Cheap Trick is best known for their love of British pop and power chords that they used to link 60s pop, heavy metal, and punk. Guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Peterson first laid the path for Cheap Trick as a band called Fuse in the late 60s. They released an unsuccessful album in 1969 and had an unsuccessful tour in 1972. Neilson was not ready to give up on his musical vision. He and Peterson reformed with drummer Bun E. Carlos and vocalist Randy 'Xeno' Hogan and called the group Cheap Trick. Hogan was fired the following year and replaced by Robin Zander. The line up of the band was set and soon they began to move towards the release of their first album.
Before the release of their first album in 1977 they toured with rock greats like the Kinks, Kiss, Santana, AC/DC, and Queen. They played over 200 concerts a year and sold thousands of tickets. During their time touring the band built up a repertoire of solid songs that they would put into their first three albums. They signed with Epic Records in 1976 and released a self-titled debut album the following year. The record sold well but did not earn a spot on the charts. Oddly enough, Cheap Trick became a smash hit in Japan and sold gold soon after its release. Later in the same year their second album, In Color, was released. The tracks were more melodic and quiet than their previous work, but it appealed to a wide audience. They continued to tour to promote the album to great success. In Color made it into the top 100 on the US charts and again went gold in Japan.
Tickets to their concerts in Japan sold out within hours of their release. Their huge success in Japan prompted them to record a live album at a show at Budokan Arena. The live album was released soon after their third studio attempt, Heaven Tonight. The album featured a Top 100 single, 'Surrender'. With the release of the live album it became obvious that live performance was where Cheap Trick took the prize. The live album was a huge commercial success. It stayed on the US charts for over a year and peaked at number four. The album sold over one million copies. The live version of 'I Want You to Want Me' became their first top ten hit and has remained popular today, being remade by many pop bands throughout the decade.
The success of the live album carried into the release of their next studio album, Dream Police. The album went into the Top Ten and again sold more than one million copies. After releasing two more albums, Found All the Parts and All Shook Up, Peterson left the group and formed a new band with his wife, Dagmar. Jon Brant took his place in Cheap Trick and worked on the release of One on One. The new album peaked at number 39 but ended up going platinum in sales. They continued releasing albums almost yearly into the 1990s. Lap of Luxury, Woke up with a Monster, and Budokan II all continued Cheap Trick's reign as king of rock. Over the next few years the group started touring with up and coming band The Smashing Pumpkins. They also released a box set of their numerous albums for die-hard fans. Though compilation albums are more numerous for Cheap Trick in the new millennium, they have continued to tour and wow crowds internationally.