Category Archives: cheap trick

Lost Hits of the New Wave #15

“Mama” by Genesis

Much like attempts we have talked about before where traditional rock acts tried to ape the new wave sound for their own purposes (like Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick), we have Genesis with “Mama.”

The song, released in the summer of 1983, and later followed by the self-titled Genesis album (also known as the ‘shapes’ album) represented a change in the band’s sound, and a lean toward more progressive, mainstream, and yes, some might say new wave music. Most notable is the use of synthesizer, reverb and lead vocalist Phil Collins’ voice as a percussive sound itself.

Genesis was an art rock band that had been around forever, and had never been radio friendly, at least not outside of old school FM radio and college music heads. Former lead singer Peter Gabriel as a solo act had been making in-roads with the new wave crowds, so perhaps this spurred the rest of the band to give it a shot.

Genesis quickly became pop music as the decade wore on, Collins becoming bigger as a solo star himself.

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Lost Hits of the New Wave #7

“Stop This Game” by Cheap Trick

The above video is from an old Italian music TV show. The song, from the 1980 album All Shook Up. Like with Alice Cooper and “Clones (We’re All),” this represented a marked change in the traditional Cheap Trick sound, aping the now more popular New Wave sound.

The song and the album were enough to put off the fans who had made Cheap Trick rock gods with their Live at Budokan album. Personnel changes kept the band from putting out a complete album for too long, and the Budokan heat had cooled. The fans were divided, rockers thought they were pop, and poppers thought they were rock, and in the end, they were screwed.

That wasn’t all that led to Cheap Trick’s downfall. Some say it was the Beatles curse, after Budokan they were dubbed the new Beatles, especially in Japan. That usually kills a band. It didn’t help that Cheap Trick themselves were huge Beatles fans, doing various covers like “Daytripper,” “Magical Mystery Tour” and even a mash-up with John Lennon of his “I’m Losing You.”

And then there were the plagiarism claims. Listen to their early 1980s pop ballad “The Flame” next to Spirit’s “Nature’s Way” if you don’t believe me. Even the above tune, “Stop This Game,” borrows a few rifts from KISS’ foray into disco and new wave, “I Was Born for Lovin’ You.”

Now, I don’t mean to bag on Cheap Trick. I still have a place in my heart for them. This song, as well as “Reach Out” from the Heavy Metal soundtrack, and “On Top of the World” from the classic 1978 album Heaven Tonight are among my favorite guilty pleasures.

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