Excessive Excursionist

My life- in 2D.

Tag Archives: Cheap Trick

Monday Music Pick- “Closer- The Ballad Of Burt & Linda” by Cheap Trick

Anyone that knows me, knows I am, simply put- a Cheap Trick nut.

Having seen them over a hundred times since 1980 (most recently, just this past Saturday in Atlantic City), it would be hard to argue that fact. They are truly an American classic, and unfortunately a dying breed- good, old-fashion, straight-forward Rock & Roll. Melodic rock with driving guitars; catchy hooks; fun, happy music; and in my opinion, the best damn vocalist in the genre.

For those of you that thought their career ended with “Live At Budokan” over thirty years ago, I have news for you- this band is alive and kicking, and kicking hard.

Their most recent release “The Latest”, released in 2009, is their most polished release, cover-to-cover, since “Dream Police, waaaaaaay back when. Not that everything in-between didn’t have a few gems on them- “The Latest” just sounds incredible all-around. Production, performance, and song quality is impeccable.

My personal favorite track from “The Latest” is number 12 of 13 on the disc-  “Closer- The Ballad Of Burt & Linda”. It evokes a sort of 60’s psychedelic-ambiance, with its mid-tempo rhythmic groove and razor-sharp vocals by none other than Robin Zander, but it’s the lyric content that puts this song over the edge.

It is based on the true story of  Burt and Linda Pugach, and also spawned an independent film. I’ll break it down for you with the abridged version. The story goes as such: Burt and Linda fell in love back in the late-50’s. Linda found out, right before their wedding, that Burt was married with child. Linda confronted Burt, who said he was getting divorced and will produce proof. After showing Linda the papers, she suspiciously checked them out to find they were bogus. She called off the relationship, starting dating other guys- which drove Burt into insane jealousy. So, determined to ruin her life, he hired some men who in turn threw lye in Linda’s eyes, causing her to become blind.  14 years later, when Burt was let of of jail, they married, and are still together to this day.

To read the full story, go here.

Cheap Trick has always had a certain twisted humor to their lyrical content, and it certainly qualifies here. Knowing what this song is now about adds that extra element that puts this song over the top- although if it were fictional, would still stand on its own musical merit.

Lyrics:

Every day is a darker day
It’s always gonna be that way
One step closer to mine
I know it’s not respectable
But it is the best of all
One step closer

Relax your mind
It really dosn’t matter if the Heaven’s
gonna rain or shine
You’re better off blind
The love you don’t find
Makes you one step closer to mine
Closer

One step closer
One step closer

Relax your mind
It really dosn’t matter if the Heaven’s
gonna rain or shine
You’re better off blind
The love you don’t find
Makes you one step closer to mine
Closer

Happy Cheap Trick Day……………. No Foolin’.

April 1st will no longer be known as just April Fools Day, at least in Illinois. Beginning in 2008, The Illinois Senate, in the midst of the battle to get a state budget approved, appointed April 1 of every year to be set as a date to regale the musical contributions of Cheap Trick.

Then: L- R Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos

Finally, some respect for the Rockford, Illinois band that for some reason, respect always seemed to somehow elude. Currently in their fifth decade(!) as Rock and Roll’s Rodney Dangerfield, Cheap Trick is alive and well, and putting out some of their best music in decades. Robin Zander (vocals, guitar) Rick Nielsen (guitars, vocals) Tom Petersson (bass, vocals) and Bun E. Carlos (percussion- and still the studio drummer, but replaced recently for live shows with Rick’s son, Daxx Nielsen), have proven that some bands can endure the test of time- and then some.

Of course, I’m just a little biased. I write for my own blog, people- not a newspaper. With that being said, I can be just as biased as I want to be. Thank you.

With a handful of platinum and gold releases since their first release in 1977, constant, international touring (over 200 dates a year) and producing two of Rock and Roll’s most indelible anthems, “I Want You To Want Me”, and “Surrender”- Cheap Trick surges on. They released their 17th studio album. “The Latest”, in June of ’09- their best and most polished effort since, in my opinion, the mid- 80’s. Not that the other releases in-between weren’t rockin’, they just weren’t as consistent from beginning to end. It is also my opinion that for just that reason, “The Latest” didn’t receive the airplay or attention it so richly deserves.

Now: L- R Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos

Along with supporting “The Latest” on the road, the past few years saw Cheap Trick honoring their heroes, and  the most obvious influence in their music- The Beatles, with a Sgt. Pepper tribute show, between their own show dates. The show consisted of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, in its entirety, played from start to finish in order- plus a Beatles medley at the end. A performance of the show at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City was captured, producing a CD and DVD. The show received rave reviews.

Most currently, the band is touring and recently completed doing a tribute to one of their own masterpiece’s, 1979’s “Dream Police”. The band played the album, just like the Sgt, Pepper tour-in its entirety, with a lot of other gems from their extensive catalog. Read more about it here.

I will be seeing the band in early May, and have seen them over 100 times, since my first in 1980. A lot of years, and a lot of shows- none of which failed to deliver. If you’ve never seen this band live, do yourself a favor. Even into their 50’s, this band still rocks and renews the faith that Rock and Roll is still kicking.

So, Happy Cheap Trick Day, everyone- it also happens to be April Fools Day. The Rodney Dangerfield’s of Rock and Roll, indeed.

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