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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Songs from '78: "I Want You To Want Me" and "Surrender"

I'm cheating here (not for the first time, nor for the last). As much as possible, I'm focusing on just one single, memorable pop and rock track each from artists who released albums that got stuck in my head in 1978. But my memory of what I heard on the radio 40 years ago isn't perfect, sometimes mixing up dates, or sticking something that I learned later back into a context that it was, actually, historically, absent from. That latter circumstance is the case here.

Am I saying I didn't know the music of Cheap Trick? Heaven forbid; they were all over rock radio--I couldn't have avoided them if I wanted to. The thing is, though, it wasn't until years later--specifically with their ballad "The Flame," which for complicated reasons I found myself listening to over and over again late at night in my missionary apartment in the winter of 1988-1989 on my Walkman cassette player with my securely earphones on--that I somehow suddenly put it together: "oh, hey, so THEY were the Live in Budokan guys!" Since I was in South Korea at the time--not that far away!--somehow the realization made my old memories all the more memorable. And so, the association in my head with Cheap Trick's triumph in Japan with my early listening in 1978 was made.

It's not entirely wrong, to be sure. Cheap Trick did record their tremendous live album at Budokan on two nights, April 28th and 30th, in 1978 (though it wasn't released in the U.S. until early the following year). And "I Want You To Want Me," a successful single they'd released the previous year from their second studio album, In Color,  really was completely eclipsed in American radio (and my head!), by the live version they eventually released as well. So maybe my mental reconstruction of when I heard what and in which order isn't perfect...but this bit of blistering, jamming power pop pretty much is, and that's all that really matters.

And while it was never released as a single, the live version of "Surrender," the studio version of which came out as a single in June of 1978, was pretty awesome as well.

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