ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHEAP TRICK ALBUMS, Dream Police, was released thirty-seven years ago today, September 21, 1979. I knew it was 1979, but the date surprised me because I recall getting the cassette for my birthday, which is September 11. Though I vaguely recall having at least one birthday party as a kid, I’m not sure if that was the year I remember having a party, and I’d be surprised if it was two weeks past my actual birthday. But I digress…
Dream Police, befitting the name of the record label that released it, is epic. Cheap Trick’s fourth studio album, it was a big step forward in it’s sound and production. Filled with orchestration, and additional keyboards, Rick Nielsen’s riffs carry the tunes (“The House is Rocking (With Domestic Problems)”), Robin Zander’s vocals are of course, stellar (“Voices), Bun E. Carlos’ drumming is efficient and swinging (“Need Your Love”) and the whole thing is anchored by Tom Petersson’s melodic and at times ominous 12-string bass guitar (“Gonna Raise Hell”).
The title track was the big radio hit, and remains a staple of every Cheap Trick show to this day. Other highlights include the sheer pop brilliance of “Way of the World” (guaranteed to improve any mood), the aforementioned “Voices” – a beautiful ballad which should have been as big as “The Flame” was nine years later; “Need Your Love” is a killer, relentless jam, as is the mean, dark “Gonna Raise Hell.”
Did You Know?
- The release of the album was delayed for months because of the runaway success of the Live at Budokan album
- That snapping snare drum sound on “Gonna Raise Hell” is augmented by 2×4’s slapping together
- Steve Lukather played the solo on “Voices”
- “Need Your Love” was first heard on the Live At Budokan album