Why is the live
version of Cheap Trick
's I Want You To Want Me
the only version you'll hear on the radio? Well, it's an interesting story...
When the song was first recorded in the studio and released, it went no where. Seriously. It didn't get any airplay, wasn't talked about much, and nobody was clamoring to hear it. So the song was tossed into the dustbin of songs the band didn't do anything more with.
Several years later the band was touring in Japan (where they were hugely popular) and during a concert at the Budokan the band decided to play I Want You To Want Me, knowing that it had been a modest hit in Japan and that the audience would probably get a kick out of it.
So they began performing the song, and as they played it they began to notice something: the audience was singing along! They were even singing back the echos on "crying... crying... crying..."! Apparently the song had become a underground favorite and was hugely popular among the Japanese fans. Nobody knew this because, well, that's just how the music world is sometimes. Unless you're #1 on the charts, people think your song isn't popular. After the song was over the audience gave the band a wild standing ovation, and the song was easily the most popular of the night.
A few months later the band decided to release the concert as an album, with I Want You To Want Me being emphasized the most. They went back to the studio and rerecorded the song and edited the parts of the live version out that didn't "sound" right (microphone glitches, reverb, etc.). The album was released and sold like wildfire... but keep in mind, only in Japan.
After the album was a runaway hit in Japan, the band's record company decided to release the song as a single in the USA, and that's when the song hit #1 in the states, too. Since the live version is the one that became popular and the one everyone remembers, that version is the one you hear on the radio, and not the original studio version nobody paid much attention to in the USA.
Story related from the 70s At 7 radio show on WMMO 98.9 FM