Bit rate: 192 kps
Festival Stage, Sweden Rock Festival, Norje, Sweden, Saturday 2007-06-09
Recorded live by Swedish Radio, channel P4, and broadcasted 2007-12-08 - FM Broadcast
Kevin Cronin - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Dave Amato - lead guitar, vocals
Bruce Hall - bass guitar, vocals
Neal Doughty - keyboards
Bryan Hitt - drums, percussion
01 - Music Man
02 - Take It On The Run
03 - Keep Pushin'
04 - I Needed To Fall
05 - Smiling In The End
06 - Time For Me To Fly
07 - Back On The Road Again
08 - Keep On Loving You
09 - Roll With The Changes
10 - Riding The Storm Out
11 - 157 Riverside Avenue
REO Speedwagon on their Love on the Run tour, 2010. L-R: Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Bryan Hitt, Kevin Cronin, and Dave Amato.
|Origin||Champaign, Illinois, United States|
|Genres||Hard rock, soft rock, AOR|
|Years active||1967 - present|
|Dave Amato |
|Gary Richrath |
Bill Fiorio (aka Duke Tumatoe)
HistoryREO Speedwagon took its name from the REO Speed Wagon, a flatbed truck and fire engine, manufactured by the REO Motor Car Company. ("R.E.O." are initials of the company's founder, Ransom Eli Olds, who also founded Oldsmobile, once a division of General Motors.)
REO Speedwagon was formed by students attending the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois in the fall of 1967 to play cover songs in campus bars. The first line up consisted of Alan Gratzer on drums and vocals, Neal Doughty on keyboards, Joe Matt on guitar and vocals, and Mike Blair on bass and vocals. In the spring of 1968, Terry Luttrell became lead singer, and Bob Crownover and Gregg Philbin replaced Matt and Blair. Joe McCabe played sax at this time until moving to Southern Illinois University. Crownover played guitar for the group until the summer of 1969 when Bill Fiorio replaced him. Fiorio then departed in late 1969, eventually assuming the name Duke Tumatoe, and went on to form the All Star Frogs. Another guitarist, Steve Scorfina, came aboard briefly, and was replaced by Gary Richrath in late 1970.
Richrath was a Peoria, Illinois-based guitar player and prolific songwriter who brought original material to the band including REO's signature song "Ridin' the Storm Out". With Richrath on board, the regional popularity of the band grew tremendously. The Midwestern United States was the original REO Speedwagon fan stronghold and is pivotal in this period of the band's history.
The band signed to Epic Records in 1971. Paul Leka, an East Coast record producer, brought the band to his recording studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut where it recorded original material for its first album. The lineup on the first album consisted of Richrath, Gratzer, Doughty, Philbin, and Luttrell.
Early yearsStarting out with their equipment being hauled to dates in a friend's used station wagon, REO played bars all over the Midwest. The band's debut album, REO Speedwagon, was released on Epic Records in 1971. The most popular track on this record was "157 Riverside Avenue". The title refers to the Westport, Connecticut address where the band stayed while recording in Leka's studio in nearby Bridgeport and remains an in-concert favorite.
Although the rest of the band's line-up remained stable, REO Speedwagon switched lead vocalists three times for their first three albums. Luttrell left the band in early 1972, eventually becoming the vocalist for Starcastle. He was replaced by Kevin Cronin. Cronin recorded one album with the band, 1972's R.E.O./T.W.O. but left the band during the recording sessions for 1973's Ridin' the Storm Out because of ego conflicts. Ridin' the Storm Out was completed with Michael Bryan Murphy on lead vocal. Murphy stayed on for two more albums, Lost in a Dream and This Time We Mean It, before Cronin returned to the fold in January 1976 and recorded R.E.O., which was released that same year. Cronin's return came after Greg X. Volz turned down the position for lead vocals due to his conversion to Christianity.
REO Speedwagon's first live album, Live: You Get What You Play For (1977), was certified platinum. In 1977, Philbin was replaced with Bruce Hall to record You Can Tune a Piano but You Can't Tuna Fish, released in 1978 which received FM radio airplay. The album was REO's first to make the Top 40, peaking at #29. The album sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. which led it to go 2x Platinum. In 1979, the band took a turn back to hard rock with the release of Nine Lives.
Mainstream successThe lineup was now set for the band's most popular era. In the fall of 1980, REO Speedwagon released Hi Infidelity, which represented a change in the music from hard rock to more pop-oriented material. Hi Infidelity spawned four hit singles written by Richrath and Cronin, including the #1 "Keep On Loving You", the #5 "Take It on the Run", "In Your Letter" (#20), and "Don't Let Him Go" (#24), and remained on the charts for 65 weeks, 32 of which were spent in the top ten, including 15 weeks atop the Billboard 200.
Good Trouble (1982) and Wheels Are Turnin' (1984) were follow-up albums which also did well commercially, the former containing the hit singles "Keep the Fire Burnin'" (U.S. #7) and "Sweet Time" (U.S. #26) and the latter containing the #1 hit single "Can't Fight This Feeling" plus three more hits: "I Do' Wanna Know" (U.S. #29), "One Lonely Night" (U.S. #19) and "Live Every Moment" (U.S. #34).
On July 13, 1985, the band made a stop in Philadelphia (en route to a show in Milwaukee) to play at the US Leg of Live Aid. They performed "Can't Fight this Feeling" and "Roll With The Changes", which featured members of the Beach Boys, the REO Speedwagon band members families, and Paul Shaffer on stage for backing vocals. 1987's Life as We Know It saw a decline in sales, but still managed to provide the band with the hits "That Ain't Love" (U.S. #16) and "In My Dreams" (U.S. #19).
