Tag Archives: REO Speedwagon

Episode 13: 80s Movie Villains

Welcome back to a new podcast episode! This week is another 80s crossover event from the 80s League! This month’s topic is 80s Movie Villains. Robert and Paul go through some of their favorite/most hated 80s movie villains. Paul also broke down and watched last year’s Ghostbusters movie. Come hear the exclusive review in this show. There is a new Play This, Not That, featuring Survivor. We had a Remember That Song winner, so there is a new one this week.

We would love to hear who some of your favorite 80s villains are. Please comment below, or email us at returnto80s@gmail.com.


Opening Segment of this 80s Crossover Event


Check out these sites that are participating this month:

80s Reboot Overdrive

Killer Kitsch

Old School Evil

Rediscover the 80s

Stuck in the 80s

Weegiemidget

Robert’s Return to the ’80s article

– Paul’s Ghostbusters (2016) review

– Robert’s Journey article – In Defense of Journey Without Steve Perry

– Journey dedicating “Lights” to John Wetton

– R.I.P. Chuck Berry

Play This, Not That – Survivor

Instead of “Eye of the Tiger”

Play “Rebel Girl”

Shall We Play a Game?

Remember That Song

Last Song: “Take It on the Run” by REO Speedwagon

Winner: Candy (@candyissodandy)

New Song: Around the 15:50 mark

80s Trivia

No winners last week. The question is around the 16:10 mark

’80s Movie Villains

– Ian McDiarmid – the Emperor from Return of the Jedi (The Empire Strikes Back was edited to include McDiarmid in the 2004 re-release)

– Thomas Wilson – Biff Tannen from Back to the Future

– Mr. T – Clubber Lang from Rocky III

– Anne Ramsey, Robert Davi, and Joe Pantoliano – The Fratellis from The Goonies

– Clancy Brown – The Kurgan from Highlander

– Alan Rickman – Hans Gruber from Die Hard

– Jim Youngs – Chuck Cranston from Footloose

– Steven Berkoff – Victor Maitland from Beverly Hills Cop

– Glenn Close – Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction

– William Zabka and Martin Kove – Johnny Lawrence and John Kreece from The Karate Kid

Closing

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Remember That Song: 12/17/15

’70s Week continues! Today, we have some guilty pleasures.

Song 1:
Can you name the artist and song? (the band or the singer are acceptable)

So what am I so afraid of?
I’m afraid that I’m not sure of a love there is no cure for


Song 2:
Can you name the artist and song:

If you change your mind, I’m the first in line
Honey I’m still free


Song 3:

Can you name the artist and song:

Young man, there’s a place you can go
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough


Yesterday’s songs:
Great job Robert (@mishouenglish) for getting all of these!!!

Song 1:

“Tush” by ZZ Top from Fandango! (1975)

I been bad, I been good,
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood


Song 2:

“Roll With the Changes” by REO Speedwagon from You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish (1978)

As soon as you are able
Woman I am willing
To make the break that we
Are on the brink of


Song 3:

“Come Sail Away” by Styx from The Grand Illusion (1977)

I look to the sea
Reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had

Gary Richrath Tribute

Sadly, REO Speedwagon guitarist and songwriter, Gary Richrath, died this past Sunday, September 13, 2015 at the age of 65. The cause of death has not been given yet.

Robert has written a great tribute to this guitar legend.


My First Guitar Hero Has Passed

REO Speedwagon Live

I was personally taken aback Monday night when I read about the death of Gary Richrath, REO Speedwagon’s original guitarist. A few months ago I wrote about Hi Infidelity, the first album I ever bought with my own money. That album and Richrath’s guitar work mark the beginning of my passionate love affair with ‘80s rock. Since those days I have never been without some form of music with me – records, cassettes, CDs, MP3s, – whatever, no matter, I need it. I owe this love of the guitar and rock ‘n roll to the amazing guitar work of Gary Richrath. It is with a heavy heart that I am listening to his guitar with REO Speedwagon as I write this.

Richrath was a founding member of the band from Champaign, Illinois. He remained the band’s lead guitarist and primary songwriter with lead vocalist Kevin Cronin (actually the REO’s second vocalist) until 1987 and the release of Life As We Know It, REO’s thirteenth studio album (not counting compilations). Richrath’s distinct, driving guitar work shines on songs like “Roll With the Changes”, REO’s first top 40 hit in 1978.

