Surrender (as made famous by Cheap Trick)

“Surrender” is a single by Cheap Trick released in June 1978 from the album Heaven Tonight. It was the first Cheap Trick single to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 62. Its success in Japan, as well as the success of its preceding singles “Clock Strikes Ten” and “I Want You to Want Me”, paved the way for Cheap Trick’s famous concerts at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in April 1978 that were recorded for the group’s most popular album Cheap Trick at Budokan.[2][3]

Rolling Stone deemed it “the ultimate Seventies teen anthem” and ranked it #471 on its list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The song originates from 1976, as it was played in concerts before its release like many Cheap Trick songs.

“Surrender” is composed in B-flat major, with a key change to B major following the instrumental intro, and a key change to C major after the second time of the chorus. [4]

“Surrender” is a late 1970s teen anthem, describing the relations between the baby boomer narrator and his G.I. generation parents. His mother, having served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in the Philippines, frequently warns him about the girls he will meet, as he will never know what diseases he will catch from them. The narrator describes how his parents are weirder and hipper than many teens would believe. For example, the narrator describes how he discovers his “mom and dad are rolling on the couch” and listening to his Kiss records late at night (“rolling numbers, rock-and-rolling, got my Kiss records out”).[5]

In the 2007 book Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide, a section on Cheap Trick featured reviews on the top 20 stand-out tracks from the band. One track included was “Surrender”, where the author John M. Borack wrote “A no-brainer selection, to be sure, but since I believe that it’s clinically impossible to get tired of this rock and roll funhouse, it belongs here. A stone classic for the ages.”[6]

The counter-choral of “We’re all alright!”, repeated four times in the final chorus of the song, has become an audience favorite, with the band members often leading the entire audience in numerous, shouted repetitions of the phrase. In a 2008 interview, Rick Nielsen stated: “When I wrote the song, the ‘we’re all alright’ was originally only intended to refer to the four of us; that’s why it comes right after the ‘Bun-E/Tom/Robin/Rick’s alright’ section. After we started playing it live however, I came to realize that, to our audience, it was inclusive of all of us – our generation; that we’re ALL alright, we survived the 60s & Vietnam & Nixon & everything, and we’re all still here, playing music and having fun. That’s when we started playing with it a little in concert; I’ll tell ya, you get 50 – 60 thousand people screaming ‘WE’RE ALL ALRIGHT!’ in unison, that’s a pretty positive affirmation!”[this quote needs a citation]

Cheap Trick still[when?] performs this song, and Nielsen often throws Kiss records to the audience in live performances at the moment Kiss is mentioned in the song.

Steel Pole Bath Tub covered “Surrender” in 1996, along with its original B-side “Auf Wiedersehen.”[7] Terrorvision recorded “Surrender” as a B-Side to their single “Middleman”. Velvet Revolver also released a cover as a B side to their single “Fall To Pieces”. Becca, the daughter of David Duchovny’s character, Hank Moody, in the TV series Californication, plays a cover of this song with her high school band in Season 1, Episode 9, “Filthy Lucre”.

The song is one of many comic cover versions the accordion comedy rock band Those Darn Accordions have performed live.

Paw also covered it on their 1998 B-side and covers album Keep The Last Bullet For Yourself. Their version also appears on the soundtrack to the 1994 film S.F.W..

Green Day covered the song along with “Bastards of Young” by The Replacements in a live medley called “The Midwest Medley”[8]

Arma Angelus (a metalcore band that included Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, and Joseph Trohman from Fall Out Boy) made a metalcore cover of the song and renamed it “Sir Ender.” Pegboy covered the song on their album Cha Cha Damore. Zebrahead covered the song on their album MFZB. However, it was only available as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the album.

Virginia punk band Ann Beretta covered the song on their 1999 album To All Our Fallen Heroes. Warrant included the song on their 2001 album Under the Influence.[9] Union performed the song live on their second album, Live from the Galaxy, and American Hi-Fi recorded it live to the delight of its Japanese audience on their album Live from Tokyo.[10][11] Psychotic Youth covered the song on their 2000 album Stereoids.[12]

Marilyn Manson’s live cover of “Surrender” on MTV’s Live and Loud was the first song played on MTV in 2001.[13]

Warrant covered the song for their 2001 cover album, Under The Influence.

Less Than Jake covered the song on their 2003 album Anthem and The Manges covered it on the 2005 album Acid Beaters.[14][15] Gluecifer included a version on their 2009 album B-Sides & Rarities 1994-2005.[16] Ryan Roxie performed “Surrender” on the Cheap Trick tribute album Cheap Dream: A Tribute to Cheap Trick.[17]

Cheap Trick’s version of “Surrender” was also included on the soundtracks for the films Small Soldiers and Over the Edge.[18][19] Simple Plan recorded a version for the soundtrack of Fantastic Four.[20] The song was also featured in Daddy Day Care and, most recently, in Pixels and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Featured in the CBS Show Training Day (TV series)

In 2006, Rockstar Supernova contestant Storm Large performed this song on the show. The song was featured during the opening of the first episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien while Conan, who was still in New York, had to run across the country to start the show in Los Angeles. It was used again in the series finale, during a video of favourite moments from the program.

Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit performed a version of the song in April 2013 for The A.V. Club’s A.V. Undercover series.[21]

The Beastie Boys album Check Your Head begins with Robin Zander’s introduction of Surrender as “the first song on our new album” taken from the live Cheap Trick at Budokan album.[22]

The Norwegian punkrock band Gluecifer covered the song on their “Reversed Ep”. American rock band Hawthorne Heights covered the song on a bonus EP, titled “Ohio Is For Covers”.[23]

Pearl Jam has covered the song a few times over the years: as tag to “Daughter” in 1998 live in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and in full during 2016 US/Canada tour: Thu 5 May, 2016 Centre Vidéotron Quebec City, QC // Mon 2 May, 2016 Madison Square Garden New York, NY (w/ Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick)// Fri 8 Apr, 2016 BB&T Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Also, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, and Jeff Ament have all been playing the song individually live with Cheap Trick in different occasions.

Comedian Natasha Leggero covered it in 2016 for Comedy Central’s music special, Goddam Comedy Jam.