If you want to make a damn good record there is no better start than to hire producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick. In a nod to the 66-69 Beatles, Cheap Trick did just that for their 1980 LP All Shook Up. Sadly the record buying public missed the boat and the album sold considerably less than the previous year's Dream Police.
Regardless the album is full of odd little gems like Baby Loves to Rock which starts out like a 50's Elvis number and turns into a guitar riff driven cruncher in the chorus. Or the heavy metal Merseybeat tune Just Got Back. Or the proggy High Priest of Rhythmic Noise or even proggier Go For the Throat. Or the Stone-ish I Love You Honey But I Hate Your Friends with a stellar bass part by Tom Petersson.
But the killer track and initial single release was Stop This Game. Never mind that it tanked on the charts (though our Canadian neighbors put it in their top ten), for it kicks out the jams. Mr. Petersson delivers another classic bass part. Rick Neilson scales back his guitar pyrotechnics to allow the awesome Martin production to come through. I even detect a glockenspiel in there. And best of all Robin Zander delivers another top notch vocal. Is it just me or is he one of the most underappreciated rock vocalists ever? Not to worry Bun E. Carlos fans - I will sing his praises in another post.