Surrender

Album: Heaven Tonight (1978)
Charted: 62
  • Though it was not a big chart hit, this teen anthem is one of Cheap Trick's best-known songs. The singer thinks of his parents as a bit overprotective and kind of weird, but he gains a new respect for them at the end of the song when he wakes up and they are rolling around on the couch listening to his KISS records. Cheap Trick guitarist-songwriter Rick Nielsen recalls in Rolling Stone's Top 500 songs magazine that when he wrote it, he had to "go back and put myself in the head of a 14-year-old."
  • This song is featured in a number of films. In Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1983) the ticket hustler Mike Damone sings "Surrender" to help try to persuade a girl to buy tickets to a Cheap Trick concert. Band members Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander appear in the film Daddy Day Care (2003), which also features this song.

    In 2017, it was used in the closing credits of the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and included on the soundtrack; director James Gunn used the Cheap Trick song "If You Want My Love" in his 2011 independent film Super.
  • This appears on Cheap Trick's live album At Budokan. Robin Zander's speech, which opens the live version is sampled on the Beastie Boy's 1992 single "Jimmy James."
  • In a Blender magazine interview, Cheap Trick 's drummer Bun E. Carlos recalls, "We had that track back in 1975. We used to rehearse in the basement of Rick [Nielsen]'s dad's music shop on Seventh Avenue in Rockford, Illinois. As soon as I heard it, I thought it was a really interesting lyric."

    Rick Nielsen said: "I used to hear my friends saying they thought their parents were strange. The first thing I got was the opening of the chorus: 'Mommy's all right, daddy's all right.' It just rolled off at one sitting. Those opening lines, 'Mother told me, yes, she told me I 'd meet girls like you.' that 's advice to the lovelorn, and obviously inspired by the old Shirelles hit 'Mama said that there'd be days like this.' It 's a good way to start a song, if you can make it go with a chord progression."
  • This song contains one of the more famous key changes in rock. According to Rick Nielsen, the song begins in B flat, goes to B for two verses, then changes key to C around 2:15 as Robin Zander sings, "Whatever happened to all this season's losers of the year..."
  • The live version of this song from the Budokan concert was used on the Detroit Rock City soundtrack. The movie was about some kids going to a KISS concert. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Katie - Goulburn, Australia
  • The lyrics about the mother being in the WAC's is a reference to the Women's Army Corps, which was active during World War II. And if you're wondering why those lyrics, "Now I had heard the WACs recruited old maids for the war," don't make much sense, it's because they weren't written that way. The original lyrics were deemed too racy: "Now I had heard the WACs were either old maids, dykes or whores."
  • The high-pitched sound in the mix was made using an arpeggiator on the keyboard. When the band recorded their next album, Dream Police, they used a real string section since they had a bigger budget. This is best heard on the title track.
  • Some of the TV series that have used this song include:

    Scrubs ("My Old Man" - 2002)
    Cold Case ("Blank Generation" - 2005)
    Supernatural ("No Exit" - 2006)
    South Park ("Guitar Queer-o" - 2007)
    One Tree Hill ("Don't You Forget About Me" - 2010)
    New Girl ("Tomatoes" - 2012)
    Californication ("Daughter" - 2014)
    Life in Pieces ("Cheap Promotion Flying Birthday" - 2016)
  • Cheap Trick's version of "In The Street," originally recorded by Big Star, was used as the theme song of That '70s Show. In this version, they incorporate the "We're all alright" chant from "Surrender."
  • In concert, this is the song where Rick Nielsen would break out his famous 5-necked guitar. Nielsen owns hundreds of guitars, many with outrageous designs built by the Hamer Guitar company.
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Comments: 20

