I want you to want me :: Under the Covers

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I Want You to Want Me (live) :: Gary Jules

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes,
put on a brand-new shirt,
I’ll get home early from work,
if you say that you love me
.”

Gary Jules’ take is so heartbreaking, and haunting, and oh so beautiful – a cover version that makes me ache.

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I Want You to Want Me is a song originally by the band Cheap Trick. The song was first played in 1975 and first appeared on the band’s second album In Color, in 1977. It was the first single released from that album, but it did not chart in the US.

The band’s bass player, Tom Petersson, told Classic Rock magazine this about the song:

My recollection is that [songwriter Rick Nielsen] did that song as a bit of a joke, because at the time when we had done that song there was a lot of pop music on the radio – ABBA, and all sorts of things, disco, [Rick thought] ‘I’m just going to do an over-the-top pop song. I just want to do one that’s so silly – total pop – and then we’ll do a heavy version of it.’ He didn’t know what was going to happen with it. The idea was to have it like a heavy metal pop song. Cheap Trick doing ABBA – except a very heavy version.”

Lead guitarist, Rick Nielsen shad this take on the song:

I just pictured myself in a big, overstuffed chair, and my dad turned on the TV; there were like three stations. I wanted to watch Gabby Hayes – he was a cowboy. I always wanted what wasn’t there, so I think that’s what made me inquisitive throughout my whole life. When you wanted Gabby, Gabby’s not there; when you want your dad, your dad is not there. It was the easiest lyric I could think of. And I wish I were that stupid more often. It’s like Van Morrison – with some of his old songs it didn’t matter what the lyrics meant, it’s how they sounded.”

I Want You to Want Me reach # 1 single status in Japan. It was the success in Japan, as well as the success of previous single, Clock Strikes Ten, and the follow-up Surrender, that paved Cheap Trick’s way to their famous Budokan concerts in Tokyo, April of 1978. Cheat Trick at Budokan was recorded during these shows. A live version of I Want You to Want Me, from the live album, Cheat Trick at Budokan, was released as a single in 1979.

The live version of the song became the band’s biggest selling single, reaching # 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, signifying sales of one million records. In Canada, the song reached # 2 on the RPM national singles chart. IT was also the band’s highest charting single in the UK, where it reached # 29.

Another cover of the song I love is Chris Isaak’s rockabilly/crooner take on the song – in that way that only Chris Issak can do it (and make me swoon every time):

I Want You to Want Me (live) :: Chris Issak

“I’m begging you to beg me.”

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There are a lot of other cover versions out there, including one that was featured in the film 10 Things I Hate About You. Do you have a favorite?

I Want You to Want Me (live, 1979) :: Cheap Trick