In 1967, Rick Nielsen formed Fuse with Tom Peterson (later known as Tom Petersson), who had played in another Rockford, Illinois band called The Bo Weevils. With Bun E. Carlos joining on drums, Fuse moved to Philadelphia in 1971. They began calling themselves "Sick Man of Europe" in 1972–1973. After a European tour in 1973, Nielsen and Petersson returned to Rockford and reunited with Carlos. According to Rolling Stone, the band adopted the name "Cheap Trick" on August 25, 1973.
Randy "Xeno" Hogan was the original lead singer for Cheap Trick. He left the band shortly after its formation and was replaced by Robin Zander. The name was inspired by the band's attendance at a Slade concert, where Petersson commented that the band used "every cheap trick in the book" as part of their act