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Cheap Trick

Greatest Hits

Review by Gary Hill

This compilation from Cheap Trick is a great way to get all their popular songs in one place. Of course, for my money, the hits are really not the best material they’ve done. I think Cheap Trick at their best are a hard rock band with catchy hooks. This collection finds them too often in pure pop group mode. Still, you can’t really go wrong with Cheap Trick. There are two tracks here that were taken from the Budokan set that I’ve already reviewed. I used the track by track review from that set for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Clock Strikes Ten (Live)

This is a fiery hard rocker. It’s got a lot of old school rock and roll in the midst, some Beatles and some good hard rock. It’s a classic Cheap Trick tune.

Dream Police
To me, this is one of Cheap Trick’s best tracks. It’s got a Beatles-like string section. It pounds out with that classic hard rocking Cheap Trick sound and there’s a memorable hook. The instrumental segment is definitely in keeping with Sgt. Peppers era Beatles.
Don't Be Cruel
Here the Tricksters deliver a classic take of the song made famous by Elvis Presley. I’m not overly crazy about this, but it does have a bit of an ELO-like element to it. Of course, I should say that part of my problem with the song is probably that I don’t like the original. Nielsen puts in an especially tasty guitar solo on this piece. 
Tonight It's You
While there’s a little too much of the pop sound that permeated some of Trick’s music, this has a lot of the older Cheap Trick charm, too. It’s a good tune, despite some over pop-oriented moments. It’s got a classic power-pop feeling to parts of the piece. 
She's Tight
This is a bit of a different sound for Cheap Trick. It’s kind of Cheap Trick does the Cars. This cut is fun, but not really one of my favorites from the group. 
I Want You to Want Me (Live)
Another classic Trick song, this one seems to suffer today from being overplayed. This is a pop-rocker that feels like it is showing the scars of being a hit single.
If You Want My Love
While there’s a lot of pop music on this, this track really feels very much like the Beatles. I read an interview with John Lennon around the time of his death (I actually think it was the final Rolling Stone interview) where he was asked what he thought the Beatles would have sounded like if they had stayed together and he said Cheap Trick. Well, this song really proves that. 
Ain't That a Shame (Live)
Another hard-edged pop tune, “Ain`t That a Shame” is a cover of a Fats Domino song.
Here’s another Cheap Trick classic that really holds up well over time. “Mommy’s alright / Daddy’s alright.” It’s a pretty safe bet you’ve heard this track.  
The Flame
This was Cheap Trick’s biggest hit. I remember reading that they didn’t want to do this song, but that the producer talked them into it. For my money, they should have stuck to their guns. Sure, it was a huge hit and made them a lot of cash, but it’s really a pretty lame song and their own music is much stronger than this cut that wasn’t even written by them. Cheap Trick is a better band than this, and it’s a shame that it’s the one song some people know them by. 
I Can't Take It
This one definitely has a lot of that Beatles sound. It’s a strong cut, but not really one of my favorites from the group. 
Can't Stop Fallin' Into Love
Here we get a more stripped down pop rock ballad. It’s a good tune, but seems a bit like the Trick were trying a little too hard for a hit here.
I’ve always loved this song. It’s got a pop rock sound to it and is a balladic one, but there are some incredible textures built into this.
Magical Mystery Tour
Well, Cheap Trick covering the Beatles is an obvious choice, isn’t it? I dig Trick’s take. It’s got a lot of the Beatles built into it, but also plenty of their own style. It’s a great ride.
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