Roll With the Changes

 

With Richrath, REO Speedwagon produced quality rock music for nearly two decades. Songs like “Time for Me to Fly”, “Back on the Road Again”, and “157 Riverside Avenue” were mainstays in the REO live performances which became their mantra. In 1981, with the release of Hi Infidelity, REO hit the big time. After years of touring and producing moderately successful rock albums, this one soared to the top of the album charts and was declared the top selling album of the year. Richrath’s precise solo could be heard on the massive hit “Keep On Loving You”, REO’s first #1 single that helped launch the power ballad genre. That same album contains Richrath’s most famous song “Take It on the Run.” In an interview, Richrath said this about his classic song, “When I wrote that, I woke up one night, half asleep, and sat down in front of the TV. There was a soap opera on it. I was just sitting there, strumming a guitar, thinking, ‘God, these guys’ relationships are worse than mine.’ I just sat there and sang vocals about the effects of gossip and relationships breaking up, which was what was on the tube and all that was similar to what was going on in my life.” This song quickly became a second huge hit from Hi Infidelity reaching #5. As great as all of Richrath’s guitar work is, give this one another listen – the length, the tempo, and emotions of this solo makes it nothing short of a masterpiece.

Take It on the Run

On the REO Speedwagon official website, lead singer Kevin Cronin wrote, “I feel so sad. Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter, and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold. I learned most of what I know about being in a rock band from Gary Richrath. The entire REO family mourns his death and shares in the grief of his family, friends, and fans. These words do not come close to expressing the depth of emotions I am feeling at this time.” Cronin reflects the true relationships that emerge in long lasting bands. Despite leaving REO in 1987 and being replaced by Dave Amato, the connection with the rest of the band is clear.

The follow up to Hi Infidelity, 1982’s Good Trouble, did not reach the same heights, but 1984’s Wheels are Turnin’ marked REO’s return to the top of the charts. Once again, Richrath’s guitar was as the center of more classic REO songs. “I Do’ Wanna Know”, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling”, and “Thru the Window” all featured excellent guitar work. Richrath’s last album with REO was 1987’s Life as We Know It. Predictably, Richrath’s guitar shines once again, giving each song a distinct rock edge with plenty of solid solo work.

Keep the Fire Burning

I Do’ Wanna Know

That Ain’t Love

As great as all of the recorded albums were, Richrath truly shined onstage. His work during REO’s live shows was nothing short of amazing. His tireless rhythm guitar and soaring solos always took center stage at an REO show. My very first concert was an REO show in Offenbach, Germany in 1985. This show was in support of the Wheels are Turnin’ album – and I was completely blown away. Maybe it was because it was my first concert, but I had never heard anyone play a guitar like that! I was riveted from the opening notes of “Don’t Let Him Go” to the last warbles of “Riding the Storm Out.” Richrath’s last appearance with REO Speedwagon was in 2013 in his home state of Illinois where he joined his former bandmates in a concert to benefit victims of a recent tornado.

157 Riverside Avenue (Live)

Richrath did release one solo album, 1992’s Only the Strong Survive. I purchased it right away, but quickly realized that is was not quite the same as having the entire lineup together. It was good, but something was missing. REO has carried on and continued to be a very successful touring band. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert in May and it was excellent – they sounded great – but deep inside I missed Gary’s guitar. As excellent as Amato played, it was not the same as it was in 1985.

The rock world has lost a fantastic, and for some reason, underrated guitarist. Gary Richrath’s songs with REO Speedwagon will never fade from my memory and I will never stop playing them and telling my children how great he was. Gary, I will truly miss your music. I will always remember to keep on riding the storm out and, “If you want to go, let me go along / I’d never walk that road alone / I heard it was hard, I heard it was long / But we’ll come back alive because only the strong survive.”

Riding the Storm Out

Only the Strong Survive

Rest in peace, Gary. I will miss you.

Remember That Song: 9/4/15

Hair’s to Friday!!!

Can you name the artist and song:

Just what I saw
In my old dreams
Were they reflections of my warped mind staring back at me


Last Song: “Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon from Hi Infidelity (1980)

Great job Andy (@andytorah) and Robert (@mishouenglish)!!!

