Formed loosely in the late ‘60s at college in Champaign, IL, REO (named after the precursor to the light truck) rode to gigs in station wagons, hopping from small gigs to even tinier gigs, just to get their name out. It worked, as fans quickly realized there was much more going on here than your average college party band.
By the early ‘70s, the band’s unrelenting drive, as well as non-stop touring and recording, jump-started the burgeoning rock movement in the Midwest. It carved a path that was eventually followed by STYX, Kansas, Cheap Trick and more. Platinum albums and freeform FM radio staples such as “Ridin’ The Storm Out” followed, setting the stage for 1980’s explosive Hi Infidelity (received the Recording Industry Association of America®’s 10X Diamond Award for surpassing sales of 10 million units in the U.S.). REO rode the top of the charts with an RIAA-certified 22 million albums sold in the U.S. and 40 million around the globe, with a string of gold and platinum records and international hit singles.
The band’s younger fans might not realize the sheer impact REO has had on music and the culture of rock ‘n’ roll. Hi Infidelity’s millions in sales were fueled by massive hit singles such as “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On the Run.” All these years later, the nearly ten-times platinum Hi Infidelity still remains a high-water mark for rock bands — the album spent 15 weeks in the #1 slot, a feat that modern artists can only dream of achieving.
Today, fully established with songs on the radio in every city and town they ever set foot in, REO Speedwagon still has that Midwest work ethic. The band has gone on stage and in the studio to work– dozens of albums, thousands of concerts, and countless radio spins. Their eyes have always been on the future and on the road – not a year has gone by where REO Speedwagon didn’t perform live, thrilling fans with hit-filled sets.