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I Want You To Want Me by Cheap Trick

Album: Live At BudokanReleased: 1977Charted:
  • This song has a long and intriguing history. It was written by Cheap Trick's guitarist Rick Nielsen and recorded for their 1977 self-titled debut album, but it didn't make the cut. The song was included on their second album In Color, which was released later in 1977. This version had a medium tempo with a country feel and a honky tonk piano throughout the song.

    By 1978, the band had dropped it from their setlist, but restored it when they toured Japan that year, since Japanese audiences loved the song. They played it on April 28 and 30 at their famous concerts that took place at the Budokan temple in Tokyo, which was a big deal because many Japanese citizens felt the temple was sacred and not appropriate for rock concerts. The concerts were released as the Live At Budokan album, which captured Cheap Trick's live energy and turned their fortunes around in America, where the album was released in February 1979 and sold over 3 million copies. The extracted "I Want You To Want Me" became their first hit, charting at #7.
  • According to Rick Nielsen, the band considered this "sort of hokey pop" when they first recorded it, and the arrangement matched that sentiment, with finger snaps and a plaintive country feel. Robin Zander played up the schmaltz in the vocal, sounding like a woebegone cornpoke. This studio version fell flat, but when they played it as an earnest rocker, it worked.
  • The famous At Budokan version of this song was inspired by a French cover version ("J'attends Toutes les Nuits") by by a fairly obscure French synthpop artist named Niko Flynn, who sped up the tempo and put a beat to the song.
  • Many early Cheap Trick songs written by Rick Nielsen are from the perspective of characters who are a little unhinged (see: "Dream Police"), and the band played that up with their eccentric fashions and accessories. The guy in this song is a bit desperate and delusional, figuring a shoe shine and a new shirt will make the girl love him.
  • This is one of the few rock songs that starts with the chorus.
  • In 1978, this appeared as the B-side of Cheap Trick's single "California Man."
  • In 1997, the group recorded a new version of the In Color album (complete with this song), with producer Steve Albini, but it was never released.
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Comments: 33

