Cheap Trick

Gonna Raise Hell

Composed by Rick Nielsen

Song Review by

Cheap Trick really open things up with the extended, disco-inflected, slowburn groove of ”Gonna Raise Hell”. It’s a song that inhabits the same dance-rock territory that other acts such as Kiss and The Rolling Stones or even The Clash occasionally wandered into in the late 1970’s. Though too slow to actually dance to, the song is well anchored by the steady four on the floor bass drum of Bun E. Carlos and sinuous bass line from Tom Petersson, together providing solid backbone. Guitarist Rick Nielsen mimics the vocal melody with simple single string riffs which singer Robin Zander complements with some formidable throat scraping howls of the title lyric. The subject matter boils down to a slightly guilty nod to hedonism in the face of stifling apathy and indifference, “Ambition? Ha! / If all I’ve heard is true / There’s nothing much I can do / To change the world, it’s irreversible / But in what it lacks / It’s got a taste that smacks of somethin’ irresistible”, or we might as well raise some hell along the way to our graves. Good clean Rock’n’Roll 101subject matter if ever there was one. The arrangement has some nice build ups, breakdowns and solos, but for some reason the recording clocks in at an excessive nine and a half minutes. Writer and guitarist Rick Nielsen can’t seem to restrain his newfound passion for string interludes. The last two minutes of the track is a battle of guitar licks and dive-bombing string flourishes. Where such touches worked to dramatic effect in the albums title track, the driving pop nugget ”Dream Police”, the strings begin to test the listeners patience by the eighth minute in, proving once and for all that Nielsen is no Isaac Hayes, if nothing else.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Dream Police 1979 Epic 9:20
Sex, America, Cheap Trick 1996 Sony Music Distribution 9:20
Music for Hangovers 1999 Big 3 9:25
Silver 2001 Big 3 8:57
Silver [Video] 2001 Cheap Trick Unlimited 8:56
The Essential Cheap Trick 2004 Columbia
Essential 3.0 2010 Epic / Legacy / Sony Legacy 9:06
Lap of Luxury/Dream Police 2010 Epic / Legacy 9:20
Original Album Classics, Vol. 2 2012 Epic / Sony Music
Auld Lang Syne: New Year's Eve Broadcast 1979, Forum L.A. 2015 Sutra 9:25
Turn On the Radio: The 1980s Refractor Records 10:42
blue highlight denotes editor's pick