ON THIS DAY, July 9, 1988, Cheap Trick notched their only #1 single,“The Flame,” from the album Lap of Luxury . I can remember first seeing the video in May of that year, when a girl I had a massive crush on, that I was “just friends” with, called me to tell me the song was on MTV and I had to get to her room immediately. And I did. I was arguably more excited to see the video as I was that she called me.
The song wasn’t written by Rick Nielsen or anyone else in Cheap Trick. A&R guru Don Grierson, the guy who helped engineer Heart’s big comeback a couple of years prior with songs by outside writers, used the same strategy – “The Flame” was written by two English guys, Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham. Reportedly, the band hated the idea of outside writers and didn’t like the song at first. It ended up being the fuel behind a big comeback that year and the song is still in many set lists today. Ultimately, its a quality song, Robin’s vocals are amazing, and Rick’s solo has soul. It always gets a big response, especially from couples – how many times has “The Flame” been played at weddings?