Monday, January 03, 2005

Cheap Trick At Budokan (1979)

Last night I was listening to Off The Record with Joe Benson on the radio. Benson was doing a year-end show in which he played clips from interviews he'd done over the past year. At show's end, he played a clip of Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen explaining that CT's 1979 live album At Budokan was originally only released in Japan, because that is where the band had been most successful at that point. But the album became a best-selling import in the U.S., and someone at Epic Records felt they could make money from the album as well. So it was released domestically, and it turned out to be the band's breakthrough album in the U.S. Is there a moral here?

It may not happen very often, but if you purchase an import album (which is now easier to do than it was in 1979), you could well be voting for the album to be released domestically.

I actually think that if At Budokan had not been released domestically in the U.S., my life would be a bit different. I first heard that album when I was a child. A friend of mine played it for me in between the Kiss albums we were listening to, and it's been a favorite album of mine ever since. It led me to listen to their other albums over the years, and their 1977 debut is another of my all-time favorites. I have so many good Cheap Trick memories, and they may have never happened without a domestic release of At Budokan. Hooray for American capitalism!

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