Jul 202012

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

When Cheap Trick were getting ready to record In Color, their second album, they had a backlog of great material to choose from. One song had just missed the cut on their first album (which was a shame, as it blistered), and now they were ready to bring it to the world. But producer Tom Werman wanted to emphasize Cheap Trick’s melodicism, and while In Color won a lot of well-deserved plaudits, their rerecording of that great gem twinkled more than it stomped, and it lost all its muscle in the process. Then they traveled halfway around the world to an arena in downtown Tokyo, where Robin Zander pointed at thousands of screaming Japanese girls and informed them, “I want… YOU… to want… ME.” The song blasted back across the ocean and into Billboard‘s top ten, and ever since then “I Want You To Want Me” has been a part of the world’s immortal soundtrack, a song that you’ve somehow always known.

Today Cheap Trick claim they “may be one of the most covered bands of all time,” and “I Want You To Want Me” certainly plays a part in that. Here are some examples of where other people took that perfect piece of power pop.

Damhnait Doyle – I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)

Canadian popster Doyle brings the twinkle back to “I Want You To Want Me,” but in her hands that’s a good thing. The music-box vibe turns the song from demand/plea to wish/dream, and if Doyle’s wish/dream is simple enough, she sees no reason to hold it back.

The Holmes Brothers – I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)

Nothing twinkly about the Holmes Brothers’ version of “I Want You To Want Me” – rather, the song becomes honorable, righteous in its strength, as an expression of the gospel truth. It comes from 2007’s State of Grace, and a more appropriate title there could never be.

Los Odio – I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)

Rudo y Cursi was a 2008 film about two soccer playing brothers that became one of the top grossing films in the history of Mexico. Who’s to say how much of that is due to this rockin’ performance of “I Want You To Want Me” by Los Odio, featuring Juan Son? (pause) Well, it should have been due to this rockin’ performance.

Tony Scherr – I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)

Tony Scherr turns “I Want You To Want Me” into smoldering jazz. Heads won’t bang to this, but they will nod, in recognition and appreciation of what Scherr’s expressing and the artistry with which he does so.

Storm and the Balls – I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)

Storm Large (yes, it’s her real name) tasted nationwide fame as a contestant on a reality show called Rock Star: Supernova. She was voted off, but judge Dave Navarro said he wanted to work with her on future projects, a promise he kept on her album Ladylike Side One. She’s also written a memoir and released another album, and that still doesn’t even begin to hint at her talent. Her loungecore cover of “I Want You To Want Me,” from the album Hanging with the Balls, is theatrical and dramatic, less a cover than an mini-epic.

Check out Cheap Trick’s first furious draft of “I Want You To Want Me” on iTunes and Amazon; you can also surrender to their official website, but don’t give yourself away.

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  5 Responses to “Five Good Covers: I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick)”

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  1. Also, Dwight Yoakum’s version…

  2. Also, Letter’s to Cleo.

    I’m from Rockford, IL btw. I went to school with Scarlett Neilson. I have a pretty serious love and devotion to Cheap Trick.

  3. One of my all time favorite covers of ANY song is Jon Pousette-Dart’s cover of “I Want You to Want Me” from his 2002 album, “Cover This”. Head and shoulders above even the five listed here.

  4. John Pousette Dart does a great cover

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