Declining popularityBy the end of the 1980s, the band's popularity was waning. In September 1988, Gratzer retired and in early 1989, Richrath was asked to leave over disagreements with Cronin regarding musical direction. Cronin had been playing in a jazz ensemble called "The Strolling Dudes" with jazz horn player Rick Braun, Miles Joseph on lead guitar and Graham Lear on drums. Lear was invited to join REO to replace Gratzer and Joseph was brought in as a temporary guitarist. Back up singers Carla Day and Melanie Jackson were also added in 1989 to boost the group's vocal sound onstage. This lineup did only one show—in Viña del Mar, Chile—winning the award for best group at the city's annual International Song Festival. After that, Miles Joseph and the back up singers were dropped in favor of former Ted Nugent guitarist Dave Amato and songwriter/producer/keyboardist Jesse Harms (Eddie Money, Sammy Hagar).
The 1990 release The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken, with Bryan Hitt (formerly of Wang Chung) replacing Graham Lear on drums, Dave Amato debuting on lead guitar, and songwriter/keyboardist Jesse Harms was a commercial disappointment. The album produced only one, and at this time the last, Billboard Hot 100 single, "Love Is a Rock" at #66. Harms was disillusioned and his tenure in the group ended in early 1991.
Shortly after his departure, Richrath assembled former members of the midwestern band Vancouver to form a namesake band, Richrath. After touring for several years, the Richrath band released Only the Strong Survive in 1992 on the GNP Crescendo label. Richrath continued to perform for several years before disbanding in the late 1990s.
In the meantime, REO Speedwagon lost their recording contract with Epic, and ended up releasing Building the Bridge (1996) on the Priority/Rhythm Safari label. When that label went bankrupt, the album was released on the ill-fated Castle Records which also experienced financial troubles. REO Speedwagon ultimately self-financed this effort, which failed to chart.
Revival of the hitsThe commercial failure of the band's newer material with its revised lineup demanded a change in marketing strategy. As a consequence, Epic began re-releasing recordings from older albums with updated artwork and design.
From 1995 to the present, the label released over a dozen compilation albums featuring greatest hits, including 1999's The Ballads. In 2000, REO teamed up with Styx for an appearance at Riverport Amphitheater in St. Louis, which was released as a live concert video Arch Allies: Live at Riverport. The REO portion of the show was released again under three separate titles: Live - Plus (2001), Live Plus 3 (2001) and Extended Versions (2001)(which was certified Gold by the RIAA on 4/26/2006). REO once again teamed with Styx in 2003 for the Classic Rock's Main Event tour which also included Journey. In 2008 they teamed with Styx and Def Leppard for another major tour headlined by Def Leppard to promote its latest album.
CurrentThe band released a self-financed album entitled Find Your Own Way Home in April 2007. Though it did not chart as an album, it produced two singles which appeared on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart.
REO Speedwagon continues to tour regularly, performing mostly their classic hits. They are popular on the fair and casino circuits, but still team with other acts to play large venues. They teamed up with Styx to record a new single entitled "Can't Stop Rockin'", released in March 2009, as well as for a full tour that includes special guest .38 Special.
In November 2009, REO Speedwagon released a Christmas album, Not So Silent Night...Christmas with REO Speedwagon.
On December 2, 2009, REO Speedwagon released an online video game, Find Your Own Way Home, produced by digital design agency, Curious Sense. The game was the first "downloadable casual game" produced with a rock band and was cited by numerous publications including the New York Times as an innovative marketing product for a music act.
- Neal Doughty (Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Synthesizers) (1967–present)
- Kevin Cronin (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano) (1972–1973, 1976–present)
- Bruce Hall (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals) (1977–present)
- Dave Amato (Lead Guitar, Banjo, Dobro, Backing Vocals, 12 String Guitar) (1989–present)
- Bryan Hitt (Drums, Percussions) (1990–present)
- Joe Matt (Lead Guitar, Vocals) (1967–1968)
- Bob Crownover (Lead Guitar) (1968–1969)
- Bill Fiorio (aka) Duke Tumatoe (Lead Guitar) (1969)
- Steve Scorfina (Lead Guitar) (1969–1970)
- Gary Richrath (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Slide Guitar, Acoustic & Classical Guitar) (1970–1989)
- Miles Joseph (Lead Guitar) (1989)
- Joe McCabe (Sax) (1968)
- Mike Blair (Bass Guitar, Vocals) (1967–1968)
- Gregg Philbin (Bass Guitar) (1968–1977)
- Terry Luttrell (Lead Vocals) (1968–1972)
- Mike Murphy (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar) (1973–1976)
- Alan Gratzer (Drums, Percussions, Backing Vocals) (1967–1988)
- Graham Lear (Drums, Percussions) (1988–1990)
- Jesse Harms (Keyboards, Backing Vocals) (1989–1991)
- REO Speedwagon (1971)
- R.E.O./T.W.O. (1972)
- Ridin' the Storm Out (1973)
- Lost in a Dream (1974)
- This Time We Mean It (1975)
- R.E.O. (1976)
- You Get What You Play For (1977)
- You Can Tune a Piano but You Can't Tuna Fish (1978)
- Nine Lives (1979)
- Hi Infidelity (1980)
- Good Trouble (1982)
- Wheels Are Turnin' (1984)
- Life as We Know It (1987)
- The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken (1990)
- Building the Bridge (1996)
- Find Your Own Way Home (2007)