NEW YORK, Oct 1 /PRNewswire/ — The history of rock and roll is fraught with more than its share of unforeseen circumstances. But none so unforeseen as those in the life of Cheap Trick – Rick Nielsen (guitar), Robin Zander (vocals and guitar), Bun E. Carlos (drums), and Tom Petersson (bass). During 1978-79, they jumped from being the biggest band ever to emerge from Rockford, Illinois, to becoming platinum-selling headliners on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Chalk it up to Japan, the most unpredictable rock nation on the face of the earth, who held Cheap Trick so close to their hearts that the band’s record company there decided to reward the fans with a live concert album, a souvenir of the band’s incredible two-night stand at the country’s most revered sports stadium in 1978.
The album turned into a tsunami whose impact catalyzed America, then engulfed the world – and now is celebrated three decades later with a four-disc (DVD + 3 CD) package, Budokan! 30th Anniversary Edition, that brings the sight and sound together for the first time. The set will arrive in stores November 11th through Epic/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. Separately on October 28th, a new 12-inch vinyl LP of the Live at Budokan original 10-song album will be issued on 180 gram audiophile pressing.
This deluxe package is highlighted by the premiere commercial DVD release of a video recording of the second concert, a one hour 15-song program that was broadcast only once on Japanese television 30 years ago. The stunning DVD artifact features a new stereo mix and 5.1 Surround Sound by original 1978 producer Jack Douglas and engineer Jay Messina. At last, Cheap Trick fans can actually see and feel the moment come to life when – for the first time in history – lead singer Robin Zander exhorts the Japanese audience, “I Want YOU… to Want…ME!”
The DVD is complemented by the bonus documentary feature, “Looking Back,” a new conversation with the band about their original Budokan experience. In addition, there is video of one more song from 1978 (“Come On, Come On”) and two songs from Cheap Trick’s 30th anniversary return concert at Budokan in April 2008 (“Voices” and “If You Want My Love”)
The four-disc package goes on to include (on disc two) a CD that replicates the audio of the DVD in its full 19-song length, also produced by Jack Douglas and Jay Messina. Discs three and four represent the previous 20th anniversary (1998) double-CD Live at Budokan (culled from multiple night’s concerts, as was the original 1978 LP), beautifully remastered in 2008 to sound better than ever, produced by Cheap Trick and Bruce Dickinson.
“The album was never supposed to come out in America but thankfully it did,” Nielsen tells Ken Sharp in the Budokan! liner notes, “Budokan turned out to be the record that broke us in America.” Power pop historian Sharp is the co-author with Mike Hayes of Reputation Is a Fragile Thing: The Story of Cheap Trick (Poptastic!, 1998); Sharp also provided liner notes for 2006’s Epic/Legacy expanded edition reissues of Cheap Trick’s Dream Police (1979) and All Shook Up (1980).
Another crucial Cheap Trick link is Bruce Dickinson, who has served as Legacy’s reissue producer for the band’s catalog since 1996’s Sex, America, Cheap Trick four-CD box set. “The discovery of the actual Japanese TV show footage was a real find and putting the recordings back together with the band’s original production team of Jack Douglas and Jay Messina was a natural,” said Dickinson. “Actually seeing this iconic rock and roll moment in time adds a real thrill factor. The 5.1 option even puts the listener virtually in the audience”.
The November 11th release of Budokan! follows – by just over six months – Cheap Trick’s anniversary performance of the album back at Budokan on April 24, 2008. (Ironically, this nearly mirrors the original timetable of the Budokan performances on April 28 and 30, 1978 – which became the classic LP for the Japanese market released October 1978.)
In a sense, rock and roll has been celebrating Live at Budokan non-stop since the day that the first Japanese import LP arrived in America, October 1978. By all rights, it was Boston’s WBCN that first began airing tracks from the album, back when playing imported product was a groundbreaking notion – even at so-called ‘progressive’ FM radio. From Philly to L.A., markets where Cheap Trick was only barely known on the radio, or where the band had only been seen as an opening act for Kiss or Santana or Queen or Boston – all of a sudden, Robin Zander’s mantra – “I Want YOU… to Want…ME!” – became an irresistible lure, a pop culture readymade.
Along with the live versions of “Surrender” (a song from their second album, Heaven Tonight) and Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” (inspired by John Lennon’s version on his 1975 Rock ‘N’ Roll album), airplay for the live import album developed into a new sensation for the industry. A hastily assembled seven-song radio sampler stemmed the tide for radio stations that did not have access to such exotica as “imports” (hey, this was 1978). But when the U.S. company realized the profit margin available, they quickly brought in 75,000 copies of the album from Japan.
In February 1979, the imports became collectors items when the album was officially released on Epic Records in America. It debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart straightaway – even though it took “I Want You To Want Me” more than two months longer to nudge its way onto the Hot 100. It eventually reached #7 and was certified an RIAA gold single; “Ain’t That a Shame” followed it into the Top 40 (#35).
Interestingly, listeners were hearing the live version of “Surrender” for months, and – looking for product – they bought up enough copies of Heaven Tonight to earn the album RIAA gold in January 1979. Budokan hit the streets in February and was certified RIAA gold in a blinding fast four weeks, jumping to platinum two months later. By the summer (August), 1977’s In Color had also benefited enough from Cheap Trick mania to be certified RIAA gold.
Three decades later, Budokan! 30th Anniversary Edition proves how immortal some albums can be. The LP is ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time,” and “Surrender” appears on the magazine’s “500 Greatest Singles Of All Time” list.