Tuesday, May 14, 2013

heaven tonight

Cheap Trick gave themselves away and hit the trifecta with the slick and psychotic power pop of this fierce and funny hyperactive hard rock hullabaloo.   After the critical success of their eponymous debut and its polished follow-up 'In Color' the band combined the sound of both of those albums for their third album.  'Heaven Tonight' was produced by Tom Werman at Record Plant and Sound City Studios, Los Angeles, California with Robin Zander on lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Rick Nielsen on lead guitar and backing vocals; Tom Petersson on twelve string electric bass and backing vocals; Bun E. Carlos on drums; with Jai Winding on keyboards.  

Zander recalls the whirlwind that was going on at the time:   "We accumulated a lot of debt. Even after 'Budokan' was successful, we didn’t see the money for a couple years. On top of that, we sued our record company...And we lost the lawsuit because of the laws back then. We were suing over royalties, and spent another million fighting that. I remember sitting in the lawyer’s office during a deposition with my Chicago lawyer with a stogie in his mouth, and they have seven lawyers! One of them just won the Von Bulow case! I was thinking, “Oohhh, great.”  It took us a while to get on our feet, but eventually we did, and you’re right. It’s sort of a strange feeling looking out into an audience of 50,000 people thinking, 'Why am I broke?'...I think it was pre-'Budokan' or leading up to 'Budokan' that really did it for us. It was probably during the 'Heaven Tonight' album. We went on a world tour that lasted two years, and in those days you made two records a year...January ‘77 our first record came out and in the fall of ‘77 our second record came out...And in ’78, 'Heaven Tonight' came out, and we were recording 'Dream Police'...What happened was, during that period we toured with AC/DC and at that point both bands were fairly unknown. They knew who we were in the Midwest, and they knew who AC/DC was in Australia, but the rest of the world didn’t know about either band yet, so we toured for about a year and a half."

'Heaven Tonight' rose to number eighty-four in Australia, forty-eight in the US, and number eleven in Japan.  


Carlos reveals:  "We had that track back in 1975. We used to rehearse in the basement of Rick's dad's music shop on Seventh Avenue in Rockford, Illinois. As soon as I heard it, I thought it was a really interesting lyric."
Nielsen says:  "I used to hear my friends saying they thought their parents were strange. The first thing I got was the opening of the chorus: 'Mommy's all right, daddy's all right.' It just rolled off at one sitting. Those opening lines, 'Mother told me, yes, she told me I 'd meet girls like you.' that 's advice to the lovelorn, and obviously inspired by the old Shirelles hit 'Mama said that there'd be days like this.' It 's a good way to start a song, if you can make it go with a chord progression."

The single went to seventy-nine in Canada, sixty-two in US, and thirty-two in Australia. 

Mother told me, yes she told me
I'd meet girls like you
She also told me stay away
You'll never know what you'll catch
Just the other day I heard
Of a soldier's falling off
Some Indonesian junk
That's going 'round
Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright
They just seem a little weird
Surrender, surrender
But don't give yourself away
Father says your mother's right
She's really up on things
Before we married Mommy served
On the WACs in the Philippines
Now I had heard the WACs recruited
Old maids for the war
But Mommy isn't one of those
I've known her all these years
Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright
They just seem a little weird
Surrender, surrender
But don't give yourself away
Whatever happened to all this season's
Losers of the year
Every time I got to thinking
Where'd they disappear
Then I woke up, Mom and Dad
Are rolling on the couch
Rolling numbers, rock and rolling
Got my Kiss records out
Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright
They just seem a little weird
Surrender, surrender
But don't give yourself away

'Heaven Tonight' 

full album:

All songs written by Rick Nielsen, except where noted.

Side one
"Surrender" – 4:16
"On Top of the World" – 4:01
"California Man" (Roy Wood) – 3:44
"High Roller" (Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Robin Zander) – 3:58
"Auf Wiedersehen" (Nielsen, Petersson) – 3:42
Side two[edit]
"Takin' Me Back" – 4:52
"On the Radio" – 4:33
"Heaven Tonight" (Nielsen, Petersson) – 5:25
"Stiff Competition" – 3:40
"How Are You" (Nielsen, Petersson) – 4:21
"Oh Claire" (Bun E. Carlos, Nielsen, Petersson, Zander) – 1:10 (not listed on LP label or album cover)

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