
- "Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace" (Terry Reid) — 4:35
- "He's a Whore" — 2:43
- "Mandocello" — 4:47
- "The Ballad of T.V. Violence (I'm Not the Only Boy)" — 5:15
- "Elo Kiddies" — 3:41
- "Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School" — 4:44
- "Taxman, Mr. Thief" — 4:16
- "Cry, Cry" (Robin Zander, Nielsen, Tom Petersson) — 4:22
- "Oh, Candy" — 3:07
The original vinyl record had "Side A" printed on the label on one side and "Side 1" printed on the other, a humorous touch reflecting the band's conviction that they didn't have any "B" material, although the placement of the track listing on the jacket seemed to indicate "Hot Love" was the first track on the album. Indeed, the matrix numbers on the record show the "Hot Love" side was designated side A and the "Elo Kiddies" side as side B. When the album was released on compact disc in the mid-1980s, it followed the same sequence. However, when the album was re-issued on CD in 1998, the band's preferred sequence was used, with "Elo Kiddies" being the first track.
The 1998 reissue of Cheap Trick was released with five bonus tracks, including an early studio version of their later hit "I Want You to Want Me".
"Disco Paradise" (Never Released)
"Surrender" (Later re-recorded for their third album Heaven Tonight, outtake on Heaven Tonight reissue)
"Auf Wiedersehen" (Also later re-recorded for their third album Heaven Tonight)
"Ultramental" (Later reworked and became the title track to the album Dream Police)
1977: "Oh Candy b/w Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School"
1977: "ELO Kiddies b/w Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace" (Europe)
Robin Zander – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Rick Nielsen – lead guitar, vocals
Tom Petersson – bass guitar, vocals
Bun E. Carlos – drums
Jack Douglas - producer
Jay Messina - engineer
Sam Ginsberg - assistant engineer
- "Lovin' Money" — 4:09
- "I Want You to Want Me" — 2:43
- "Lookout" — 3:30
- "You're All Talk" (Nielsen, Petersson) — 3:31
- "I Dig Go-Go Girls" — 3:06
Big Black released a cover of "He's a Whore" as a single. The single cover was a remake in the style of the original album cover. The song was later included on the CD release of Big Black's second album, Songs About Fucking.
In the documentary End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, Johnny Ramone states that the guitar riff of "The KKK Took My Baby Away" was inspired by the riff of "He's a Whore"
The Methadones covered "He's a Whore" on 21st Century Power Pop Riot, an album of covers released in 2006. Concrete Blonde covered "Mandocello" on Still in Hollywood.