The enduring, hard-touring, and self-caricaturing rock group Cheap Trick worked its way up to platinum sales with an explosive fusion of Beatlesque melodic hooks, Who-styled crunching power chords, and a flair for the absurd. Cheap Trick is one of the best live bands of its era. For all of the gimmickry (best epitomized by Rick Nielson's pick showers and trademark outlandish guitars, such as the quintuple-neck checkered monster he breaks out on "Surrender"), Cheap Trick live is uniformly tight, as blistering and raw as it is cunningly melodic.
Though Cheap Trick's most visible recent moves-- re-recording Big Star's "In the Street" for That '70s Show, performing the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety at a 2007 Hollywood Bowl concert-- may paint them as a nostalgia act, their influence on contemporary indie/alt-rock is as pronounced as ever: For the Foo Fighters, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Ted Leo, the Raconteurs-- basically any band that's ever tried to weld a Beatlesque melody to a power chord-- all roads lead back to Cheap Trick.