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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. Richrath died in September 2015 at the age of 65. ~ Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Live at Moondance Jam

1. Don't Let Him Go

2. Keep on Loving You

3. In Your Letter

4. Take It on the Run

5. Keep Pushin'

6. Golden Country

7. Can't Fight This Feeling

8. Like You Do

9. Time for Me to Fly

10. Back on the Road Again

11. Roll with the Changes

12. Ridin' the Storm Out

13. 157 Riverside Avenue

x

Track List: Ridin' The Storm Out / Lost In A Dream

1. Ridin' The Storm Out

2. Whiskey Night

3. Oh Woman

4. Find My Fortune

5. Open Up

6. Movin'

7. Son Of A Poor Man

8. Start A New Life

9. It's Everywhere

12. Throw The Chains Away

13. Sky Blues

14. You Can Fly

15. Lost In A Dream

16. Down By The Dam

17. Do Your Best

18. Wild As The Western Wind

19. They're On The Road

20. I'm Feeling Good

x

Track List: R.E.O. / T.W.O.

Disc 1

1. Gypsy Woman's Passion

2. 157 Riverside Avenue

3. Anti Establishment Man

4. Lay Me Down

5. Sophisticated Lady

6. Five Men Were Killed Today

7. Prison Women

8. Dead At Last

Disc 2

1. Let Me Ride

2. How The Story Goes

3. Little Queenie

4. Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone Sometime)

5. Music Man

6. Like You Do

7. Flash Tan Queen

8. Golden Country

x

Track List: REO Speedwagon: The Hits

1. I Don't Want To Lose You

2. Here With Me

3. Roll With The Changes

4. Keep On Loving You

5. That Ain't Love

6. Take It On The Run

7. In My Dreams

8. Don't Let Him Go

9. Can't Fight This Feeling

10. Keep Pushin'

11. Time For Me To Fly

12. One Lonely Night

13. Back On The Road Again

14. Ridin' The Storm Out (Live)

x

Track List: Life As We Know It

1. New Way To Love

2. That Ain't Love

3. In My Dreams

4. One Too Many Girlfriends

5. Variety Tonight

6. Screams And Whispers

7. Can't Get You Out Of My Heart

8. Over The Edge

9. Accidents Can Happen

10. Tired Of Gettin Nowhere

x

Track List: Wheels Are Turnin'

1. I Do' Wanna Know

2. One Lonely Night

3. Thru The Window

4. Rock 'N Roll Star

5. Live Every Moment

6. Can't Fight This Feeling

7. Gotta Feel More

8. Break His Spell

9. Wheels Are Turnin'

x

Track List: Good Trouble

1. Keep The Fire Burnin'

2. Sweet Time

3. Girl With The Heart Of Gold

4. Every Now And Then

5. I'll Follow You

6. The Key

7. Back In My Heart Again

8. Let's Be Bop

9. Stillness Of The Night

10. Good Trouble

x

Track List: Hi Infidelity

1. Don't Let Him Go

2. Keep On Loving You

3. Follow My Heart

4. In Your Letter

5. Take It On The Run

6. Tough Guys

7. Out Of Season

8. Shakin' It Loose

9. Someone Tonight

10. I Wish You Were There

x

Track List: Nine Lives

1. Heavy On Your Love

2. Drop It (An Old Disguise)

3. Only The Strong Survive

4. Easy Money

5. Rock & Roll Music

6. Take Me

7. I Need You Tonight

8. Meet Me On The Mountain

9. Back On The Road Again

x

Track List: You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish

1. Roll With The Changes

2. Time For Me To Fly

3. Runnin' Blind

4. Blazin' Your Own Trail Again

5. Sing To Me

6. Lucky For You

7. Do You Know Where Your Woman Is Tonight

8. The Unidentified Flying Tuna Trot

9. Say You Love Me Or Say Goodnight

x

Track List: You Get What You Play For

1. Like You Do (Live)

2. Lay Me Down (Live)

3. Any Kind Of Love (Live)

4. Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone Sometimes) (Live)

5. Keep Pushin' (Live)

6. Summer Love (Live)

7. Son Of A Poor Man (Live)

8. (I Believe) Our Time Is Gonna Come (Live)

9. Flying Turkey Trot (Live)

10. 157 Riverside Avenue (Live)

11. Ridin' The Storm Out (Live)

12. Music Man (LIve)

13. Golden Country (Live)

Comments

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❤❤❤❤❤
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. . . the way you want it, baby . . .
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My "go to" band...when i need some "me" time
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Take it on the run baby......
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I dont believe it. Not for a minute.
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rem23887
um, why is the album cover a Cheap Trick album cover?
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Such a great ballad!
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Love REO
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Jensen!
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Great song
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I want keep on loving you my Mike your mimi
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I want to keep loving you my love my Mike your mimi
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I waited on Dave Amato at Johnny Rockets, Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT...Summer 2016. I have a pic of us...I love you REO Speedwagon!! You Rocked then and you ROCK now I LOVE YOU, Always, Tammy Wheeler
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Love my REO.
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Don't fight anymore!!!! It's all good!!!
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Great song!!
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But the song is still good t
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He is either missing all his teeth or he has one hell of a speech impediment or he is flamboyant
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Such an awesome beautiful Jam by REO Speedwagon. Keep On Loving You. An awesome love song, one of my favorites by them. REO Speedwagon kicks a**, @ such a totally awesome band! Rock on!
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REO ROCKS����
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This is the music I grew up to people either u like it are u just love it
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justinjenny4 9 5
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That a song I listen in Minnesota Clara City
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if you come crashing through my door I'll take to places you never been ill be here waiting for you my darling my Mike your mimi
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Herd it from a friend who herd it from a friend who heard from another you've been mesin around
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Great band, love their music.
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Artist of years before left sounds. And lirics that touched the feelings and ears so well hearts moved love stired. Minds wondered Steve perry and band put words to song and sound together that made you notice them. Jda
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I would be happy if you would keep on loving me baby Mike love mimi
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My favorite band. Seen them back in early eighties twice. real rock n roll. RIP Gary Richrath...a w e s o m e guitarist
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leilanihodge
You're a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter's night.
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I want to keep loving you too please Call me I waited for you all day I be sad when you won't show up don't listen to negative people I need you
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Take it on the run REO Speedwagon
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❤❤❤❤❤
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your the only man I want to have anything to do with it mimi
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Love this song from REO Speedwagon.
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they talk about you too and don't believe them too I don't think away anymore I'm here for you Mike and I mimi
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we are fighting for your love and your kisses and big hugs mimi
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Perfect rock song. All the instruments are showcased. Doughty's organ play is terrific. Great shows. Brings me back to 1978. There has to be a place in the Rock&Roll Hall of fame for them along with Styx and Journey.
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Is he missing all of his teeth?
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Classic !! Amazing
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To fight this feeling, we need to be protected from head to toes, and a very thick shield of hope around the heart. Love the song
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great song
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0
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I don't want to sleep but I want to love you only you mimi
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My favorite band of all time!!!
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Like the songs but just want to listen to the bag out of hell sound track
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Pitbull made a song called "messing around." Several of the lyrics are the same as this song
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