2 065648 Heaven Tonight
Produced by Tom Werman
Released on 1978
US CHART POSITION #48 . . . GOLD RECORD (1/16/79), PLATINUM (2/10/95)
Find it at GEMM
2 065648 cover
[high resolution scan]

P roof that good things come in 3s. The first three Cheap Trick albums form the top of the power pop pyramid, with Heaven Tonight at the peak. You could argue that ELO had better hooks (they did), but they made a deal with the devil called disco. Meanwhile, Cheap Trick was fighting the good fight, cranking out nasty power pop like surfer boys with sunburns. A lot of what’s here is essential: “Surrender,” “California Man,” “Auf Wiedersehen,” “Stiff Competition.” “Surrender” gave the band their first US hit, and helped establish their image as a cuddly rock band (seemingly confirmed when the live “I Want You To Want Me” and “Dream Police” followed). But like The Beatles, there was a dark and sinister side to them. Listen to “Heaven Tonight,” “Auf Wiedersehen” or “Takin’ Me Back” and you’ll hear the ghost of “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” resurface. The marvel of Heaven isn’t any one song; even “Surrender” couldn’t oust “She’s A Whore” or “I Want You To Want Me” from my favorites. It’s the coolness quotient of hearing Cheap Trick rip into a great song, slip in a brilliant chorus and give it up like nothing, confident that the muse has a whole bag of the stuff waiting for them. It certainly seemed like that, which is why Cheap Trick fans have such trouble coming to terms with their later work. The first three albums were inspired with a capital I. No missteps, no filler, it was pure power pop perfection from beginning to end. The closing “How Are You” is icing on the cake, Adrian Belew meets the bridge to “A Day In The Life.” Like most of the record, it’s delicious and dark and demented at once. The expanded CD version includes outtakes of “Stiff Competition” and “Surrender,” though both should have stayed in the vault.

JE 35312 front cover JE 35312 back cover
JE 35312 front cover
[high resolution photo]
JE 35312 back cover


  1. SURRENDER    (Rick Nielsen)    4:13
  2. ON TOP OF THE WORLD    (Rick Nielsen)    4:10 (4:02)
  3. CALIFORNIA MAN    (Roy Wood)    3:45
  4. HIGH ROLLER    (Robin Zander/Rick Nielsen/Tom Petersson)    3:58
  5. AUF WIEDERSEHEN    (Rick Nielsen/Tom Petersson)    3:39
  6. TAKIN' ME BACK    (Rick Nielsen)    4:50
  7. ON THE RADIO    (Rick Nielsen)    4:32
  8. HEAVEN TONIGHT    (Rick Nielsen/Tom Petersson)    5:38 (5:25)
  9. STIFF COMPETITION    (Rick Nielsen)    3:39
  10. HOW ARE YOU    (Rick Nielsen/Tom Petersson)    4:15
  11. UNTITLED (OH CLAIRE)    (Bun E. Carlos)    1:01

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  12. STIFF COMPETITION (OUTTAKE)    (Rick Nielsen)    4:02
  13. SURRENDER (OUTTAKE)    (Rick Nielsen)    4:52


BUN E. CARLOS -- traps
RICK NIELSEN -- guitar, mandocello, vocals
TOM PETERSSON -- bass, 12-string bass, vocals
ROBIN ZANDER -- vocals and rhythm guitar
Ken Adamany -- PM
Jai Winding -- piano and organ
Gary Ladinsky -- engineer
Reid Miles -- photography
Jim Charne and Paula Scher -- design

return to CHEAP TRICK discography

US 1978 Epic LP/CS/8T JE/JET/JEA 35312 lyric sleeve
UK/NET 1978 Epic LP EPC82679 lyric insert
NZ 1978 Epic LP ELPS 3890  
US 1979 Epic LP/CS PE/PET 35312  
US June 13, 1989 Epic CD EK 35312  
UK   Epic CD 487933  
US September 28, 1998 Epic CDX EK 65648 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
BRA 1998 Epic Legacy 3CD 2 065648 repackaged w. CHEAP TRICK + IN COLOR
JPN   Epic 3CDX MHCP-76 digital remaster w. bonus tracks


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