Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cheap Trick -- "Surrender" (1978)

Mommy's all right 
Daddy's all right
They just seem a little weird

Some of the Internet song lyric sites spell "all right" as "alright" in the lyrics for "Surrender."  But I've got news for you, boys and girls: "alright" isn't a real word.  It's a misspelling.  

Cheap Trick was formed in Rockford, Illinois, in 1973.  They may be the biggest thing to come out of Rockford since the Rockford Peaches, who were one of the founding members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.  (The Peaches, which won four championships during the league's 12-year existence, were featured in the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own.)

Rockford (the biggest city in Illinois outside of Chicago and its metropolitan area) fell on hard times about the same time that Cheap Trick was at its peak of popularity.  The city was a regular on "Worst Cities in America" lists in the eighties and nineties.  As of 2009, Rockford had a 12.5% unemployment rate, and fewer than half of its high-school students were graduating.  

Lead guitarist Rick Nielsen, a Rockford native, has remained true to his roots.  In 2007, Nielsen announced that he was going to build a $25 million restaurant and hotel named Rick's.  Some of his famous collection of rare and exotic guitars -- he owns 2000 guitars altogether -- would be displayed in the new restaurant.  Alas, it appears that the project never got off the ground.  

Here's a five-neck Hamer guitar that Nielsen plays:

"Surrender" is featured in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which I would rank as one of the top five high-school movies of all time.  In this scene, ticket scalper Mike Damone (played by Robert Romanus)  is trying to unload a couple of tickets to a Cheap Trick concert on a girl at his high school:

"Surrender" is my favorite Cheap Trick song.  Heaven only knows what the words mean.  Click here to see what Rap Genius has to say about the lyrics -- which isn't much.  (Feel free to sign up and contribute your own comments if you have some brilliant insight to share -- or even if you don't.)

I have a vivid memory of listening to the Heaven Tonight album -- "Surrender" was its first track -- one night in the summer of 1978, shortly after it was released.  Back then, I played in a weekly pickup co-ed softball game with a bunch of other young Federal Trade Commission attorneys, after which we adjourned for pizza and beer.  On this particular evening, a few of us didn't stop drinking just because the bar closed for the night -- we ended up at my place.

The front of the Heaven Tonight album
That summer, I was housesitting a very nice suburban home near the DC-Maryland line.  The couple who owned the house were members of a prominent Washington family who had gone off on an extended vacation.  The husband must have been a hunter -- I remember finding a frozen duck in the basement freezer that night, which inspired us to engage in an impromptu game of bowling.

One of the softball players who was at the house that night was a law student intern named Dianne.  Dianne was a delight -- she had a great sense of humor.

The back of the album
That sense of humor came in handy a few years later when she was delivering her first child.  After the baby was born, Dianne excitedly asked her husband who she looked like.  "Actually, she looks a lot like the mailman," her husband answered.  

I remember totally punking another female law student one day in the office.  (I didn't accomplish very much work in my first few years at the FTC.  No one seemed to care very much.)  Dianne had helped me set up this particular practical joke, which was so crude that I still blush today just thinking about it.  (If you're a male friend of mine, e-mail me and I'll share the details.  If you're a female friend of mine, e-mail me pretending to be a male friend if you want the scoop.)

Anyway, the other female law student was as shocked by the fact that her friend and fellow feminist Dianne had chosen to help me pull off this stunt as she was by the stunt itself.  "So much for sisterhood," Dianne said with a shrug.

Here's "Surrender":

Click here to order the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. 2000 guitars?? After being around musicians (both friends and family) for many years, I've come to believe that the unwritten rule is "You can't have too many axes." But 2000 is a bit much....
    I'm not sure how many basses "my daughter the lawyer/musician" has, but one of hers is a home-made "bass-o-matic", and she regularly plays either a Mosrite or a Fender at gigs.