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Richard Alan "Rick" Nielsen (born December 22, 1948) is the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Cheap Trick. For the band's first few albums, Nielsen wrote the majority of the material himself. He is well known for having many custom-made guitars from Hamer Guitars, including his famous five-neck guitar.
Nielsen formed Cheap Trick in 1972 with drummer Brad M. Carlson (Bun E. Carlos), a Rockford, Illinois native. Before Cheap Trick, he was in a number of bands, including Nazz (replacing Todd Rundgren on guitar), Grim Reapers, and Fuse. The latter recorded a one-off debut album released on Epic Records which sold poorly. After the record failed to gain any attention, the band moved to Philadelphia and the band changed their name to Sick Man Of Europe.
The group toured Europe unsuccessfully in 1972 and returned to Illinois in late 1972. Upon their return to Rockford, Nielsen and Carlos added bassist Thomas J Petersson and vocalist Randy "Xeno" Hogan. In 1974, Hogan left the band and lead singer Robin Zander joined after his contract with a Wisconsin resort was completed. The band then was renamed Cheap Trick.
Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1973. As of 2010, the band currently consists of Robin Zander (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar), Tom Petersson (bass guitar) and Daxx Nielsen (drums), who replaced founding member Bun E. Carlos on drums. Their biggest hits include "Surrender", "I Want You to Want Me", "Dream Police" and "The Flame".
They have often been referred to in the Japanese press as the "American Beatles". In October 2007, the Illinois Senate passed a resolution designating April 1 as Cheap Trick Day in the state. The band was also ranked No. 25 in VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.
On October 17, 2014, Neilsen appeared on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, playing with the rock band Foo Fighters. Neilsen made a guest appearance on the Foo Fighters' eighth studio album Sonic Highways.