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Rick Nielsen is best known as Cheap Trick’s lead guitarist and main songwriter. In the late ’70s, Cheap Trick helped popularize power pop with their songs “Surrender” and “I Want You To Want Me,” which were precursors to the pop punk explosion in the ’90s with bands like Green Day and Blink-182.

In June, Cheap Trick released their 20th studio album, In Another World, that’s chock full of Rick Nielsen’s monster riffs that recall their glory days in the 1970s.

On today’s episode, Bruce Headlam talks to Rick Nielsen about Cheap Trick’s origin story while Nielsen fiddles around on an electric guitar and samples riffs from the new album. Nielsen also talks about how he was hired to bring a hard rock sound to John Lennon’s final album with Yoko, Double Fantasy, and what it was like working with the Beatles legendary producer, George Martin.

Check out a playlist of our favorite Cheap Trick and power pop tracks HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

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Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is president and co-founder of Pushkin Industries. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of six New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers,…

Justin Richmond

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Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…