“The Flame” is a power ballad written by British songwriters Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham. The song was first offered to English singer Elkie Brooks, who turned it down, and was then released by Cheap Trick, for whom it was a hit single in 1988. The song appeared on the band’s Lap of Luxury album.
“The Flame” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1988, becoming the band’s only number one hit. It also reached number one in Australia and Canada.
Reportedly, the band disliked the song at first; Rick Nielsen disliked the song so much on first hearing that he yanked it from the tape player and ground the cassette beneath his boot heel.
A promotional music video was created for the single, receiving frequent airplay on MTV. In the video, Nielsen can be seen using a guitar designed after the band’s previous 1986 album The Doctor. The video was produced by Paul Flattery and directed by Jim Yukich.
In the UK, the song peaked at #77 during mid-1988 for a total of 9 weeks. A re-issue exclusively for the UK saw the song re-chart at #87 for two weeks in early 1989.