Almanac Music: Cheap Trick and The Beatles


Story by David Oke

There would be a sea of people like me who love the music of The Beatles. I can remember Hey Jude on the radio as an eight year old and my older brother had the Abbey Road album, which I would hear wafting out of the lounge room.

I remember being heartbroken when The Beatles wound it up. I Saw Her Standing There is my ‘go to’ karaoke song. If I had to narrow it down, Here Comes The Sun would be atop my list of favorites. Not just a beautiful song, but it was one of the first ever to use a Moog synthesizer and George made good subliminal use of his interest in Indian music timing in the ‘Sun Sun Sun here it comes’ section.

On a recent Monday evening I made my way to The Palais in St Kilda to see a Cheap Trick concert. I’ve liked their power pop since my late teens. Their hour and a half set was full on and really really loud. (Really loud!) They’ve still got it. Robin Zander could still sing the high notes. The lead guitar antics and virtuosity of Rick Nielsen is still clever and entertaining. (Not bad for a seventy year old!) Rick’s son, Daxx, is a powerful drummer, and, believe it or not, a highlight of the show was a bass guitar solo by Tom Petersson who plays a very unusual twelve string bass guitar. Robin’s son was hiding in the shadows playing rhythm guitar.

Cheap Trick  love The Beatles. They played a pretty decent cover of Magical Mystery Tour. Day Tripper has been in their set list for years. They have previously played concerts that were only Beatles songs and early in 2019 they are playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

The song we were all awaiting was If You Want My Love You Got It – their big hit from 1982. Rick Nielsen commented before the song started:  “If you know the song – sing along. If you don’t know the song – sing louder!” To me it rates really highly as a cleverly constructed pop song. The chord pattern and the simple lyrics – but then the penny dropped. There’s a stack of Beatle influenced parts to the song that I hadn’t noticed before.

In parts you hear the flute-like tones of instruments used in Strawberry Fields and following that is a guitar part that almost sounds like a copy of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Even the high vocal part in the chorus is a reminder of the early Beatles ‘woo’ parts that appear in She Loves You and Twist And Shout.

I was certainly part of the ‘demographic’ at The Palais. The people either side were almost exactly my age, and there were some even older audience members not far away.

I came away from the concert feeling pretty chuffed. I had a good sing along. I got a tour T shirt. Sound was great, as was the light show. I got to see a band that is not just touring for nostalgic reasons – they had some brand new material in the set list too- although I did hear an audience member nearby yell out “Play the fucking old stuff!” at that point.

My ears were still ringing as I drove home but I was pleased to have finally seen Cheap Trick live. I was also pretty pleased that the Beatles influence lives on though elements in a song such as If You Want My Love, You Got It – a crowd favorite.


David Oke, a musician and music teacher,  is a regular contributor to partner site Stereo Stories.


About Vin Maskell

Founder and editor of Stereo Stories, a partner site of The Footy Almanac. Likes a gentle kick of the footy on a Sunday morning, when his back's not playing up. Been known to take a more than keen interest in scoreboards - the older the better.


  1. I must admit that, as a big Beatles fan, I remember being appalled by what I thought was Cheap Trick ripping off the fab four with “If you want my love”. I am glad to hear that they are Beatles fans, but am still only slightly less annoyed.

  2. Fair enough comment Smokie.
    Did you know that Rick Nielsen played with John Lennon in the Double Fantasy sessions? I read somewhere that the songs he played in didn’t make the final cut.

  3. Joe De Petro says

    And yet the shook Ono stuff did.

  4. Joe De Petro says

    And yet the Yoko Ono stuff did.

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