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REO Speedwagon

Three bands were the undisputed arena rock kings of the early '80s -- Styx, Journey, and REO Speedwagon -- yet all weren't overnight success stories (in fact, each group began pursuing different musical styles originally -- prog rock, fusion, and straight-ahead hard rock, respectively, before transforming slowly into chart-topping mainstream rockers). REO Speedwagon first formed in 1968, via a pair of University of Illinois students, keyboardist Neal Doughty and drummer Alan Gratzer. After graduation, the group signed on with then-unknown manager Irving Azoff (who would later guide the careers of such multi-platinum acts as the Eagles and Steely Dan), which led to the outfit building a devoted following in the Midwest due to nonstop touring. By the early '70s, Doughty and Gratzer had welcomed aboard guitarist Gary Richrath, who would soon prove to be the group's spark plug (and one of rock's more underrated players), in addition to bassist Gregg Philbin and singer Terry Luttrell. It was this lineup to be featured on the quintet's 1971 self-titled debut recording for Epic Records.

The debut failed to break REO through to the mainstream, as the band's future was thrust into uncertainty shortly thereafter, when Luttrell left the band. Newcomer Kevin Cronin got the gig, he was a folksinger/guitarist beforehand, with little to no experience fronting a loud rock & roll outfit. The Cronin-led lineup appeared to be headed in the right direction though, judging from 1972's R.E.O. T.W.O., but the other members grew impatient with their slow progress toward a commercial breakthrough, and gave Cronin his walking papers. Up next as REO's frontman was Mike Murphy, whose debut with the band, 1974's Ridin' the Storm Out, was their first album to chart on Billboard and spawned a concert standard with the rocking title track. Murphy stayed onboard for a couple of more releases -- 1974's Lost in a Dream and 1975's This Time We Mean It -- but neither managed to push REO to the next level.

Once more, a frontman change was required, and instead of searching for a fresh new face, REO welcomed back Cronin. The move paid off almost immediately, as REO found their niche by streamlining their sound and focusing on melodic rockers aimed at radio, as well as power ballads aimed at teenage girls' hearts. Released in 1976, R.E.O. signaled the beginning of the veteran group's winning streak, as both 1977's Live: You Get What You Play For and 1978's You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish were REO's first to earn gold and platinum certification. Another live album, Live Again, was also issued in 1978, followed up a year later by another gold-certified hit, Nine Lives. Although REO was slowly inching their way to big-time success, no one (not even the band) could have predicted the massive hit that their next album turned out to be, Hi Infidelity. Issued at the tail end of 1980, it became one of 1981's biggest albums -- spawning one of the best-known power ballads of all time, "Keep on Loving You," as well as such popular rock radio hits as "Don't Let Him Go" and "Take It on the Run." Hi Infidelity would eventually go on to sell more than nine million copies -- catapulting REO to arena-headlining status.

REO Speedwagon continued to score further hit albums (1982's Good Trouble, 1984's Wheels Are Turnin') and singles ("Keep the Fire Burnin'," the number one hit power ballad "Can't Fight This Feeling," etc.), but the hits dried up shortly thereafter. Issued in 1987, Life as We Know It managed to go gold, but their fans' sudden disinterest coupled with turmoil between certain bandmembers led to the exit of both Richrath and Gratzer by the end of the decade. REO opted to soldier on, however, with replacement members Dave Amato (ex-Ted Nugent, guitar) and Bryan Hitt (ex-Wang Chung, drums) in tow, as their 14-track 1988 compilation The Hits proved to be a steady seller over the years. Further underappreciated studio releases followed, such as 1990's The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken and 1996's Building the Bridge. With interest at an all-time low, REO was set to pack it up for good, until a sudden wave of renewed interest in classic rock bands of yesteryear began to sweep the U.S. during the late '90s, resulting in REO launching successful co-headlining tours alongside such acts as Styx, Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bad Company, among others.