You played dead, but you never bled
Instead you laid still in the grass all coiled up and hissin’

Albums of the ’80s: REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity

Hi Everybody! Robert is back this week with a new awesome album review. I loved REO Speedwagon ever since I got their Wheels Are Turnin’ album (actually it was a cassette). Well, little did I know that four years earlier, this great band had released another classic album – Hi Infidelity. I never owned that album. But, I did know several of songs from their greatest hits album. Some of the songs from this album are new to me. So, I love this article. I know you will too.

Hi Infidelity: REO Speedwagon’s Well Deserved Hit

The year was 1981 and I was in the sixth grade. My Army sergeant father had just informed me that we were leaving Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and moving to Frankfurt, Germany. I was nervous, but not completely upset about this announcement – actually, I was a bit excited. I would be able to visit and get to know my Dutch grandparents who would only be three hours away and not an ocean away. I was sad to leave my friends, but I knew I would make new ones in Germany – all military kids are told this through the multiple relocations they we are forced to endure. Now, this does not mean I didn’t take advantage of the situation. I had recently gotten into music – radio only. I listened to it every night (sneaking under the covers) and was starting to recognize and enjoy a few artists.

One of these was a band by the name of REO Speedwagon and a song called “Keep On Loving You”. I had never heard a song that sounded quite like that- a love song that, well, rocked. I approached my father, played the “I can’t believe we are moving again” card and asked for some money to buy REO’s album. This was a moment that changed my life forever. Hi Infidelity was the first album I ever bought; I give it credit for being the beginning of my love affair with ‘80s music. When I got home and listened to it for the first time, honestly, I never looked back. Music was now an integral part of my existence. Since then I have continued to buy albums, attend concerts, and listen to some type of rock everyday- but REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity will always be held in my heart as the first.

I did not know it at the time, but I soon learned that Hi Infidelity was REO’s ninth album. I was young and had very little experience or knowledge in the area rock music, but I knew that I liked what I heard and needed more of it. REO formed in the late 1960s in Champaign, Illinois and recorded their first album with lead singer Terry Luttrell in 1971. Kevin Cronin, the present lead singer, joined the band in 1972 for the band’s second album. Cronin left after recording his second album with REO, but the album was released with Mike Murphy on vocals. Fortunately, Cronin rejoined in 1976 to become the permanent vocalist. Hi Infidelity was released in November of 1980. Until this time, some of REO’s songs received frequent airplay, but they had yet to achieve major success. Songs like “Keep Pushing“, “Roll with the Changes“, “Time for Me to Fly“, and “Back on the Road Again” made the band a popular live performance band, but the success that comes with a hit single and album still eluded them – until this album.

All told, Hi Infidelity sold ten million copies and spent fifteen weeks at the top of Billboard’s album chart. The album spawned four top twenty-five hits. This album was a major commercial success, but there was one thing that was more important than the number of copies sold or the countless times the singles were played on the radio – this album represented over a decade of hard work and dedication to the idea that a relentless work ethic will pay off – even in the rock world. This album features the most consistent members of REO Speedwagon: Kevin Cronin on vocals, Gary Richrath and guitars, Bruce Hall on the bass, Neal Doughty on keyboards, and Alan Gratzer on drums. Today, these songs on Hi Infidelity are classics that are played both on classic rock stations and by REO themselves in concert. There is no need to delay- sit back and enjoy the sweet sounds of one of the most dedicated, hard working bands in rock who helped define and change the perception of popular rock and roll in the ‘80s.

Don’t Let Him Go #25

Gratzer’s drums set up this song which is a perfect opening track to an album. It is upbeat and features solos by both Richrath’s guitar and Doughty’s keyboards – a classic REO combination. This song typically opened REO shows in the ‘80s. It has a perfect blend of all the instruments, great vocals by Cronin, and a catchy chorus, “Don’t let him go / Just give him a chance to grow / Take it easy, take it slow / And don’t let him go.” This song does an excellent job in preparing the listener for what is to come.

Keep On Loving You #1

There is no way to adequately state the sheer brilliance or importance of this song. This song captured hundreds of thousands music fans and got them hooked on REO’s music. Many music critics give this song credit as an early (some say first) rock ballad. There may be other songs that can lay claim to creating this type of ballad, but in the ‘80s, this is clearly an early, shining example. The song opens with the classic ballad piano and slowly builds through the power chords of the rhythm guitar to Richrath’s fantastic solo – oh, how many times I rocked to this solo on my air guitar (wait, I still do). This song is short, clocking in at 3:22, but it packs a powerful punch. Just consider how many great rock ballads follow this amazing song. All of the power ballads by all of those hair bands owe REO for introducing this genre to the rock world of the ‘80s. When I recently saw REO in concert, Cronin introduced this song as the one that changed everything. It clearly did change things for REO, but also changed things for many of their fans.