  • Rachael from WarminsterThis song is a grammatical nightmare I don't care that some of it makes sense, the rest of it is complete garbage. You can't surrender and not give yourself away, that's redundant. Also how the lyrics switch from third person to first person, you can't even keep track of what's going on. If I want to listen to nonsense lyrics I rather listen to anything else.
  • Cheaptrickster from For Me To KnowAs for the alternative lyrics about "Now I had heard the WACs were either old maids..." it jibes with this live version https://youtu.be/NFjOpqtKRq4?t=116 where you can hear them sing, "Mommy's **neither** one of those"
  • Jason from ShanghaiI somehow don't think this is about earning a new respect for your parents' KISS record collection. In my opinion, the lyrics are all about the hypocrisy of adults telling young people what to do and what vices they can have. Throughout the song adults are telling the singer what to do and doing the opposite every time. His parents are making out on the couch like teenagers and the soldier is on some "Indonesian junk that's going around." The point being that every time a figure of authority in your life tells you not to do something, they're probably doing something equally reprehensible.
  • Breanna from Heber, UtThe first time I heard this song was them playing it live. I was at Sgt. Pepper Live featuring Cheap Trick and it was so awesome! I came back like a month later and sat in the first row right infront of Robin Zander and he was like looking at me while singing this song! It was so cool!
  • Valentin from Beijing, ChinaWhen I first heard it I thought it was an unreleased song by The Who, because of the intro, as for me it sounds like "My Wife"
  • Dave from Toledo, OhThis song is also featured in the film "Over The Edge". Which is about teens who get in trouble.
  • Kent from Lodi, CaI think that the subject of John Hiatt's song, "Perfectly Good Guitar" is Rick Nielsen who early in Cheap Trick history, during a long solo would sling 5 or so guitars around his neck. As he finished a part of a solo, he would drop the guitar he was playing at the time down a 2 or 3 step riser. He would do this until the last guitar which he sometimes dropped and sometimes wouldn't.
    Hamer Guitars later build him a guitar with 5 necks, which I think ended his guitar dropping thing.
  • Derek from Shrewsbury, Machris frome chicago if it doesnt refer to the band kiss why do they through a kiss record in the crowd at most of their conserts after they sing that lyric
  • Steve from St. Peter's, Vatican CityEd from Westport has it right. The "WACS" reference means that the singer is aware of the reputation of the women for being lesbians. Eisenhower was asked to do something about this, but he said that he wasn't going to purge anyone who might help win the war.
  • Chris from Chicago, IlThe "kiss" in the kiss records line reffers making out, kissing not the band KISS
  • Walt from Astoria, OrCheap Trick opened for KISS on one of their tours, so the line "got my KISS records out" is a homage.
  • W from Big Lake, TxGood Catch on the Rick's alright, but if you listen closely they actually go through the whole band. Bun E.'s alright, Tommy's alright, Robin's alright, Rick's alright- we're all alright, we're all alright, etc.
    Also I have long wanted to know what the original lyric was following the old maid line. Thanks for the clarification.
  • Christina from Karlstad, -This song is really good, and the band Less Than Jake made a pretty good cover of this song on their album Anthem from 2003
  • Steve from Middletown, CtI guess that Johnny and I are the only ones who spent time rollin numbers on kiss albums.
  • Allie from Clarkston, MiInterseting song
    Love the refrain
  • Ed from Westport, CtTrue story about the lyrics:
    The lines from the song that appear on the record/CD were different in the original, demo version. Here is the final recorded version:
    <<"Father says, "Your mother's right, she's really up on things."
    "Before we married, Mommy served in the WACS in the Philippines."
    Now, I had heard the WACS recruited old maids for the war.
    But mommy isn't one of those, I've known her all these years.>>

    The original line that Rick Nielsen wrote was: "Now I had heard the WACS recruited old maids, dykes and whores."

    The record company made him rewrite it so it would get more airplay on the radio.
    And, yes, at the end you can hear them sing "Rick's alright" and it refers to Rick Nielsen, the Cheap Trick guitarist. But I thought everybody already knew that part!
  • Garoud from AricaDont Trust Anyone OVER 30!!!
    damn baby boomers....
  • Shelby from Idiotville , KyI don't think there are any morals to the story here.

    It's an excellent song i'll always love it and I'm 14 myself
  • Don from San Antonio, TxThe moral of the story is, surrender to your parents, but not all the way - just enough to lubricate the situation. They're not ALL bad.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis song isn't about that. It's about how the singer's parents are uptight and tell him "do this" and "be like this" but it turns out his parents are smoking pot and listening to KISS, disobeying the rules they set for him. So the moral of the story is: don't listen to your parents kids.
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