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Vassallo: REO Speedwagon…Revisited

One cold, gloomy day this coming winter, I’m going to sit down with a pot of coffee and construct a list of my top “100” songs of all time. I don’t know where “Take It On the Run” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” will ultimately rank, but they definitely will be included.

REO Speedwagon was one of the greatest “live” performing bands ever! Formed in 1967, the group is still active today, although several members have been replaced through the years. Originally a Midwest sensation, the band broke out of a regional celebrity status with the introduction of “Hi Infidelity,” a 1980 album which contained four Top 40 hits.

Ten million copies were sold. The album was on the charts for 65 weeks, remaining in the Top 10 for 32 of these and 15 weeks atop Billboard’s 200!

Such an unusual name for a band, it actually came from REO Speed Wagon, a flatbed truck that Neal Doughty (keyboardist) studied in transportation history. The original group consisted of Doughty; Alan Gratzer on drums; Joe Matt, guitar and Mike Blair, bass and vocals. In the spring of 1968, Terry Luttrell became lead
singer and in 1970, prolific songwriter and guitarist Gary Richrath joined the group (Richrath recently passed in September, 2015).

REO’s debut album occurred in 1971 on Epic Records with the most popular track
being “157 Riverside Avenue.” In 1972, Kevin Cronin became lead vocalist who remains with the band today. Doughty is still engaged as well with other members Bruce Hall (1977), Dave Amato (1989) and Bryant Hitt (1989).

This year (2016) REO has toured with Def Leppard and Tesla. And in December, REO will tour the UK.

(Special credit to Wikipedia and Billboard for the historical references.)

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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