September 1979: Cheap Trick Releases "Dream Police"

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By the summer of 1979, scrappy little Chicago power-pop band Cheap Trick were suddenly major rock rock stars. The band's 1978 Japanese live album, Cheap Trick at Budokan, was such a hot import that the record label released it domestically in February 1979.

RELATED: February 1979: Cheap Trick at Budokan Released in America

When the live tracks rocked FM radio and send "I Want You to Want Me" to #7 on the Hot 100 in July 1979, it did more than just make the long-running opening act for many of rock's biggest groups into headliners. The unexpected victory forced Rick Nielsen and company to put an already-finished ambitious new studio record on the back-burners for a while.

The Dream Police album finally landed on September 21, 1979. The record arrived with a title track that served as the lead single, complete with a full-blown music video. The track was another rock radio hit, peaking at #26 on the Hot 100.

For the album's second single, Cheap Trick went with a ballad: "Voices." The tune had a modest chart run, crashing the top 40 to peak at #32. The band's larger-than-life persona made than popular with kids, much like their regular tour-mates, KISS. As such, Rick Nielsen and singer Robin Zander promoted the song with an appearance on weekend morning TV show, Kids Are People Too.

"Way of the World" was released as a single in the UK, where it had a modest chart run. The song reached #72 on the British charts.

The Dream Police album was an immediate hit with the band's American fans, sending the record all the way to #6 on the Billboard 200 for the week of October 27, 1979. The #1 album in America that week: Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door.

“Look,” Rick Nielsen told Rolling Stone in 1979 when pressed for a deeper meaning behind Cheap Trick's music. “I’m a really normal guy. You know our song, the one that goes, ‘It wasn’t easy, it was hard as hell….Never worked so hard, had so much pain.’ That’s really what Cheap Trick is all about: work hard, keep trying. Everybody in the band has that stick-toitiveness.”  

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