REO Speedwagon is an Illinois rock band from Champaign, IL. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970’s and achieved commercial success throughout the 1980’s. The group’s best-selling album Hi Infidelity (1980) contained four Top 40 hits and sold more than 10,000,000 copies. Over the course of their career, the band has sold more than 40,000,000 records and charted the #1 hits “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
The name REO Speedwagon was taken from a 1915 truck designed by Ransom Eli Olds. After several area members joined and left, the band’s lineup consisting of Gary Richrath (guitar), Alan Gratzer (drums), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Gregg Philbin (bass), and Terry Lutrell (vocals) signed with Epic Records in 1971. The band’s first album’s most popular track was “157 Riverside Avenue.” Lutrell left in 1972 and was replaced by Kevin Cronin for R.E.0./T.W.O. Cronin left during 1973’s Ridin’ the Storm Out recording sessions and was replaced with Mike Murphy. Murphy stayed for two albums and was replaced with Kevin Cronin in 1976.
In 1977 their first live album Live: You Get What You Play For was certified platinum and the group relocated to Los Angeles, CA.
Bassist Philbin left the band in 1977 and was replaced with Bruce Hall to record You Can Tuna Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish. The album was released in 1978 and contained the songs “Roll With the Changes” and “Time For Me to Fly.”
In 1980 Epic released Hi Infidelity which represented a change in sound, going from hard rock to more pop-oriented material. The album produced four hits written by Cronin and Richrath including “Take It On the Run,” “In Your Letter,” “Don’t Let Him Go,” and “Keep On Loving You.” The band’s follow-up album Good Trouble released in 1982 produced hit singles “Keep the Fire Burnin’,” “Sweet Time,” and “The Key.” In 1984, the band released Wheels Are Turnin’ which included the #1 hit single “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
In 1985, the band appeared at the US leg of Live Aid in Philadelphia where they performed “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “Roll With the Changes” with members of the Beach Boys and Paul Shaffer.
REO Speedwagon’s current lineup includes Kevin Cronin (vocals), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (guitar), and Bryan Hitt (drums).
To this day the band remains a popular live act and in 2021 were elected into the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.