Forget the 80's Stuff! This IS Cheap Trick!
Jimi Mack | Millbrae California | 12/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1977 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, my girlfriend and I went to see KISS and Cheap Trick. At this time they played a few songs from this album and when it was released the following year, it became an instant favorite. This by far is the best Cheap Trick, when they still sounded like themselves. Dream Police, released in 1979 is right up there with this one, then as the 80's hit I lost interest in Cheap Trick. Heaven Tonight still is one of my Top 10 favorite albums of all time.
So, for those who feel that it's "dated", just close your eyes and take a trip back to 1978 and enjoy this classic piece of hard rockin' fun."
Quite Easily, Cheap Trick's Best Album
Barry | 05/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having only recently become a Cheap Trick fanatic, the band and their past catalogue has been like finding treasure. Having gotten all of their 70s stuff, a few of the 80s, and their recent output, I would have to say that this effort, 1978's "Heaven Tonight", their third album, is their best and my absolute favorite. I love it. It's wonderful and brilliant from start to finish. So, let's get right to it....
The album starts with "Surrender", one of the top most signature Cheap Trick tunes they've recorded. From "Daddy's all right...." and on, this song IS Cheap Trick. A classic. Up next we get "On Top Of The World", a catchy, sing-along worthy ditty. "California Man" is a cover of a song by Roy Wood, founder of Electric Light Orchestra and an artist the band obviously admires. The song is a great 50s-60s rockabilly jam that is just insanely fun from beginning to end. One of my favorite Cheap Trick tunes. Robin Zander delivered the next song, "High Roller", to the group. The song is about a Wisconsin drug dealer and has a classic rock and roll catch to it. Up next we have another punk rockin' classic, "Auf Wiedersehen". This is my favorite track on the entire album, and just one of my favorite Cheap Trick songs overall. The song is punk and all attitude, and has one of the best guitar/bass riffs and hooks the band has done. It's an outstanding track and a crowd pleaser. Then, things calm down a bit for some simple fun on the next two tracks. The first is "Takin' Me Back", a catchy pop ditty, and the second is the light pop treat of "On The Radio", another wonderful Nielsen hook about cruising around and listening to the radio. Then things heat up again with the title track, "Heaven Tonight", a drug alluding song with Nielsen's mandocello in on the action, and Zander singing in a hazy, Lennon-esque way. Great song. Before the album closes, we get the rousing rocker "Stiff Competition", with it's powerful guitar jams and Zander rocking and growling "allllllllrrrrriiiiiggggghhhhtttt" on the track. A lot of fun. Then we get a jaunty, peppy little tune called "How Are You", that is somewhat along the lines of the original recording of "I Want You To Want Me", on their previous album, "In Color". With Zander's sweet and contagious vocals, it's a song that should be more well known among their repertoire. Finally, the album closes on a quick note with "Oh, Claire", a minute long live track with Zander singing in Japanese.
The band's 1977 debut, "Cheap Trick", was a harder, more raw sounding, less polished album. The follow up, "In Color", released the same year, was more in the category of the band's well known "power pop" artistry, and more polished and produced. This album is the perfect combination of the two. The two previous records showed what the band could do and were capable of being and sounding, and this record mixes the two to deliver it's best, strongest, catchiest, and most hook heavy record to date. This, to me, is Cheap Trick at their 70's rock/punk/power pop best. Lead guitarist and songwriter, Rick Nielsen, is unbeatable here with his masterful guitar playing and talent for writing insanely catchy and unforgettable melodies, riffs, and hooks. This was the album where Nielsen first introduced his now famous 12 string bass. Of course, you have got to have the right singer to deliver, and boy does lead vocalist Robin Zander deliver. Some of his finest work with the band at that point(and in CT history)is done on this album. From the punk attitude of "Auf Wiedersehen" to the dreamy vocals on the title track, to the happy "How Are You", Zander has been nicknamed the man of a 1,000 voices, and this album is shining proof of why he got the name, and why it's so true. Tom Petersson plays the bass with gusto, and Bun E. Carlos is a force to be reckoned with on the drums. Back then, and to this day, they remain one of the tighest bands ever.
In the end, "Heaven Tonight" is classic, essential Cheap Trick at their best, and amongst the finest of 70s rock/punk/power pop ever put to record. It's a piece of masterful artistry from start to finish with very little time to stop and take your breath."