Certain Songs #190: Cheap Trick – “Auf Wiedersehen”

Cheap_Trick_Heaven_Tonight

Album: Heaven Tonight.

Year: 1978.

One of the greatest songs about suicide ever written – along with The Replacements “The Ledge” and Big Fun’s “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)” – “Auf Wiedersehen” gets across on sheer power and conviction. As big-sounding as Cheap Trick ever got, the verses are Robin Zander singing various phrases for “goodbye” and then describing the consequences of death.

Au revoir, auf wiedersehen
You won’t see another morning
You won’t see another evening
Good night

But I’m not really going to get into a discussion about the lyrics, because what makes this song for me is the drums. It is my considered belief that Bun E. Carlos was perhaps the great overlooked drummer (which was only intensified the one time I saw Cheap Trick, in 1983 at the Warnor’s Theatre), and “Auf Widersehen is his greatest performance.

I mean, it starts off with his drums going 

Bam!
Bam!

Bam! 
Bam! 
Bam!

And after that just keeps building and building – at first, it’s just crashing against the guitars in between the verses, but about halfway through, he unleashes a killer roll underneath the end of a verse, and after that, the rest of the song is Bun E. Carlos giving everybody a reason to live.

At the end, he’s crashing against handclaps(!) rolling around Robin Zander screaming “come on, farewell!”,  and driving the song to the logical endpoint before slamming it absolutely shut at the end after Zander finishes screaming about suicide.

“Auf Wiedersehen” performed live at (duh) Budokan, 1978

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