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REO Speedwagon Biography

Home > Music > R > REO Speedwagon > Biography

Birth Place: Champaign, Illinois, United States
Years Active: 1967–present
Genres: Rock, AOR

REO Speedwagon is an American rock band. Formed in 1967, the band grew in popularity during the 1970s and peaked in the early 1980s.

Over the course of its career, the band has sold more than forty million records and has charted thirteen Top 40 hits. REO Speedwagon's popularity has declined over the years but the band still tours regularly, and remains popular on the fair and casino circuits and teams up with other acts to play larger venues.

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".

REO Speedwagon's first live album, “Live: You Get What You Play For” (1977), was certified platinum. It featured a live performance of the title track to their 1973 album “Ridin' the Storm Out.”

“You Can Tune a Piano but You Can't Tuna Fish,” released in 1978 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.”

Released in the fall of 1980, “Hi Infidelity” is the group's most commercially successful album, selling over ten million copies and charting four Top 40 hits in the US. “Hi Infidelity” spawned four hit singles, 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).

By the end of the 1980s, the band's popularity was waning. The 1990 release “The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken” 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.

The 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.

In November 2009, REO Speedwagon released a Christmas album, “Not So Silent Night... Christmas with REO Speedwagon.”