How Cheap Trick Wrapped Up Their Golden Era With ‘Found All the Parts’
When Cheap Trick's Found All the Parts EP was released in June 1980, the record closed the book on the band's golden career run of the late '70s. It was a streak in which the Rockford, Ill., natives turned out an astounding body of work across four studio albums and one era-defining live recording in barely three years.
Considering that Found All the Parts was just a four-song release totaling less than 18 minutes of music, it's amazing how much mystery and confusion have surrounded the record. Cheap Trick's members -- singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson and drummer Bun E. Carlos -- certainly didn't help matters by doing things like adding live audience sounds behind a studio cover of the Beatles' "Day Tripper" to replace the real concert version they were planning to use but were unhappy with.
"Can't Hold On," however, was a proper live recording, left over from the band's legendary At Budokan album from a couple of years before. The song showcases the darkest strains of Nielsen's power pop-crafting talents by welding a bluesy lick with a dramatic descending arpeggio, over which Zander declares, "It's my sunset ... My sun will set," which sounds an awful lot like "son of Sam" here.
Things get somewhat sunnier on the flip side, with "Such a Good Girl," which bolts a soaring chorus onto staccato-backed verses, and the quasi-schmaltzy "Take Me I'm Yours." At the time, both songs were purported to be outtakes from 1976 or 1977; turns out, though, that they were from sessions recorded in early 1980. And this is where things get, um, tricky. Rumors began to surface that the pair of songs on the EP's second side were the only survivors of a lost Cheap Trick album shelved by the record company for one reason or another.
That speculation gained more credence over the years as songs began to surface on '80s bootlegs (including demos for songs titled "Oh Boy," "Loser" and "You Talk Too Much") and on 1996's excellent Sex, America, Cheap Trick box set ("Fan Club" and "I Need Love"). Either way, Found All the Parts remains a significant part of Cheap Trick history.
Cheap Trick shifted gears on their next album, All Shook Up (which was produced by George Martin), signaling a new decade and a new era. Found All the Parts ended a golden period for the band, but there was still more to come.
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