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I Want You to Want Me

"I Want You to Want Me" is a song by the American rock band Cheap Trick. It is originally from their second album In Color, released in September 1977. It was the first single released from that album, but it did not chart in the United States.

"I Want You to Want Me" was a number-one single in Japan. Its success in Japan, as well as the success of its preceding single "Clock Strikes Ten", paved the way for Cheap Trick's concerts at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in April 1978 that were recorded for the group's most popular album, Cheap Trick at Budokan. 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. 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 and was certified Gold for the sale of 500,000 singles in September 1979. It was also the band's highest charting single in Britain, where it reached #29.

Years later, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson criticized the lightweight production of "I Want You to Want Me" as it originally appeared on their second album, In Color. Cheap Trick went as far as to mostly re-record that album in 1998. 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 30s number. That is what they wrote it as."


Version differences



The studio version features guitar by Jay Graydon. 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 two guitar 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.

33 years after the Budokan version became Cheap Trick's first Top Ten hit, the band released a festive alternative version of the song with the same arrangement, but with slightly modified lyrics, called "I Want You for Christmas", included on A Very Special Christmas: 25 Years Bringing Joy to the World, in 2012.

Critical reception

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 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."

Chart history



Weekly charts

Year-end charts

All appearances

  • 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

  • PropagandhiHow To Clean Everything (1993)
  • Letters to Cleo10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack (1999)
  • Dwight YoakamTomorrow's Sounds Today (2000)
  • Lindsay LohanA Little More Personal (Raw) (2005)
  • Chris IsaakBest of Chris Isaak (2006)
  • Holmes Brothers - State of Grace (2007)
  • Gary Jules - released as single (2011)
  • Punchline - So Nice To Meet You|So Nice to Meet You [EP] (2012)
  • Leif Garrett - "Three sides of . . ." (2007)
  • Chase Holfelder—Major to Minor (2014)
  • Mylène FarmerInterstellaires (2015)
  • Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox Feat. Sara Niemietz - Fake Blues (2017)