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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. Dont Let Him Go (Live)

2. Keep On Loving You (Live)

3. In Your Letter (Live)

4. Take It On The Run (Live)

5. Keep On Pushin' (Live)

6. Golden Country (Live)

7. Can't Fight This Feeling (Live)

8. Like You Do (Live)

9. Time For Me To Fly (Live)

10. Back On The Road Again (Live)

11. Roll With The Changes (Live)

12. Ridin' Out The Storm (Live)

13. 157 Riverside Avenue (Live)

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

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)

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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I can't fight this feeling anymore..... . . Stalker
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Good writing to be sure. Old school story telling put to music.
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Journey remains in my heart always... Da Captain
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Beautiful love song by one of my favorite group
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Great song. Small town people can identify.
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Love
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Love the song!!
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angel w hot
red hair
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I love them now even more <3
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Seen many times local
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I love this band. They had ways to putting a song together that help express how we felt about life and love back then. I would sing on of y'all song and be happy and care free. Thanks for the memories.
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Great back set song, Ice Man.
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Remember the 80
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Best stuff ever��������
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Rip gary
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Dis dad good stuff
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❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
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I just had to look up Reo because my great uncle is Mike Murphy and its so cool that he made billboard and his songs are on Pandora
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Haven't listened to this song since 1985, can't and won't .......
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Bring back memories of the 80's
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carminamoral e s 0 1 1
OMG.i die for yoy
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lindahuerta4 2 1
So happy u r clear bout your new love. Thsnk you for helping me see who it was.

I really needed ur help. Im happy u finally decided to not fight the feeling of being in love. Ive 4gotten. Long ago. Ill figure wat is PLANS....... . . .
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This song brings back wonderful memories of me and my sister
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Good song, brings back so many memories
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love reo speedwagon.. i t s time for me to fly...
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Im in �� love again����... Thats what i think every time i lisen to this song but i dont have nobody jet������
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So smooth and soulful
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Good music.
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Not my favorite band, but they do mix in well.
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Their show in St. Louis was fantastic they played more older songs that Gary Richrath wrote. Still love them live and RIP Gary, loved your Gibson Les Paul squeals .
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This goes out to a very special person who has come into my life and given meaning to it! Elizabeth Te Amo!!!!
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troy_gillasp i e
DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE IF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOR LIFE. NOW YOU'VE STARTED READING THIS. DON'T STOP THIS IS SO FREAKY. But if you read this and ignore it, then you will have very bad luck PUT THIS ON 15 SONGS IN 143 MINUTES. WHEN YOURE DONE PRESS THE SPACE BAR AND YOUR CRUSH'S NAME WILL APPEAR IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN THIS IS SO CREAPY CAUSE IT ACTUALLY WORKS
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didn't mention A Decade of Rock and Roll released in 79/80 - an absolutely excellent album :)
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Love it...
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What great memories listening to this on vinyl as a young lad.. Damn great tune
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I'll never listen to this song again.......
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I sure wish not to ever leaving the one with the broken heart just always a welcome back
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Great show at the Hard Rock in t-town, closed with Stranglehold
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troykeller88 7 8
Love REO love Time for me to fly
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IDK about you but this song sums up how I feel after one of my ships become canon."I can't fight this feeling anymore, I've forgotten what I've stared fighting for, it's time to bring this ship ' n to the shores and throw away the oars forever". LOL
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Nice
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Kevin wrote Keep on Loving You...which gave him, unfortunatel y , some kind of executive power. The record company wanted more wimpy ballads (please stop calling them power ballads). Gary was kicked out because Kevin had too much power, and Gary had too much fun. Holy cow, could Gary party! I say these things from experience.. . R I P Gary Richrath...
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Don't read this because it actually works you will be kissed by the love of your life tomorrow will be the best day of your life however if you don't you will be injured but won't die in two days now that you've started reading don't stop post this on 5 different songs in the next 143 mins when you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear in big letters this is scary because it work
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rich.carrera s
one of the best make out songs of my sophomore year in high school....gr e a t memories :)
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This was my goodbye song to my ex.......the words said it all......
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lpaulae
REOs best ballad..
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Best band to skate to and sing too.
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This is REO's BEST LP...Roller Skate Back/wards song..That Tuna Fish joke was Toooo Funnny...I Yi Yi..LOL
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alabastervil l i s 0
just another tragic waste of potential talent, in the same vein as journey, a good rock band that was good as they dipped their toes into the 80s but once they got the kiss of death top ten hit they became wussified and went the route of horrid chessy pop ballads. selling their souls for profit and alienating their base fans for 15min ones comprised of fly by night female fair weather fans. good choice hey maybe their playen at your local county fair soon? do yourself a favor and stay home.
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This was in Horton hears a Who? Really?!?
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