Classic Rock Wiki

"I Want You to Want Me" is a song by American rock band Cheap Trick. The song was first played in 1975[1] and first appeared on their second album In Color in 1977 and was the first single released from that album, but it did not chart in the US.

Cheap Trick bass player Tom Petersson told Classic Rock magazine:

"My recollection is that [songwriter Rick Nielsen] did that song as a bit of a joke, because at the time when we had done that song there was a lot of pop music on the radio - ABBA, and all sorts of things, disco, [Rick thought] 'I'm just going to do an over-the-top pop song. I just want to do one that's so silly - total pop - and then we'll do a heavy version of it.' He didn't know what was going to happen with it. The idea was to have it like a heavy metal pop song. Cheap Trick doing ABBA - except a very heavy version."

Rick Nielsen explains his perspective behind the song:

“I just pictured myself in a big, overstuffed chair, and my dad turned on the TV; there were like three stations. I wanted to watch Gabby Hayes – he was a cowboy. I always wanted what wasn’t there, so I think that’s what made me inquisitive throughout my whole life. When you wanted Gabby, Gabby’s not there; when you want your dad, your dad is not there. It was the easiest lyric I could think of. And I wish I were that stupid more often. It’s like Van Morrison – with some of his old songs it didn’t matter what the lyrics meant, it’s how they sounded.”

Years later, Nielsen and Petersson criticized the lightweight production of "I Want You to Want Me" as it originally appeared on their second studio LP, "In Color." Cheap Trick went as far as to mostly re-record that album. Producer Tom Werman explains:

‘“I Want You To Want Me" was a fabulous dancehall type of song, and a perfect pop tune, and it was meant to be a little campy. I put the piano on – a guy named Jai Winding played it. I remember asking the band what they thought of it, and Rick Nielsen kind of shrugged and said, ‘You’re the producer’.” Further: "It was a burlesque song, like a 30’s number. That is what they wrote it as."

"I Want You to Want Me" was a number-one single in Japan.[2][3] Its success in Japan, as well as the success of its preceding single "Clock Strikes Ten" and its followup "Surrender", paved the way for Cheap Trick's famous concerts at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in April 1978 that were recorded for the group's most popular album, Cheap Trick at Budokan.[4] A live version of "I Want You to Want Me" from the album Cheap Trick at Budokan was released in 1979 and became their biggest selling single, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5] It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing sales of one million records. In Canada, it reached #2 in on the RPM national singles chart, remaining there for two weeks.[6][7] It was also the band's highest charting single in Britain, where it reached #29.

The single was certified Gold in Canada for the sale of 5,000 singles in September 1979.[8]



  • 1 Version Differences
  • 2 Critical reception
  • 3 Chart positions
  • 4 All appearances
  • 5 Cover versions
  • 6 In popular culture
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Version Differences[edit][]

The live version has a higher tempo than the album version, which contributed to its success. However, the album version features an echo at the verse "Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin' (cryin)". This echo does not appear in the live version. The crowd, however, emulates the echo by chanting "cryin'". The live version consists of twoguitar solos, while the studio version has a piano fill as a second instrumental. Between 1976 and 1977, Cheap Trick recorded a version played in the style that they did in concerts in 1975 and 1976. It was played with dramatic vocals, high tempo and two guitar solos. It was released in 1996. The earliest version of the song was played in 1976, almost identical to the "alternate" version (closer to the version they had originally played), except with a slightly different song structure. This version was released in 1998.

Critical reception[edit][]

In the 2007 book "Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide", a section on Cheap Trick featured reviews on the top 20 stand-out tracks from the band. One track included was "I Want You to Want Me", where the author John M. Borack wrote "The "In Color" version lacked anything resembling balls, but that was remedied on the hit version from the groundbreaking "Cheap Trick at Budokan" disc. A piece of history and a darned cool tune, to boot."[9]

Chart positions[edit][]

Chart (1977-1979) Peak


Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 15
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[11] 1
Canada (RPM) 2
Germany (Media Control Charts)[12] 18
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 23
Japan (Oricon) 1
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 29
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 7

All appearances[edit][]

  • 1977: In Color
  • 1978: From Tokyo to You
  • 1979: Cheap Trick at Budokan (Recorded Apr 28, 1978)
  • 1991: The Greatest Hits
  • 1991: Queens Logic soundtrack
  • 1996: Sex, America, Cheap Trick compilation (Alternate Version)
  • 1997: Private Parts soundtrack
  • 1998: Cheap Trick (1998 Reissue) (Early Version)
  • 1998: Cheap Trick at Budokan: The Complete Concert
  • 1999: That '70s Album (Rockin')
  • 1999: Music for Hangovers
  • 2000: Authorized Greatest Hits

Cover versions[edit][]

  • Tigertailz - Young and Crazy (1987) (bonus track on re-release)
  • Rob & Fab - Rob & Fab (1993) (added two verses of rapping)
  • Propagandhi – How To Clean Everything (1993)
  • Wipe Out Skaters - Suckitfashion (1993)
  • Letters to Cleo – 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack (1999)
  • Dwight Yoakam – Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000)
  • SR-71 - Here We Go Again (2004)
  • Lindsay Lohan – A Little More Personal (Raw) (2005)
  • Chris Isaak – Best of Chris Isaak (2006)
  • Holmes Brothers - State of Grace (2007)
  • Gael García Bernal – Rudo y Cursi soundtrack, Spanish language cover entitled "Quiero Que Me Quieras" (2008)
  • Los Odio! featuring Juan Son – Rudo y Cursi soundtrack (2008)
  • Quiero Club – Rudo y Cursi soundtrack (2008)
  • Damhnait Doyle – Lights Down Low (2008)
  • KSM - Read Between the Lines (2009)
  • Aly Michalka – Bandslam soundtrack (2009)
  • Brooke Elliott and Jaime Ray Newman - Drop Dead Diva soundtrack (2010)
  • The Knockouts - Diamond Prime Music / Sound Pollution AB (2011)
  • Snowy Shaw - Snowy Shaw is Alive! (2011)
  • Punchline - So Nice to Meet You [EP] (2012)
  • Martin Ramey - "Single" (2012)
  • Leif Garrett - "Three sides of . . ." (2007)
  • Gas House Gorillas-- from album "Punk Americana"(2013)

In popular culture[edit][]

  • Before every episode taping of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert psyched himself up by playing the At Budokan version of this song.[15]
  • The live version of this song is featured in the video game Band Hero, as well as a downloadable track for Rock Band 3.
  • It appears in the first episode of Scrubs right after JD met Elliot for the first time.
  • In episode 92 of Dawson's Creek Katie Holmes (as Joey Potter) sings it at a night club. They used the "Letters To Cleo" version of the song.
  • A cover of the live version performed by Letters To Cleo is played at the end of the film 10 Things I Hate About You.