Cheap Trick Songs Ranked

Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1973. The band’s classic lineup consisted of frontman Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson, and drummer Bun E. Carlos. Cheap Trick released its debut album, Cheap Trick, in 1977 and found success in Japan with the release of its second album, In Color, later that year. The band would achieve mainstream popularity in the United States in 1979 with its breakthrough album Cheap Trick at Budokan. Cheap Trick reached the Top 10 in the U.S. charts in 1979 with the Budokan live version of “I Want You to Want Me” and topped the charts in 1988 with “The Flame”.Cheap Trick has performed live more than 3,700 times and has sold more than 20 million albums. Over the course of its career, Cheap Trick has experienced several resurgences of popularity. Cheap Trick was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Here are all Cheap Trick songs ranked.

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20. Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School (Cheap Trick, 1977)

“Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School is a song about pedophilia, and The Ballad of T.V. Violence is about domestic abuse. Cheap Trick displays genuine pop songcraft talent as well as interesting themes.”

19. Cry, Cry (Cheap Trick, 1977)

“There’s a lot of great songs on here, but I can’t say every song is memorable or works well. Hot Love feels a little like a throwaway, lots of energy lacking the substance to back it up. Cry, Cry sees them try something a little different, and I don’t hate it (or any song on this album), but it’s usually a skip for me.”

18. Gonna Raise Hell (Dream Police, 1979)

“Another enjoyable cheap trick album, loads of energy whether they are rocking out ‘gonna raise hell’ ‘writing on the wall’ or delivering power pop gems like ‘way of the world’ and the title track. ‘voices’ is a nice George Harrison style ballad.”

17. Day Tripper (Sex, America, Cheap Trick, 2001)

“Lots of cool tunes, missing a few hits but all the radio hits that anybody would remember are right here on this disc but Cheap Trick was never just about greatest hits and if you want the real deal check out the albums.”

See more: Cheap Trick Albums Ranked

16. E.L.O. Kiddies (Cheap Trick, 1977)

“Written by zany guitarist Rick Nielsen, “Elo Kiddies” opens via a big drum intro from the tie-wearing Bun E. Carlos. Robin Zander’s expressive vocals accent the school’s-for-fools track, that comes off sounding like a vibrant cross between the legendary Alice Cooper and the child-abusing Gary Glitter. Zander utilizes dramatic voice changes to accentuate the three-minute-plus “Elo Kiddies”.

15. Southern Girls (In Color, 1977)

“Southern Girls” is amazing, one of my favorite songs ever. It’s got that anthemic chorus that conveys longing but not in the overbearing sense, that plinky piano, the fact that possibly the most rudimentary and basic beat you could ever play on the drums drives this song and drives it well (ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bun E. Carlos!), it’s all there and it just works. This and “September Gurls” by Big Star co-top my “’70s power pop songs that have the word “girls” in their title” power rankings (not a real list… yet).”

14. Mighty Wings (Top Gun, 1986)

“I miss hearing this song on the radio when I was a kid. 20 years later all I had was a melody that I vaguely remembered, until one day a friend of mine turns on the “Top Gun” CD she has. Oh my gosh, this is that song! I love this song! I didn’t know it was on this movie, they never really play it on the movie. Sometimes you never know how a song from your childhood will come back to find you”

13. Don’t Be Cruel (Lap of Luxury, 1988)

“I’m pulled in two directions by this cover version. It’s over-produced, with the weird “bops” sounding almost glued into place. This should’ve been a band-breezing-through-a-favorite, not a sterile exercise. But I still like listening to it, for reasons I’m not clear on.”

12. On Top of the World (Heaven Tonight, 1978)

“This recording is a great look at Cheap Trick in their glory days. It’s no wonder this band filled arenas in their prime. They are still this good but unfortunately have been underrated and overlooked by many of today’s fans. This is a great addition to any Cheap Trick’s fan’s collection.

11. Hello There (In Color, 1977)

“One of the great and underappreciated records from the 70’s. There is not a bad song on this album. Great writing, great playing, great production. Unlike many records from the era, this just gets better with time.”

10. The House is Rockin’ (With Domestic Problems) (Dream Police, 1979)

“Surprisingly mellow new wave-y pop from a band that was generally considered part of the rock and roll crew. I have to be in the mood for it, but when I am, it’s a nice sounding tune.”

9. Ain’t That a Shame (Cheap Trick at Budokan, 1978)

“A fun pointless throwaway. They don’t so much cover the song as agree to use it as a very skeletal framework, so they know when to change keys and start another guitar solo. And taken solely as that, it’s quite good.”

8. Clock Strikes Ten (In Color, 1977)

“Banged out with a frenzied power pop groove following the Big Ben chiming intro, the crazy-for-some-action-tonight “Clock Strikes Ten” packs an urgent rush of adrenalin. The three-minute Rick Nielsen penned party track was pulled from the Tom Werman produced In Color LP, for single release in Japan, with “So Good to See You” holding down the B-side. Issued in 1977, the “Clock Strikes Ten” single topped the Japanese chart, where Cheap Trick could do absolutely no wrong.”

7. Voices (Dream Police, 1979)

“It’s simply melodious, sweet and beautiful. Makes you swoon over it. You’ll fall in love with this piece of amazing. I love everyone in this bar!”

See more: At Budokan: The Complete Concert (Cheap Trick Album) Live

6. If You Want My Love (Cheap Trick, 1977)

“The lyrics are pretty mundane, but it’s all about the performance here. The song sort of demands you sing along, with its reaching-ever-higher pre-chorus and the killer “ooo” at the end of each chorus. The guitar-and-wordless-vocal solo works great, too. It sounds maybe a tad overproduced – the gloss is nearly blinding – but in a way, that’s pretty impressive as well.

5. He’s a Whore (Cheap Trick, 1977)

“One of the best rock tunes of all time. Cheap Trick in all their driving, passionate glory. A must-have for me! This is brilliant. Every home should have one. Best pop rock band ever.

4. Dream Police (Dream Police, 1979)

“This song is just magnificent. It has this amazing change of atmosphere – from totally positive to darker, almost haunting… Great song.”

3. The Flame (Lap of Luxury, 1988)

“This is clearly the Cheap Trick’s number one song, how can it be in number two. The lyric and the tune of this song is too good. I can’t even count how many times I played this within the two months since I first heard this song. Absolutely brilliant!”

2. I Want You to Want Me (In Color, 1977)

“This is clearly cheap tricks best song! It is insanely catchy and simple. Most people don’t understand that even simple beats are hard to come up with especially ones like I want you to want me.”

1. Surrender (Heaven Tonight, 1978)

“Cheap Trick excelled at writing and recording power-infused pop rock songs. “Surrender” defines Cheap Trick at their pinnacle. While the boys rip with a tight arrangement throughout this ’70s classic, about the coolest parents on the scene, Robin Zander’s vocals are the perfect compliment to the music.”