1973 in Rockford, IL
Cheap Trick started out as Fuse, a late-60s band shaped by Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson. After their debut record didn’t receive much attention, the band headed to Philadelphia, changing their name to Sick Man of Europe. They toured Europe in 1972, and returned to Illinois the following year. When they returned, Nielsen and Petersson changed their name to Cheap Trick. They changed the lineup of the band as well, adding drummer Bun E. Carlos and vocalist Randy "Xeno" Hogan. Hogan didn’t last long, however; He was let go the next year and vocalist Robin Zander joined the group. Cheap Trick then began touring excessively, playing more than 200 concerts a year. They opened for such top acts as the Kinks, AC/DC, Queen, Kiss and Santana. In 1976, Cheap Trick signed with Epic Records. They then released their self-titled debut the following year. Although album sales were high in America, it never found it’s way to the charts. In Japan, however, the group was hugely successful, as the album went gold immediately upon release. Later that year, they released their second album, In Color. And, while this time the album did find some success on the American charts, it went gold for the second time in Japan, upon release. The band’s concerts sold out consistently as they toured Japan, and they packed the Budokan Arena to record their third album, Heaven Tonight. This album was to be their commercial breakthrough in the United States. While the iron was still hot, they released their fourth album, entitled Dream Police. It broke the top ten, as did Budokan, selling over a million copies. In 1980, they released Found All the Parts, which was an album of tracks previously recorded and scrapped. Next, they released All Shook Up, which went to the top twenty of the album charts, but failed to produce any top singles. Petersson left the group following the recording of this album, and was replaced by Jon Brant. The next album, titled One to One, was released in 1982, and would eventually go platinum. The following three albums, however, showed the tale-tell signs of a band that had seen their finest days and were now on the downhill slide of their career. Next Position Please, Standing on the Edge, and The Doctor all spent short times on the charts, and didn’t produce any singles. In 1988, Petersson rejoined the band, and the result (with the help of many professional songwriters) was Lap of Luxury, which went platinum. The band’s next album, titled Busted, didn’t do very well, and the band seemed drained. In 1994, Cheap Trick signed with Warner Brothers, and released Woke Up with a Monster, which was another commerical bomb. Desperate to cash in on the nostalgia circuit, they released Budokan II, which was compiled from the same tapes that the original Budokan had been made from. Almost too much to take, it was a sad reminder of what the band had been. In 1995, Trick left Warner Brothers and began touring with a host of new bands that had been influenced by their old stuff. They opened for the Smashing Pumpkins and played in the Lollapalooza tour in 1996. They released a box set entitled Sex America Cheap Trick, and they signed with a new label, Red Ant/Alliance. Their debut album for the label, again self-titled Cheap Trick, was doing very well, and the band was looking forward to a comeback. Red Ant/Alliance claimed bankruptcy just a few weeks after the album’s release, however, and smashed their chances for a real comeback. In 1999, the band released a live album called Music for Hangovers on their own label, Cheap Trick Unlimited. Since then, the band has authorized a greatest hits collection, and other projects are on the way.