Take a look inside our next huge R.E.O Speedwagon Box Set, out 22nd Feb!
By the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, R.E.O. Speedwagon had won the hearts, minds and airwaves of continental North America. This hard won ascendance was comprehensively documented on the 8CD “Early Years 1971-1977” collection from HNE.
R.E.O. Speedwagon’s long history goes way back to their formation in Champaign, Illinois in 1967. Initially a covers band playing bars and fraternity houses, the initial line-up featuring Neal Doughty on keyboards and Alan Gratzer on drums and vocals, named themselves after the R.E.O. Speed Wagon, a model of American flat-bed truck. By the time they recorded their debut LP for Epic Records in 1971, the line-up had settled around Terry Luttrell on lead vocals, driving force Gary Richrath on guitar and Gregg Philbin on bass. By the release of second LP, “R.E.O./T.W.O.”, the band were joined by Kevin Cronin on lead vocals, guitar and keyboards. Following 1977’s self-explanatory “You Get What You Play For: Live”, Bruce Hall would replace long time bassist Gregg Philbin in time for the punningly titled “YOU CAN TUNE A PIANO BUT YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH” .
As well as extensive liner notes from Malcolm Dome, this expansive 9 disc set features a wealth of bonus tracks. Produced By Kevin Cronin and Gary Richrath with Paul Grupp, CD1 features “YOU CAN TUNE A PIANO BUT YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH”, which includes both long and short versions of the radio friendly ‘Roll With The Changes’, as well as a single edit for ‘Time For Me To Fly’. CD1 is completed by the rare promo LP, “LIVE AGAIN” from 1978, which features exclusive on-stage versions of ‘Son Of A Poor Man’, ‘(I Believe) Our Time Is Gonna Come’, ‘Flying Turkey Trot’, ‘Keep Pushin’’, ‘Ridin’ The Storm Out’, ‘Piano Interlude’ and ‘157 Riverside Avenue’
Produced by Kevin Cronin and Gary Richrath with Kevin Beamish, CD2’s “NINE LIVES”  includes a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Rock & Roll Music’, and concludes with Bruce Hall’s hard rocking road anthem, ‘Back On The Road Again’. Bonus Tracks are ‘Easy Money’ (Edit) plus rare live versions of ‘157 Riverside Avenue’ and ‘Ridin’ The Storm Out’
With CD3’s “HI INFIDELITY” , R.E.O. truly conquered the American mainstream, with huge radio hits in ‘Don’t Let Him Go’, ‘Keep On Loving You’ and ‘Take It On The Run’. Once again it was produced by Kevin Cronin, Gary Richrath and Kevin Beamish and co-produced by Alan Gratzer.
CD4 kicks off with a collection of demos made for “HI INFIDELITY”, giving a unique insight into the creation of this huge record. CD4 is completed with live promo versions of ‘Don’t Let Him Go’, ‘Keep On Loving You’, ‘Take It On The Run’ and ‘In Your Letter’ as well as a 1989 reggae version of ‘Keep On Loving You’.
Once again produced by Kevin Cronin, Gary Richrath, Kevin Beamish & Alan Gratzer, CD5’s “GOOD TROUBLE”  continued R.E.O.’s continued domination of the charts with ‘Keep The Fire Burnin’’.
CD6’s “WHEELS ARE TURNIN’”  featured another massive hit in ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’. Bonus Tracks include a short version of ‘I Do Wanna Know’, ‘Live Every Moment’ (Edit) and ‘Wherever You’re Goin’ (It’s Alright)’ taken from The Goonies film soundtrack.
Produced By Kevin Cronin, Gary Richrath, Alan Gratzer and David DeVore, the bonus cuts on CD7’s “LIFE AS WE KNOW IT”  are ‘Variety Tonight’ (Edit), ‘I Don’t Want To Lose You’, plus two versions of ‘Here With Me’. And as the sleeve proudly states, R.E.O. Speedwagon were still were Neal Doughty, Alan Gratzer, Gary Richrath, Kevin Cronin and Bruce Hall.
It was three years before R.E.O. would release a new album, and by the time of CD8’s” THE EARTH, A SMALL MAN, HIS DOG AND A CHICKEN”  Dave Amato had joined on lead guitar and Bryan Hitt was on drums and percussion. Bonus Tracks include two alternative versions apiece of ‘All Heaven Broke Loose’ and ‘Just For You’, plus ‘’Til The Rivers Run Dry’.
R.E.O. Speedwagon were very much a live act, and this mammoth nine disc set concludes with a collection of rare and exclusive live recordings, including ‘Don’t Let Him Go’, ‘Take It On The Run’ and ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ from Kemper Arena in 1985, ‘Keep The Fire Burning’ and ‘Roll With The Changes’ from Rockford Metro Centre 1983, ‘Back On The Road Again’ from Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu 1989 and ‘Keep On Lovin’ You’ from Indianapolis in 1984.
FOR FANS OF: DOOBIE BROS, BOSTON, FOREIGNER