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R.E.O. Speedwagon

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R.E.O. Speedwagon - R.E.O. / T.W.O. (Epic PE 31745) [1979 Reissue] (1972)

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ITEM# SR-EPPE31745
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Artist:

R.E.O. Speedwagon

Title:

R.E.O. / T.W.O.

Released: 1972
Label: Epic
Catalog: PE 31745
Genre: Rock
NOTE: 1979 Reissue
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Let Me Ride
02 How The Story Goes
03 Little Queenie
04 Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone Sometimes)
05 Music Man
06 Like You Do
07 Flash Tan Queen
08 Golden Country
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Album Reveiw

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

As soon as REO Speedwagon's second album -- aptly titled T.W.O. -- kicks off with "Let Me Ride," it's clear that the band has made some significant strides in gaining a personality. Part of this is due to singer Terry Luttrell being swapped out for Kevin Cronin, whose keening tenor is markedly different from Luttrell's bluesy gargle, and part is due to three of the songs, dramatic multi-sectioned rockers, being more distinguished than the pedestrian boogie of the debut. That boogie hasn't been abandoned -- the group takes the swing out of Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie," which brings it closer to the anonymous thud that characterizes Gary Richrath's "Flash Tan Queen," along with much of the rest of the album. Although REO don't always succeed when opening up their music -- "Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone Sometimes)" winds up getting stuck in the murk -- Cronin's two side-openers of "Let Me Ride" and "Music Man" point the way toward the group's classic sound.


REO Speedwagon - You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish [Epic JE 35082] (3-16-1978)

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Artist:

REO Speedwagon

Title:

You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish

Released: 3-16-1978
Label: Epic
Catalog: JE 35082
Genre: Rock


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Roll With The Changes
02 Time For Me To Fly
03 Runnin' Blind
04 Blazin' Your Own Trail Again
05 Sing To Me
06 Lucky For You
07 Do You Know Where Your Woman Is Tonight?
08 The Unidentified Flying Tuna Trot
09 Say You Love Me Or Say Goodnight
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Album Review

You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can't Tuna Fish is the seventh studio album by REO Speedwagon, released in 1978. It was their first album to be co-produced by lead singer Kevin Cronin and lead guitarist Gary Richrath. The album was REO's first to make the Top 40, peaking at No. 29. The album sold over 2 million copies in the US, which led it to being certified 2 Platinum.

This is the first album to feature Bruce Hall on bass, replacing Gregg Philbin. In 2013, the album was released on CD by UK-based company Rock Candy Records, with expanded liner notes and photos.

The track ''Time for Me to Fly'' was covered by Dolly Parton on her 1989 album White Limozeen. In 2005, the album cover was featured on Pitchfork Media's list of ''The Worst Record Covers of All Time'', and in 2014 its title was featured in NME's list of ''The 50 Worst Album Titles in History''. [wikipedia.org]


REO Speedwagon - Wheels Are Turnin' (Epic QE 39593) (1984)

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ITEM# SR-EPQE39593
Ratings: C=NM-; LP=NM

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Artist:

REO Speedwagon

Title:

Wheels Are Turnin'

Released: 1984
Label: Epic
Catalog: QE 39593
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 I Dowanna Know
02 One Lonely Night
03 Thru The Window
04 Rock 'n Roll Star
05 Live Every Moment
06 Can't Fight This Feeling
07 Gotta Feel More
08 Break His Spell
09 Wheels Are Turnin'
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Album Reveiw

Mike DeGagne [allmusic.com]

Wheels Are Turnin' blends clear, crisp ballads with high-energy pop/rock, which eventually gave REO Speedwagon four Top 40 singles, the same amount as Hi Infidelity credited them with four years earlier. Kevin Cronin's writing is rock-solid, a delightful turnaround from 1982's Good Trouble album. As one of the band's best ballads, "Can't Fight This Feeling" puts an elegant piano riff in front of Cronin's earnest voice, presenting REO with its second number one single, while "I Do' Wanna Know" is a turbulent ride of clean-cut guitar and up-and-down piano that comes off as well-crafted pop with a bite. Every track has the band sounding sharper and more alive, with even the less-extravagant material like "Break His Spell" and "Thru the Window" emanating merit. "One Lonely Night" throws the spotlight on Cronin's voice, proving that his expertise at carrying out the slow stuff hasn't dwindled, while "Live Every Moment" rounds out the last of the singles from the album, hitting number 34 in August of 1985, eight months after Wheels Are Turnin' achieved its number-seven mark on the U.S. charts. With production, songwriting, and tight instrumentation wisely dished out in equal portions, Wheels Are Turnin' was evidence that REO Speedwagon could still make some gratifying rock & roll.


