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"I Want You to Want Me" is a song by American rock band Cheap Trick. The song was first played in 1975[1] and first appeared on their second album In Color in 1977 and was the first single released from that album, but it did not chart in the US.

Cheap Trick bass player Tom Petersson told Classic Rock magazine:

"My recollection is that [songwriter Rick Nielsen] did that song as a bit of a joke, because at the time when we had done that song there was a lot of pop music on the radio - ABBA, and all sorts of things, disco, [Rick thought]'I'm just going to do an over-the-top pop song. I just want to do one that's so silly - total pop - and then we'll do a heavy version of it.' He didn't know what was going to happen with it. The idea was to have it like a heavy metal pop song. Cheap Trick doing ABBA - except a very heavy version."

Rick Nielsen explains his perspective behind the song:

“I just pictured myself in a big, overstuffed chair, and my dad turned on the TV; there were like three stations. I wanted to watch Gabby Hayes – he was a cowboy. I always wanted what wasn’t there, so I think that’s what made me inquisitive throughout my whole life. When you wanted Gabby, Gabby’s not there; when you want your dad, your dad is not there. It was the easiest lyric I could think of. And I wish I were that stupid more often. It’s like Van Morrison – with some of his old songs it didn’t matter what the lyrics meant, it’s how they sounded.”

Years later, Nielsen and Petersson criticized the lightweight production of "I Want You to Want Me" as it originally appeared on their second studio LP, "In Color." Cheap Trick went as far as to mostly re-record that album. Producer Tom Werman explains:

‘“I Want You To Want Me" was a fabulous dancehall type of song, and a perfect pop tune, and it was meant to be a little campy. I put the piano on – a guy named Jai Winding played it. I remember asking the band what they thought of it, and Rick Nielsen kind of shrugged and said, ‘You’re the producer’.” Further: "It was a burlesque song, like a 30’s number. That is what they wrote it as."

"I Want You to Want Me" was a number-one single in Japan.[2][3] Its success in Japan, as well as the success of its preceding single "Clock Strikes Ten" and its followup "Surrender", paved the way for Cheap Trick's famous concerts at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in April 1978 that were recorded for the group's most popular album,Cheap Trick at Budokan.[4] A live version of "I Want You to Want Me" from the album Cheap Trick at Budokan was released in 1979 and became their biggest selling single, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5] It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing sales of one million records. InCanada, it reached #2 in on the RPM national singles chart, remaining there for two weeks.[6][7] It was also the band's highest charting single in Britain, where it reached #29.

The single was certified Gold in Canada for the sale of 5,000 singles in September 1979.[8]

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Version Differences

Version Differences[edit]Edit

The live version has a higher tempo than the album version, which contributed to its success. However, the album version features an echo at the verse "Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin' (cryin)". This echo does not appear in the live version. The crowd however, emulates the echo by chanting "cryin'". The live version consists of two guitar solos, while the studio version has a piano fill as a second instrumental. Between 1976 and 1977, Cheap Trick recorded a version played in the style that they did in concerts in 1975 and 1976. It was played with dramatic vocals, high tempo and two guitar solos. It was released in 1996. The earliest version of the song was played in 1976, almost identical to the "alternate" version (closer to the version they had originally played), except with a slightly different song structure. This version was released in 1998.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

In the 2007 book "Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide", a section on Cheap Trick featured reviews on the top 20 stand-out tracks from the band. One track included was "I Want You to Want Me", where the author John M. Borack wrote "The "In Color" version lacked anything resembling balls, but that was remedied on the hit version from the groundbreaking "Cheap Trick at Budokan" disc. A piece of history and a darned cool tune, to boot."[9]

Chart positions[edit]Edit

Chart (1977-1979) Peak

position

Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 15
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[11] 1
Canada (RPM) 2
Germany (Media Control AG)[12] 18
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 23
Japan (Oricon) 1
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 29
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 7

All appearances[edit]Edit

Cover versions[edit]Edit

In popular culture[edit]Edit

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