Cheap Trick at Budokan: Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums

Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :

Artist : Cheap Trick
Album : Cheap Trick At Budokan
Released : October 6, 1978 (Japan)
February 26, 1979 (America)
Metal Mofo Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Greatest Live Albums Ever Made in ANY Genre Of Music ! )

Simply stated one of America’s greatest ever Rock And Roll bands is Cheap Trick. In the late 1970s along with Van Halen they kept Rock And Roll alive at one of the worst times for the genre. At a time where Punk and Disco ruled the world Cheap Trick stuck to their guns releasing and recording some of the greatest hard rock music of all time. They were so respected that even the Punk bands like The Ramones were fans. Having the intensity of what Punk was, along with the melody, and musicianship that made Rock And Roll music famous, along with their first four studio albums that are as strong as ANYONE’S greatest work it shouldn’t be a surprise that the band was finally inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year, (long, long overdue).

The band’s look has always been unique. Having two members that look like the typical Rock Star, Lead Singer/Rhythm Guitar player Robin Zander, and Bass Player Tom Petersson (usually on the front of their album covers). To the two members who look nothing like Rock Stars, Lead Guitar player Rick Nielsen, and Drummer Bun E. Carlos (usually on the back of the album covers.) When these four individuals get on stage together they truly become one. Led by the incredible songwriting of guitar player Nielsen, the band was originally discovered in a bowling alley by legendary producer Jack Douglas. Not that it was an easy road to success. Their first three studio records (all classics now) didn’t get the response in America needed to introduce them to a wider audience. Japan though was the exception.

Cheap Trick had become so successful in Japan, not that they felt that way though. They were not only in debt to their record company, but broke themselves. The band decided to hopefully make some money by recording their upcoming shows at the Nippon Budokan in April Of 1978. 12,000 frantic fans got to witness one of the greatest live bands in the world in all their glory. When the live album came out later in the year in Japan it was an absolute smash. Never intended to be released in America, with the exception of a few thousand import copies the reputation of how great the record was got around, and finally Epic Records had no choice but to release it.

Just like live albums by bands like KISS, Peter Frampton, and Bob Seger just a few years earlier, this would be another incredible live record that would turn a band into superstars. Becoming a top five album in 1979, it would go on to influence many of the Heavy Metal/Hard Rock bands of the 1980s, even the alternative bands of the 1990s. John Lennon in 1980 was so impressed not only with Cheap Trick, but their sound. He would have Rick And Bun E. play on some sessions for his comeback album Double Fantasy, and also have their producer Jack Douglas do the same for his album too. The only complaint at the time it was released was the fact it was only a single album. Later the rest of the show was released as “Budokan II”, which was also successful. Today though you can now get the entire show on the deluxe compact version. It’s rare that a band with talent is not only recorded as they’re peaking, but still have that hunger for success too. That’s exactly what Cheap Trick At Bodokan is ! An album made to test the power of your speakers. Once in awhile the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame gets it right. With Cheap Trick they did. Truth is they should’ve been in years ago. Better late than never I guess.



All songs by Rick Nielsen, except where noted

Side one
“Hello There” – 2:27
“Come On, Come On” – 3:03
“Lookout” – 3:15
“Big Eyes” – 3:47
“Need Your Love” (Nielsen, Tom Petersson) – 9:07

Side two
“Ain’t That a Shame” (Antoine Domino, Dave Bartholomew) – 5:10
“I Want You to Want Me” – 3:38
“Surrender” – 4:40
“Goodnight Now” – 2:42
“Clock Strikes Ten” – 4:11

Jesse Vejar

Jesse Vejar

Executive Editor - From Tucson, Arizona. Electrical Engineer/Music Historian. Lover of all genres of music. Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers. Fav Metal Bands, Priest, Maiden.
Jesse Vejar