REO Speedwagon, the name was lifted from a fire engine, released several albums before they decided to ride the Rock ballad wave ("Keep On Lovin' You" & "Take It On The Run"). From the Midwest, Champaign, IL, the group started in '68 and recorded their first album in '71. It proved to be a long and difficult climb to the top. Between the first and second albums Kevin Cronin was installed on vocals. But after "R.E.O. T.W.O" Cronin was gone (differences with guitarist Gary Richrath) and replaced by Mike Murphy for the next three albums.
With Cronin back in the fold, and thanks to an intense touring schedule, REO Speedwagon nailed its first commercial success with the live double album "You Get What You Play For."
Two more solid albums rolled out, "You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish" with "Roll With The Changes" and "Nine Lives." '80 saw a compilation of R.E.O.'s career to that point, "A Decade Of Rock 'n' Roll, 1970-1980." It didn't have much impact but the next album sure did.
"Hi Infidelity," with "Keep On Lovin' You" & "Take It On The Run," was a mega-seller that topped the album charts. Subsequent albums "Good Trouble" and "Wheels Are Turnin'," with another ballad, "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Life As We Know It" fed off "Hi Infidelity's" success. By the '90s the group was on the summer tour revival circuit.
1971 REO Speedwagon
1973 Ridin' The Storm Out
1974 Lost In A Dream
1975 This Time We Mean It
1977 Live: You Get What You Play For
1978 You Can Tune A Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish
1979 Nine Lives
1980 Hi Infidelity
1982 Good Trouble
1984 Wheels Are Turnin'
1987 Life As We Know It
1990 The Earth, A Small Man, His Dog And A Chicken
1996 Building The Bridge
2007 Find Your Own Way Home
"Hi Infidelity" was not only REO Speedwagon's most popular album but also their best. "Hits" is just that. From their pre-mega fame days "You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish" is the best. The group's post "Hi Infidelity" albums feature ballads and those ballads are the most memorable songs. "Wheels A Turnin'," is the best from that period. "Decade of Rock 'n' Roll, 1970-1980" is a lackluster effort.