The Flame – Cheap Trick

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………….on July 9th of 1988 Cheap Trick reach #1 on the Billboard Singles Chart with “The Flame”. Cheap Trick had a huge breakthrough with their 1979 live album Cheap Trick at Budokan, which brought “I Want You To Want Me” into the Top 10. In 1980, bass player Tom Petersson left the group, and for most of the decade they had a hard time finding another hit, with none of their singles reaching the Top 40. Peterson returned to the group for their 1988 album Lap of Luxury, which included the big ballad that would get them back on the airwaves: “The Flame.” This was written by the songwriting team of Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham. They wrote it for the British singer Elkie Brooks, but she wouldn’t record it, so Mitchell put his voice on the demo and shopped the song around. It found its way to Epic Records, which gave it to Cheap Trick. It was not typical of Cheap Trick’s sound, and was also their only hit not written or co-written by their guitarist Rick Nielsen. The song succeeded in exposing the band to a much larger audience. Another example of a ’70s rock band that brought in outside writers and had a successful ballad was Heart, who had a similar breakthrough with “These Dreams.”This was Cheap Trick’s only #1 hit, remaining at the top spot in the US for two weeks in the summer of 1988. The ballad however was not a hit in the UK where the best it could do was reach #77.