I first heard this song via Cheap Trick’s very heavy cover during the opening of Jonathan Kaplan’s classic late 1970s troubled youth film “Over the Edge.” Up until recently, I had no idea that Cheap Trick’s version wasn’t the original until I heard this on a Terry Reid compilation I picked up because I had always been curious about Reid, but had never heard his stuff before. Wow! As much as I love the Cheap Trick cover, this poppier, but still very heavy original is really cool. For comparison purposes, I am including a link to the Cheap Trick version below. I’m going to wimp out and call it a draw. A great song with two awesomely different interpretations.
Here’s a completely pleasant surprise: a power-pop supergroup composed of Taylor Hanson (from Hanson) on vocals, James Iha (from the Smashing Pumpkins) on guitar, Bun E. Carlos (from Cheap Trick) on drums, and Adam Schlesinger (from Fountains of Wayne) on bass. In a better world, “Messing with my Head” would be a massive hit. However, I heard it 4 years after it was recorded on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Ah well, a great song is a great song is a great song … It’s never too late to appreciate something cool.
To paraphrase Chris Tucker: have I lost my motherf–kin’ mind?!? I can’t believe I haven’t given a shout-out to one of my Top 5 favorite songs of all-time. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who thinks this song sucks. Someone prominent … probably Chuck Klosterman … once called Cheap Trick one of the coolest bands of all-time. During the late 1970s, they were a band that seemed to be popular with EVERYONE, from headbangers to punks to teenage girls to rock critics. I know there are some votes out there for “I Want You to Want Me” (my daughter being one of them), but my vote for greatest Cheap Trick song is “Surrender.”
The entire song is about the teenage protagonist’s parents giving him endless advice for all kinds of life issues and then coming home to this scene:
“When I woke up, Mom and Dad are rolling on the couch.
Rolling numbers, rock and rollin, got my Kiss records out.”
How much of a mindf–k is that? Surrender, at that point, is the only answer. From the tremendously awesome 1978 album “Heaven Tonight.”
Carrying on the theme of rockin’ greetings from my last post, this is the lead-off track from Cheap Trick’s terrific 1977 album “In Color.” It was also used memorably at the beginning of Jonathan Kaplan’s seminal 1979 troubled youth film “Over the Edge.”
Why oh why, wasn’t this the track used on “Double Fantasy”? Lennon … plus the best (and most underrated) hard rock band of the 1970s? This is so much better than the version that wound up on the album. An edgier, grittier, and harder rockin’ version of an already great song.