REO Speedwagon
REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

About REO Speedwagon

Although many old-school rock bands had a rough time adjusting to the 1981 emergence of MTV, REO Speedwagon navigated the video age with flying colors. Chalk it up to good timing: From day one, MTV embraced the group’s engaging live performance videos and the pop-leaning vibe of their LPs, especially 1980’s Hi Infidelity, which featured the smoldering power ballads “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On the Run.” REO Speedwagon initially formed in a more analog time—the late 1960s, in Champaign, IL—and cut their teeth playing at bars and frat parties before debuting with a self-titled album in 1971. After a series of personnel shifts, the band’s lineup eventually settled to include songwriters/guitarists Gary Richrath and Kevin Cronin, who split lead-vocal duties until the latter took over full time in the late ’70s. That proved to be the group’s career turning point, as a sprawling 1977 live jam on “Ridin’ the Storm Out” became their first charting hit, leading to their breakthrough album, You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish, which included the soulful, piano-driven barn burner “Roll With the Changes.” The momentum carried the band through Hi Infidelity and beyond, as REO Speedwagon enjoyed video and concert success in the ’80s and have since sustained a robust pop-culture presence. In 2016, Pitbull interpolated lyrics from “Take It On the Run” in his Enrique Iglesias collaboration “Messin’ Around,” and the band and their songs experienced a popularity surge in 2020 after an appearance on the TV series Ozark.

  • ORIGIN
    Champaign, IL
  • FORMED
    1967

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