Ever wonder what American groups were initially more successful in Japan than in the US? Two groups come to mind: the Runaways (an all-girl group) and Cheap Trick.
The Runaways recorded three albums in 1976 and 1977 that failed to produce much effect. They then toured with a single that went number one in Japan and recorded a live album there in 1977. The tour in Japan helped boost their career in that country. Sadly, their success failed to follow them back home and they never reached the US charts. The group slowly disintegrated, but out of the ashes came careers for Lita Ford and Joan Jett.
Cheap Trick recorded three albums and released five singles in 1977 and 1978 and nobody paid them much attention. They then toured Japan and recorded performances at two concerts at Budokan and it was lightning in a bottle. Live At Budokan went triple platinum in the US and the first single from the album (the live version of I Want You To Want Me) hit the top ten in 1979.
On the heels of that success, the group recorded their next album, The Dream Police. The title song was released as a single, and although it wasn’t live, the record got enough sales and airplay to peak at #26 later in 1979.
MTV wasn’t a thing yet, and Nickelodeon wouldn’t show Pop Clips until late 1980, but the group still recorded an elaborate video for the single release of Dream Police. You can compare that to any of the live performances of the song that are available.
Cheap Trick had little success over the next nine years, but when they collaborated with outside writers they recorded their most successful single. The Flame hit number one in 1988, and for a few more years they had hit records again.