REO Speedwagon - Life As We Know It [Epic FE 40444] (1987)

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ITEM# SR-EPFE40444
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Artist:

REO Speedwagon

Title:

Life As We Know It

Released: 1987
Label: Epic
Catalog: FE 40444
Genre: Pop, Rock


T R A C K L I S T:
01 New Way To Love
02 That Ain't Love
03 In My Dreams
04 One Too Many Girlfriends
05 Variety Tonight
06 Screams And Whispers
07 Can't Get You Out Of My Heart
08 Over The Edge
09 Accidents Can Happen
10 Tired Of Gettin' Nowhere
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Album Review

Life as We Know It is the twelfth studio album by REO Speedwagon, released in 1987. It features ''That Ain't Love'' and ''In My Dreams'', both of which were Top 20 hits; ''Variety Tonight'', which reached #60 on the Hot 100; and ''One Too Many Girlfriends'', which showcased the growing tensions between band members Kevin Cronin and Gary Richrath. At one point, ''New Way to Love'' was considered for use in the film Top Gun. This is the group's final studio release with Richrath and Gratzer, as well as their final top 40 album to date. [wikipedia.org]

R.E.O. Speedwagon's Biography

by Greg Prato [allmusic.com]

Three bands were the undisputed arena rock kings of the early '80s -- Styx, Journey, and REO Speedwagon -- yet all weren't overnight success stories (in fact, each group began pursuing different musical styles originally -- prog rock, fusion, and straight-ahead hard rock, respectively, before transforming slowly into chart-topping mainstream rockers). REO Speedwagon first formed in 1968, via a pair of University of Illinois students, keyboardist Neal Doughty and drummer Alan Gratzer. After graduation, the group signed on with then-unknown manager Irving Azoff (who would later guide the careers of such multi-platinum acts as the Eagles and Steely Dan), which led to the outfit building a devoted following in the Midwest due to nonstop touring. By the early '70s, Doughty and Gratzer had welcomed aboard guitarist Gary Richrath, who would soon prove to be the group's spark plug (and one of rock's more underrated players), in addition to bassist Gregg Philbin and singer Terry Luttrell. It was this lineup to be featured on the quintet's 1971 self-titled debut recording for Epic Records.

The debut failed to break REO through to the mainstream, as the band's future was thrust into uncertainty shortly thereafter, when Luttrell left the band. Newcomer Kevin Cronin got the gig, he was a folksinger/guitarist beforehand, with little to no experience fronting a loud rock & roll outfit. The Cronin-led lineup appeared to be headed in the right direction though, judging from 1972's R.E.O. T.W.O., but the other members grew impatient with their slow progress toward a commercial breakthrough, and gave Cronin his walking papers. Up next as REO's frontman was Mike Murphy, whose debut with the band, 1974's Ridin' the Storm Out, was their first album to chart on Billboard and spawned a concert standard with the rocarole_king title track. Murphy stayed onboard for a couple of more releases -- 1974's Lost in a Dream and 1975's This Time We Mean It -- but neither managed to push REO to the next level.

Once more, a frontman change was required, and instead of searching for a fresh new face, REO welcomed back Cronin. The move paid off almost immediately, as REO found their niche by streamlining their sound and focusing on melodic rockers aimed at radio, as well as power ballads aimed at teenage girls' hearts. Released in 1976, R.E.O. signaled the beginning of the veteran group's winning streak, as both 1977's Live: You Get What You Play For and 1978's You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish were REO's first to earn gold and platinum certification. Another live album, Live Again, was also issued in 1978, followed up a year later by another gold-certified hit, Nine Lives. Although REO was slowly inching their way to big-time success, no one (not even the band) could have predicted the massive hit that their next album turned out to be, Hi Infidelity. Issued at the tail end of 1980, it became one of 1981's biggest albums -- spawning one of the best-known power ballads of all time, "Keep on Loving You," as well as such popular rock radio hits as "Don't Let Him Go" and "Take It on the Run." Hi Infidelity would eventually go on to sell more than nine million copies -- catapulting REO to arena-headlining status.

REO Speedwagon continued to score further hit albums (1982's Good Trouble, 1984's Wheels Are Turnin') and singles ("Keep the Fire Burnin'," the number one hit power ballad "Can't Fight This Feeling," etc.), but the hits dried up shortly thereafter. Issued in 1987, Life as We Know It managed to go gold, but their fans' sudden disinterest coupled with turmoil between certain bandmembers led to the exit of both Richrath and Gratzer by the end of the decade. REO opted to soldier on, however, with replacement members Dave Amato (ex-Ted Nugent, guitar) and Bryan Hitt (ex-Wang Chung, drums) in tow, as their 14-track 1988 compilation The Hits proved to be a steady seller over the years. Further underappreciated studio releases followed, such as 1990's The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken and 1996's Building the Bridge. With interest at an all-time low, REO was set to pack it up for good, until a sudden wave of renewed interest in classic rock bands of yesteryear began to sweep the U.S. during the late '90s, resulting in REO launching successful co-headlining tours alongside such acts as Styx, Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bad Company, among others.

The '90s saw the emergence of countless REO compilations, including such titles as The Second Decade of Rock n' Roll: 1981 to 1991, Only the Strong Survive, The Ballads, and a specially priced three-disc set of Live: You Get What You Play For, You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish, and Hi Infidelity. Additionally, further in-concert releases cropped up -- Live: Plus, Extended Versions, and a 2001 live set, Arch Allies: Live at Riverport, split 50/50 between REO and touring mates Styx. In a 2001 episode of VH1's Behind the Music series that focused on REO Speedwagon, Cronin and Richrath cleared up any misconceptions of ill will existing between either camp and voiced approval of a possible reunion in the future. When REO returned to the studio later in the 2000s, however, it was without Richrath. Find Your Own Way Home, the band's first studio album of new songs in more than ten years, featured Cronin along with founding member Neal Doughty on keyboards, longtime bassist Bruce Hall, and '80s additions Amato and Hitt. This lineup also released an unabashed record of Christmas songs in 2009, titled Not So Silent Night.
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