REO Speedwagon Biography

Comments Off on REO Speedwagon Biography

REO SpeedwagonREO Speedwagon is an American rock band that became popular during the 70’s and reached their peak during the early 80’s. The band was formed in 1967 by keyboardist Neal Doughty along with his dorm mate and drummer Alan Gratzer.

Gary Richrath later on joined the band as guitarist. The band first started out by playing cover songs in campus bars. Richrath, a prolific songwriter, later on brought with him original material from which the band was able to play their own music.

Slowly the band was able to gain wide reaching popularity especially in Midwestern US where they were able to build a large fan base. Their growing popularity eventually led them to sign with Epic Records in 1971.

At around this time, REO Speedwagon consisted of Doughtry on keyboards, Gratzer on drums, Richrath on guitar, and newcomers Gregg Philbin on bass, and Terry Luttrell on vocals. There were subsequent line-up changes made on the band through the years, changing vocalists on three of their albums.

By the 1980’s the band has been set for their most popular period where they were able to release their highly successful album, Hi Fidelity. It also signaled the band’s change of musical approach to that of making more pop-oriented material on their albums. The album generated a lot of responses generated by its hit singles, "Keep On Loving You" and "Take It On The Run". The album went on to spend an incredible 65 weeks on the charts and eventually became the biggest selling rock record in 1981.

The band followed it up with other albums which also enjoyed considerable success on the charts as well as on sales. But by the end of the 80’s the band saw its popularity waning. By 1987, the band began to disintegrate due to disagreements on what musical direction to take. Some members of the band decided to retire while some went on to engage in solo projects.

The 1990’s saw REO Speedwagon continuing to make records albeit with a whole new line-up. Their subsequent albums failed to chart and wasn’t close to achieving the success of their previous albums. But 1995 saw the band unleashing a number of compilation albums which also featured the release of their greatest hits. REO Speedwagon currently continues to perform in smaller venues and occasionally tours with other classic rock bands such as Foreigner, Styx and Journey.

Image Source: Wikipedia