One of the most embarrassing moments of my life occurred because of this song in 1999. I was at work at F&W Publications in Cincinnati when I and a coworker were talking about names for children. I said "you know I kinda like the name Teedalie for a girl if I ever had a daughter". He looked at me quizzically so I said "yeah from that cheap trick song I want you to want me". He looked up thoughtfully and said "I don't remember anything like that in the song." I said "well yeah they sing Teedalie I hear you crying." he rolled his eyes and started laughing at me saying "that's didn't I, didn't I hear you crying". When he told me this I felt 2 inches high and was so embarrassed. So I asked him if he was absolutely sure and that only compounded the extra laughing. All those years I was singing Teedalie and had that on the list as a daughter's name. I'm sure if I did have a daughter by the name of Teedalie I'm sure she would hate to explain to everyone that her name should have been "Didn't I". Oh well it could have been worse. On the Trailer Park Boys Ricky's grandson is named the motel.James Lachman - Cincinnati Oh
Today {December 17th, 2015} the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2016 inductees, the newest members will be Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Chicago, and NWA; they will be inducted into the HoF on April 8th, 2016 in New York City...
And exactly thirty five years earlier on December 17th, 1980 Cheap Trick's "Stop This Game" was at #83 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, just over two weeks earlier on November 30th, 1980 it had peak at #48 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 12 weeks...
Between 1978 and 1990 the Chicago-based quartet had sixteen Top 100 records; three made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "The Flame" for two weeks on July 3rd, 1988...
Their other two Top 100 records were "I Want You to Want Me" {#7 in 1979} and "Don't Be Cruel" {#4 in 1988}.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
One main reason for the song's popularity: it gives voice to that often felt emotion that's not always spoken: "I want YOU to want...ME". And it is stated/sung in such a way that it seems humorous and fun. I love to say it jokingly, occasionally to my husband, with hand motions and over-the-top exclamations.Camille - Toronto, Oh
The budokan is an arena, not a temple. It was built for the 1964 summer olympics for martial arts competitions. It is also used for sumo competitions. The Beatles were the first rock group to perform there causing a great deal of controversy at that time. I quess to some of the older Japanese people holding modern western rock music concerts in the same venue where traditional martial arts are held could be considered sacrilegist. Thirty plus years later this song still rocks!Carlo - San Francisco, Ca
It's also been covered by Alyson Michalka (of ALy & AJ) for the "Bandslam" soundtrack. She does the song justice with Cheap Trick members Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen playing back up for her on the track so it sounds almost like the original live version.Louie - San Antonio, Tx
This song is great and part of what makes it great is how strait forward it is. It doesn't beat around the bush or anything, just I want you to want me I. Says what it means and means what it says.Kathleen - Chatham, Nj
amazing song...sums up a lot of feelings at timesEmma - Adelaide, Australia
I read somewhere that Rick did write it about his father - definitely makes the song more interesting. I play it on my acoustic at my gigs - it's always a big hit.Johnnys Cousin Steve - Villas, Nj
I forgot to mention that Lisa Loeb does a good cover of this.Carrie - Roanoke, Va
I've only heard the live version, and from what i hear; its the best version and i think it is.Allie - A Little Ol' Town In, Mi
The live version is a treat. The studio version? They could have called it "I sorta want you to want me"Jennifer - Los Angeles, Ca
Yeah, good song. cant get it out of my head!!!! lolMel - Minneapolis, Mn
This song is so awsome live! The sudio version sucks, though. Still awsome live, though!!!Max - Laconia, Nh
Anyone ever hear the studio version of this song? 2 words: LA-ME!Ed - Incognito, Il
Apparently, Cheap Trick was the original choice for the band to be featured in "Rock And Roll High School", which of course later went to The Ramones. True, The Ramones' look and sound would have signified ultimate rebellion at the time, but seeing the teenagers in the film, it's more likely they would have been into Cheap Trick....Kent - Toronto, Canada
Funny but true serendipity story. I came to this page because "I want you to want me" was playing on the radio, and I was reading the comment about it being one of the few songs that starts with the chorus. Right while I was reading that the song ended and the next thing they played was "Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers. Trip, eh?Msouth - Cary, Nc
This song was billed as the "greatest song ever" in a '90s Diet Coke ad where a girl is watching a guy singing this in the shower. Anyone remember it?Brandon - Peoria, Il
Yeah, it may be kind of corny, but I still like it.Jon - Oakridge, Or
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that this song was about his father? This song is so great, the chorous is so obvious, but when you figure out that it's about his father it's so much better. Peace.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
This song exemplifies summer to me; it's very sunny and has awesome guitar riffs. The singer has such a simple earnestness in his voice that it doesn't even matter that the lyrics repeat themselves. A person really can't get any more sincere than this. When I was at an NC State football game this fall, I heard the song playing on a commercial for the NBC prime time lineup. I couldn't tell you what happened on the commercial, but the song instantly put me in a perky mood.Carrie - Roanoke, Va
It was previously stated: This is one of the few Rock songs that starts with the chorus. Actually other Cheap Trick songs have started with the chorus. Their song "If You Want My Love" also starts with the chorus. Cheap Trick was a great band with some great hits and I am sorry to see songs like "Surrender", "Dream Police", and "She's Tight" didn't make it to Song Facts. They would be interesting to discuss.Roger - Los Angeles, Ca
excellent band very overplayed song. not even in their top 20 best toons. id advise all you malldwellers to pick up the cds "in color" or "heaven tonight"Tango Fistula - Gila Bend, Az
No Doubt also have done a coverJo - Sydney, Australia
At the Budokan, this was the second best song they performed, besides 'Surrender.'Conor - Vancouver, Canada
The studio single version of this song was already a hit in Japan when they recorded Live at Budokan. That is why the crowd sings along so enthusiastically. The "cryin-cryin-cryin" part is done as an echo effect on the single, and the crowd mimics the echo.

This song is a great example of how a flawed live performance can easily kick ass all over a polished studio recording. (U2's Bad, McCartney's Coming Up, etc.) I wish the R.E.M. had recorded most of their recent albums live, as the studio seems to suck the life out of them.
Rob - Santa Monica, Ca
I love cheap trick!Joe - North Arlington, Nj
Ya I saw that Cold Case episode, it was kinda weird but super sad. Cheap trick is really good, rock onShana - Pembroke, Canada
UM NOFX is not punk rock, their just punk or political punk. Their not something corporate, now theirs punk rock.Kristen - Campbellville, Canada
it was covered by punk rock band NOFX as wellTim - Rl, Israel
Originally, the album wasn't going to be released, because Epic records thought it would be a flop.Kevin - Austin, Tx
Dwight Yokum also did a coverDeana - Indianapolis, In
Covered by the band Letters To Cleo for the "10 Things I Hate About You" soundtrack. Is used in the ending credits with the band playing live on the roof of the school.Krie - Ft. Drum, Ny
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