Follow My Heart

There is not a song on Hi Infidelity that I do not like. This song is the one that made me really appreciate Richrath’s guitar work. From the opening note through the rhythm he lays down and the solo he wails on, Richrath truly shows his expertise. This is a solid song that fits the overall feel and quality of the album. Oh, and it has two guitar solos, or maybe three!

In Your Letter #20

While I like this song now, it took a while to grow on me. As a young listener I was enthralled with Hi Infidelity’s rocking guitar work- this song shows a different side of the band. It does not feature big guitar chords or soaring solos, rather the piano/keyboards take center stage. The catchy chorus is perfectly framed by Doughty’s piano work and includes both a piano and a Hammond B-3 organ solo. Lyrically, the song is one of being dumped through the dreaded letter, “You could have left him only / For an evening let him be lonely / But you hid behind your poison pen and his pride.”

Take It on the Run #5

It is extremely difficult for me to choose my favorite REO song, but this one is a strong contender. The opening lines are some of the most memorable ones from the early ‘80s (everybody sing), “Heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another you’ve been messing around.” The song is about the harm that rumors can cause and the unwillingness to believe them when they concern someone we are in love with. This song is as close to perfect as a rock song can get. I especially love Richrath’s solo, particularly the length of it. While the solo in “Keep on Loving You” is great, I feel it is a bit short and fits a mold. This one lasts longer and builds perfectly- and do not miss Bruce Hall’s bass line that accompanies it.

Tough Guys

You know this one – the one that starts with Spanky and Alfalfa from The Little Rascals. And then the guitars kick in- yeah, that one. This is a great, simple, and catchy rock song. I think it is also the only studio song by REO that has a curse word in it – but it is funny and it does rhyme. The lyrics capture the feeling all guys have had when they are overjoyed that the girl chose them, even though the other guys could clearly pound them into the dust.

Out of Season

For absolutely no reason, I rediscovered this song the summer before I went to college. I was packing all of my records and cassettes away for storage as my family moved back to the United States. I was not going to be able to take my music with me until Christmas break because it would not arrive before I left for school (it was an incredibly long four months!). I wanted to make some temporary copies of my albums and listen to them one more time before we parted. This song really stood out to me; it did a great job in capturing the feelings of being let go by someone you love and not really understanding the reason why. The imagery is simple and powerful.

Shakin’ It Loose

This is a really fun song. I have seen REO perform this song several times in concert, and even though it is not one of their big hits, it always gets the crowd rocking and involved in the show. It is impossible not to sing along with and pump your fist to the chorus.

Someone Tonight

This song features lead vocals by bass player Bruce Hall. He makes several appearances as a vocalist on a few different REO albums, the most famous being the song “Back on the Road Again” from the Nine Lives album. Hall has a solid rock voice and he carries this song along with Richrath’s guitar work. Check out this bonus live video of REO performing Hall’s classic:

I Wish You Were There

I have always felt that this song could have been a single. It combines the talents of all the REO members: piano, bass, guitar and Cronin’s best vocals on the album.

Hi Infidelity is an excellent album that foreshadows what is to come in ‘80s rock. I never tire of listening to it – and when I do I am immediately transported to those days of my youth when music started to matter to me. I owe REO Speedwagon an enormous debt of gratitude. They opened my ears to rock and roll and gave me the fire of listening to music that still burns today. Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to see REO live. It was my tenth time attending one of their shows and it was as good as the first. The band was full of energy and rocked the entire crowd for two hours. As expected, they performed several songs from Hi Infidelity and I loved them as if it were the first time I heard them. This album maintains a special, important place on my shelf and in my rock n’ roll heart.

 

Top 40 Songs This Week – March 9, 1985: Songs 10-1

Welcome back to this week’s Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. Well, I think this has been a really solid countdown this week. And there are going to be some ’80s classics in this Top 10. So, let’s Return to the week ending March 9, 1985, and wrap up this week’s countdown.

10. “Misled” by Kool & the Gang


Once again, a great way to begin the countdown today! This is one of my favorite Kool & the Gang songs. This was off of Kool & the Gang’s biggest selling album, Emergency.