The '90s saw the emergence of countless REO compilations, including such titles as The Second Decade of Rock n' Roll: 1981 to 1991, Only the Strong Survive, The Ballads, and a specially priced three-disc set of Live: You Get What You Play For, You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish, and Hi Infidelity. Additionally, further in-concert releases cropped up -- Live: Plus, Extended Versions, and a 2001 live set, Arch Allies: Live at Riverport, split 50/50 between REO and touring mates Styx. In a 2001 episode of VH1's Behind the Music series that focused on REO Speedwagon, Cronin and Richrath cleared up any misconceptions of ill will existing between either camp and voiced approval of a possible reunion in the future. When REO returned to the studio later in the 2000s, however, it was without Richrath. Find Your Own Way Home, the band's first studio album of new songs in more than ten years, featured Cronin along with founding member Neal Doughty on keyboards, longtime bassist Bruce Hall, and '80s additions Amato and Hitt. This lineup also released an unabashed record of Christmas songs in 2009, titled Not So Silent Night. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

mlitsceo
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
Wow
Can idiots please stop posting chain comments its annoying
Don't listen to evil's music anymore. Listen to Pandora!
Skate world dace any one !!!!!!;)
Remember the movie the American virgin the batch went back to the dude that got her pregnant
martinezbren n o n
This freaked me out! This isn't fake apparently if you copy and paste this 10 different comments you will have the best day of your day tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If you break the chain, you will see a dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry
jormadog
How I felt when I first met my husband 25 years ago. <3 gotta get that feeling back!
I don't want to sleep I just wanna keep on loving you ---- Im 20 years old born in 1993 yet I love these oldies
This freaked me out! This isn't fake. Apparently is you copy and paste this on 10 different comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If you break the chain, you will see a dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry.
Bad a** song
great song
hitequila77
Wow, this is my first time hearing this "Live Version" ---i ♥ it! Nice one Reo Speedwagon!
I love that song
One of my fav bands of all time!!!!
I REMEMBA DIS ONE FROM MTV~ ''TRUE MTV DAYS!" I MISS THOSE DAYS!!! THE VH1 MORNIN THING IS OK BUT NOT LIKE MTV GTHEYPO NOT WRITE SONGZ LIKE DI$ ANYMORE!!! L��VE REOSPEED WAGON!GINA IN ATOWN!
Talk is cheating when the story is good!!! Love it!!
Classic
WHEN I SAY THAT I LOVE U.I MEANT THAT I LOVE U FOREVER. IM GONNA KEEP ON LOVING YOU. R.A.W.
trinitrapjaw 8 4
Help me....love hurts
Classic! Takes me back to when I was a kid! Excellent memories!
Best band from the 90's ,one of a kind,they make real music
First time I heard the live version..Wis h I coulda seen em in concert.!!!! !
I JUST WANNA KEEP ON LUV U- REO SPEEDWAGON YOUR TRUE FANS FEEL THIS EXACT WAY ABOUT YOU. THANKS FOR THE HEAVY LOVE BALLADS.
The fact that YOU r CRAZY...
This song brings me back
REO ... They have a lot good music .. Beautiful lyric ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Remember this song babe gotta love it
@ jaxprdiva
Love it!
I love Reo speedwagon u awesome !!!!!!
Whatever
Love REO Speedwagon!
Just want to apologize, I meant Strat ! Lol
Rock and Roll, whether it be a Stat or Strong voice, this genuine Music !
I'm scrolled down the comments and people are talking about chain letters are those the ones that are like don't read this cause it actually works. Cause if it is yeah stop it it's pointless and annoying also has nothing to do with the song
Here's are song baby love it reminds me When We where young and all the stuff we been through (good and bad wouldn't change a thing
acmedoug5
Ten comments ten minutes best day of your life kissed or asked out break chain see dead girl in room in 53 minutes I love u or sorry isn't fake kissed on Friday and yeah
Love it me and my baby's song
I get goosebumps when i listen to this song
And I'm only 12^__^
Love them and their songs
One of my favs. Enough with the chain letters!!!
Love this song so much :) and enough with the stupid chain letters... your scaring little kids yah know... anyways this song makes me think about my first BF I love you so much Zach and I miss you everday
Song reminds me of my older brother he would listen to REO all the time and this was one of his favorites he pasted away in 2005 he was 19 and I was 14 my very first concert was REO and I loved it!!!
Don't read bc it works you'll be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post you'll die in 2 days. Put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press ft and your lover's name will appear on the screen. (Sorry about this. I hate these but I take no chances.)
Anyone else know this from crank 2?
Don’t read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don’t post it this you will die in two days. Now you’ve started reading this so don’t stop. This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and you lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works
Don’t read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don’t post it this you will die in two days. Now you’ve started reading this so don’t stop. This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and you lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works
This is my favorite song!!
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