REO Speedwagon is a rock band originally formed in Illinois with a long history. They have scored numerous big hits along the way since the group's beginnings in 1967. The band has gone through numerous personnel changes, but in the late '70s through the '80s they racked up an impressive string of hit singles and albums. Although they are a rocking outfit, among their biggest successes are a couple of power ballads that became iconic within the classic rock and soft rock genres. The band's 9th album Hi Infidelity, released in 1980 elevated REO Speedwagon to the top tier of hit-makers of the day. Powered by singer/songwriter Kevin Cronin's vocals, the collection included the band's first number one hit single "Keep On Loving You." Their 1984 album Wheels Are Turnin' contained the band's other huge chart-topper and second successful power ballad "Can't Fight This Feeling." Here are ten of REO Speedwagon's best known and best loved songs.
This is a guitar-based rocker from the band's 1979 album Nine Lives. Written and sung by bass player Bruce Hall, this gets the guitar shredder treatment to great effect. One more song about the life of a rock musician on the road.
A rhythmic rocker from the band's 1981 album Hi Infidelity, this track was released as a single as well. It tells the tale of a friend imploring his buddy's girlfriend not to end their relationship. There is a lot of instrumental variety including some keyboards that have a flute-like sound as well as Cronin's ( who also wrote the tune) plaintive vocal.
This was a top ten single release from the 1982 album Good Trouble. It features lead singer Kevin Cronin on piano, as well as some screaming guitar work from Gary Richrath. Cronin wrote the song that has an anthemic quality to it.
The title track from REO Speedwagon's 1973 album, this is a rocker that features Mike Murphy, who was the band's lead sing at the time, on vocals on the studio version. The song was written by lead guitarist Richrath. The story of the song was inspired by the band's experience getting through a blizzard in Colorado.
This was a single taken from the 1978 album You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can't Tuna Fish. It was written by Cronin and showcases some guitar wizardry by Richrath. The track was ,and is a rocking REO Speedwagon crowd pleaser in concert.
Also a single from 1978, this was written by Kevin Cronin. At the time the band was more of an album selling act, but this was when they were on the verge of becoming both a group with hit albums and hit singles. This mid-tempo track is loaded with dynamics and vocal hooks.
This track is from the band's 1987 album Life as We Know It. It definitely has instrumental and production touches that reflect the era of synth pop that was so popular at the time. It is was written by Cronin and much traveled songwriter Tom Kelly, he of many writing credits including penning hits for Madonna and The Bangles. "In My Dreams" was a top 20 single for REO Speedwagon.
Written by the band's lead guitarist, the late Gary Rickrath, this track from the mega-hit album Hi Infidelity was released as a single and was the follow-up to the number one smash "Keep on Loving You." It went to number 5 in 1981 at the dawn of the MTV music video age.
This was the first of the band's two hugely successful power ballad singles. It was written by Kevin Cronin and was a number one hit and certified platinum. Rickrath's lead guitar soars over the piano and crunchy distortion sustained rhythm guitar chords as well as Cronin's lead vocal on the chorus. A hit formula that was masterfully executed.
In 1984 REO Speedwagon once again hit with a super-strong power ballad that topped the charts. Written by Cronin, this is the band's biggest hit single. With a plaintive, haunting chord progression and melody, the song is also one of their best lyrical pieces. Lots of clever non-stock wording that transcends the usual moon/June type love song approach. The track was undeniable, highly infectious and commercial. A high point in a long career.