9. “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton

I love Sheena Easton, but this isn’t one of my favorite songs by her. It does have that classic ’80s synth-pop sound though. This song was composed by Prince, and you can totally hear it.

8. “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

This classic power ballad by Foreigner was a #1 hit. It was also overplayed. But, after avoiding it for a while, it sounds good to me again.

7. “Neutron Dance” by The Pointer Sisters

This is a great fun song by the Pointer Sisters, with Ruth as the lead singer. It was included on their great album, Break Out. However, it’s inclusion on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack may have helped it become a huge hit. The song went so perfectly with the awesome chase scene at the beginning of the movie.

6. “Too Late For Goodbyes” by Julian Lennon

This was Julian Lennon’s biggest hit. I could not get over how much he looked and sounded like his father, John. Back then, I was kind of hoping the Beatles would reunite, with Julian taking his father’s place. But, I could not even imagine the pressure he already must have felt. So, that may have been unfair to him. I kind of like this song, and it really brings me back.

5. “Material Girl” by Madonna

I do love me some classic Madonna! I even had a little crush on her back then. It was nice when she was relevant. By the way, did you know she has a new studio album out? I didn’t, until I just went to iTunes for something else. Oh well. After this song, Madonna would sometimes be called the Material Girl in the headlines of newspapers and magazines. She did have a hit with “Like a Virgin“, but I notice she was never called Virgin Madonna. Anyway, “Material Girl” helped play a big part in helping Madonna become a pop icon of the ’80s.

4. “California Girls” by David Lee Roth

I loved this song when it came out! I much prefer DLR’s rockin’ music, but this was fun. He always has the strangest characters in his music videos.

3. “The Heat is On” by Glenn Frey

Another ’80s classic! And another smash hit from Beverly Hills Cop. This song would top out at #2, being held off by this week’s top song. However, it is the highest U.S. charting solo single by any member of The Eagles.


Now is the time of the countdown where we find out what was topping the other charts this week in 1985.

Topping the Country charts was “My Only Love” by the Statler Brothers

Topping the R&B charts was our #34 song on the Hot 100 – “Missing You” by Diana Ross.

The top Rock song this week was our #25 hit on the Hot 100 – “Just Another Night” by Mick Jagger.

The top Dance tune was “New Attitude” by Patti LaBelle.

The top album was Make It Big by Wham

And the top Adult Contemporary song this week is our #2 song this week:

2. “Careless Whisper” by Wham! Featuring George Michael

This was George Michael’s first solo hit, although he was still performing in Wham! at the time. The song was on Wham!’s Make It Big album. This is one of those songs that I did not like at all when it came out. But, I like it now.

1. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon

We have reached the top of the charts with this classic power ballad by REO Speedwagon. This was the first week of this song’s run as the #1 hit in the country. If you see any ’80s love song compilation, chances are very good that this song will be on it.


Remember That Song: 7/17/14

Can you name the artist and song:

I know there’s something in the wake of your smile.
I get a notion from the look in your eyes


Last Song: “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon from Wheels Are Turnin’ (1984)

Great job Kickin’ It Old School (@oldschool80s) and Andrew!!

Cause I feel so secure when we’re together.
You give my life direction,
You make everything so clear

Remember That Song – 9/26/13

Can you name the artist and song:

Love is just a wish you keep inside
How’s it gonna help me to survive


Last song: “In My Dreams” by REO Speedwagon

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish) and Cooly!!

Daybreak is a joyful time
Just listen to the songbird harmonies, oh the harmonies

Remember That Song: 2/5/13

Can you name the artist and song:

Everyday I walk her home from school
And she tells me how she really feels
And there’s no doubt in my mind
That this girl is one of a kind


Last Song: “I Do’ Wanna Know” by REO Speedwagon

Great job Kickin’ It Old School (@oldschool80s)!!

You will be what you will be
You will reap everything you sow
Just don’t tell me that you love me
Because I Do’ Wanna Know

Remember That Song? – 10/6/11

Can you name the artist and song and complete the lyrics:

I never want this feeling to end
It took some time to find the light
But now I realize
I can ___ ___ ______ __ ____ ____


Last song: “Take It On the Run” by REO Speedwagon:

I don’t believe it
Not for a minute
You’re under the gun so you take it on the run