Well how about that, it’s Monday again! And it’s even 4/20! That means it’s time to cover the Sponkies’ eyes… as well as their nostrils, as DJ Scratchy breaks another hit off the home stash for us as The Nest continues its Top 30 countdown of the greatest cover songs of all time! You’re gonna wanna hold this one in for a while… and don’t forget to pass it off to the blogger on your right…
#24. “Don’t Be Cruel” – Cheap Trick
Rock and roll has its Prince and its Queen, but long before they emerged on the scene, it was being reigned over by the undisputed King of the genre, a gentleman by the name of Elvis Aron Presley. It’s quite possible you’ve heard of him before…
Among the many hits Elvis performed from the waist up back in the 1950’s was a little love ditty called “Don’t Be Cruel.” Released as a single in 1956 with a cover of Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog” on the B-side, it shot up to #1 on the pop charts. “Don’t Be Cruel” appears in the Top 200 of many lists of the greatest songs in rock history, and there’s no denying the Elvis hit stands the test of time. Many artists have covered the song… but only one came even close to the popular success that Elvis achieved…
The pride of Rockford, Illinois… Cheap Trick decided to add a more modern version of “Don’t Be Cruel” to their wildly popular 1988 album “Lap of Luxury.” It is truly awesome, and the video isn’t half bad either…
That couldn’t be a more typically wacky Cheap Trick video if Rick Nielsen would have run out onto the set with a guitar that had more necks than Fat Bastard…
Like all bands from small Midwestern cities, Cheap Trick first hit it big in the great state of Japan. Unloved by America, the band traveled to Land of the Rising Sun in 1978 for a tour where they were only greeted by all the anime girls there like they were the fucking Beatles. An album of some of their live performances from that tour was made in an attempt to milk even more yens out of the country. “Live at Budokan” was supposed to only be released in Japan…. but the gods of rock and roll work in mysterious ways, and it was ironically that album that became a sudden sensation in the States, and turned Cheap Trick into true pop superstars… at least until they fell right back off the map a few years later in the early 80’s.
One other truly bizarre tidbit about the song this post is honoring… while Cheap Trick’s cover of Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel” was peaking at #4 on the Billboard charts in July of 1988, that very same month, another song by the exact same title was topping out at #8. That would be this funky little number by former New Edition member Bobby Brown.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. Tune in next Monday as we delve further into America’s favorite countdown. Thank you for reading, thankyaverruhmuch!
Thanks for sharing a great song…always loved this version. Merby has now left the building….
Another great hit from the Summer of ’88! Probably the last time in my youth that I actually liked what was on the radio…
Right? Those were the days….
Scrambled to find my barbecue Bic so I could hold up ‘The Flame,’ Bill! Cheap Trick ripped on Elvis’ classic. Robin Zander and Ricky boy did it up right. As much as I love Elvis, this was not my favorite of his, so I give my nod to your Midwest party rockers! Bun E. Carlos drove home the beat!! Neilsen, by the way, was the only guitarist I ever saw in concert with enough gumption to come out on stage with a guitar that was shaped as himself! My, oh, my. “Surrender” indeed. I still love that Budokan album.
Some musicians made playing the guitar an art form…. but only Rick Neilsen actually turned the guitar itself into an art form. I had a feeling this would be right up your alley…
Funny thing… I actually like the studio version of “I Want You To Want Me” better than the wildly popular live version. Given all the airplay the latter has got, the calmer studio track almost seems like a cover itself…
The studio version is pretty cool, yes, Bill. I agree. In my music reviewer days, by the way, I saw Cheap Trick here in Syracuse and surrounding environs many times. They always put on quite the show.
I was surprised! I thought they like a totally different kind of music. Good one! We should have a muzak quizzzz once :o)
I might get booed off the podium with my bizarre musical tastes! I’m glad you like most of the songs I feature on here, though!
I can’t wait until we get higher up in the countdown, because I’ve got some real doozies up there!
OMG Robin, I’m going to swoon. Really. Seriously. Truly awesome post. Elvis would approve. Thank you very much.
I’m sure Elvis would like these guys much better than a lot of the people who impersonate him…
That’s the most hideous Elvis I’ve ever seen. Like Moby Dick with spangles!
LOL! It looks like his butt is sticking out of his belly too…
You know I agree with this one!
You just love…..
That video pregnant pause!
I like the Cheap Trick version but still think Elvis did it best! The Bobby Brown one almost put me to sleep. Sorry Bobby. 😀
That is not one of Bobby’s better songs… I prefer his hit from Ghostbusters II.
Elvis thanksyouverymuch for siding with his version!
I always enjoyed Cheap Trick’s version, but then I am definitely of the Big Hair era.
The big hair era seems to have bypassed the drummer….
The last band I was in was kinda Cheap Trick Jr. We covered tons of their songs. C. T. is one of the most underappreciated bands ever…I have always loved ’em. And yes, they are still making records and touring pretty much non-stop. Robin and Rick, the singer and guitarist, never left, Tom the bass player returned to the fold a number of years ago after a few years away, and only Bun E. Carlos, the drummer, is not currently with them, having split a couple of years ago, although there is some confusion over whether or not it is an official split. Currently the drummer’s kit is being occupied by Rick’s son.
Thanks for the followup on the band, TBone! So, which member were you in Cheap Trick Jr.?
Well, as much as I’d like to say I was a Robin (and as the singer, I had to ATTEMPT a certain amount of Robin-ess, I have probably always been, down deep, more of a Bun E. Really, the whole band had some Rick in ’em, especially our one guitarist, who was every bit as funny to watch as Rick Nielsen. The great thing Cheap Trick for us was that they gave us hope, proof that you could be goofy and still a really good rock band, and didn’t have to dress in spandex to rock. It gave us a bar to aim for at least.