Published on March 5th, 2023

Eighties and nineties babies will remember “I Want You To Want Me” being performed by alt-rockers Letters to Cleo on a high school rooftop over the end credits of “10 Things I Hate About You.” Channeling the song’s authors, Cheap Trick, the closing scene from that much-loved ’90s indie romance also captured something essential about that ’70s band: Cheap Trick were almost pop rock punk, before the term was even coined.

The movie cover was an introduction for many viewers to Cheap Trick. But these legacy rockers with punk, pop and power ballad stripes have occupied the collective playlist for decades. Their songs are all over film and television soundtracks. And when Cheap Trick play covers — like Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” or their self-interpolating variation on Big Star’s “In The Street” for “That ’70s Show” — they make more hits.

From humble beginnings in Rockford, Illinois to a sensation in Japan, Cheap Trick were acclaimed as the “American Beatles” in the Japanese press in the late 1970s — a mania that boomeranged back to the U.S. with the band’s milestone live album, “At Budokan.” With their visual pairing of freaks and geeks, Cheap Trick spent the next decade bobbing up and down the charts until trends eventually overtook them. Even then, they kept at it, recording and touring — sometimes through lineup shuffles — for a loyal base that added new admirers, a veteran band thriving on oddball energy, snappy songs and a back catalogue that Hollywood music supervisors and video game programmers like.

In 2016, Cheap Trick entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and amid the thank-yous and memories at the induction ceremony from the four founding bandmates, singer Robin Zander promised, “You can write ‘retirement’ on my tombstone.” In 2021 they performed on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to promote their 20th studio album, “In Another World.” (They also wrote “The Colbert Report” theme music.) And here they are in 2023, on tour and true to their word.

Cheap Trick perform 8pm Tuesday, March 14 at 8 pm at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood.