Sunday, August 29, 2021

"Don't Be Cruel" by Cheap Trick

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3597
Date:  07/30/1988
Debut:  92
Peak:  4
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's album Lap of Luxury was a significant comeback for them after a series of disappointing efforts. Its lead-off single, the power ballad "The Flame," became Cheap Trick's first to reach #1 on the Pop chart. For a follow-up, this cover tune was selected. It would do well at Rock getting to #8 while also making it to #32 at AC. On the Pop chart, the song would become their third overall Top 10 hit. It would also be the first time that Cheap Trick would get back-to-back Top 10s from one album. Lap of Luxury would peak at #16 and go platinum. It was their first LP since 1979 to reach that sales level.

ReduxReview:  Cheap Trick's fairly faithful remake of Elvis' hit was a real roll of the dice for a single. It could have easily tanked with kids just not getting the retro-style tune. However, it seems that nostalgia prevailed and fans of the band along with Elvis aficionados took it to heart and helped to push it into the Top 10. Was it an inspired remake? No, but it was serviceable and the tune weathered the updated 80s production. It played well on the radio and it got a little bit of a kickstart thanks to "The Flame" hitting #1.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by Elvis Presley. Written by Otis Blackwood, Presley recorded the song July 2, 1956. It was issued out as a single eleven days later with "Hound Dog" on the flip side. With both songs gaining popularity, the record would be considered a double-sided single. On August 18, 1956, the two songs would reach #1. The single would remain at the top of the chart for 11 weeks, which was the longest streak for a song since the rock era began in 1955. However, this was before the Billboard Hot 100 chart was established in 1958. At the time, Elvis' single spent its time at #1 on the "Best Sellers" list, which historically has been considered the main chart prior to the Hot 100. After the Hot 100 was established, a few songs spent 9 weeks at #1, but then in 1977 Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" would set a new record at 10 weeks. Olivia Newton-John would tie that record in 1982 with "Physical." Both songs would keep the record for a decade. Then a change in chart methodology gave songs a new advantage and in 1992 Boyz II Men would spend 13 weeks at #1 with "End of the Road." Since then, eleven songs have spent 13 or more weeks at #1. The current record holder as of this posting date is "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), which spent 19 weeks at #1. Besides Cheap Trick's hit, only two other artists have reached the Pop chart with a version of "Don't Be Cruel." In 1960, Bill Black's Combo made it to #11 (Black had previously been the bassist in Elvis' trio and played on the original recording). Then R&B star Barbara Lynn would briefly chart at #93 in 1963.


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