Great Rock Albums on 1979: REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives

Nowadays, when REO Speedwagon is mentioned, the first thing that pops into most people’s heads are love rock ballads such as “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “Keep On Loving You.” Yes, unfortunately REO Speedwagon is an example of what happened to a lot of great bands who managed to get a song in the top ten back in the early 80s. After that, they try to make all their songs sound like that hit single and abandoned the hard rock that got them there in the first place. They weren’t the only band this happened to either.

“Nine Lives” was the first ever album by REO Speedwagon I listened to and my total reaction to it was “This album really rocks!” From the heavy riffs of the opening track “Heavy On Your Love” through to the crunching guitars of “Only the Strong Survive” and the great hard rock musicianship that made “Easy Money” and their own rocking spin on the classic Beach Boys hit “Rock and Roll Music,” that finally culminates in the pure heavy finale of “Back On the Road Again,” I can say this album is a true rocker. The music is a far cry from some of their later stuff. It’s even heavier that their 1978 smash “You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish.” Even the album cover suggests heavy metal. If they didn’t do it in 1979, some heavy metal band in the 80s would have definitely used a cover photo like this on their album. I will go on a limb and speculate that maybe Motley Crue got some of their image ideas from this.

Track Listing:

1. Heavy On Your Love

2. Drop It (An Old Disguise)

3. Only the Strong Survive

4. Easy Money

5. Rock and Roll Music

6. Take Me

7. I Need You Tonight

8. Meet Me On the Mountain

9. Back On the Road Again

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar, B52 guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Back On the Road Again”

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion, backing vocals

For those who are only familiar with REO Speedwagon’s more pop oriented 80’s sound, then you must go back and listen to “Nine Lives.” The hard rock sound on this album will leave you asking yourself, “Is this the same band?” For this album is a true hard rocking classic and yes I will mention again what an underrated guitarist Gary Richrath has been. For he totally smashes it here!

Next Post: Hawkwind- PXR5

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

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2 Responses to “Great Rock Albums on 1979: REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives”

  1. great album released at the wrong time”Nine Lives” didnt sell that well. The 4 best songs on the album (Take Me/Meet me on the mountain /back on the road again/heavy on your love/ All Have great guitar work and production without being over-produced such as the follow-up album hi-infedelity. While the later spawned more radio hits, I can imagine 10 yrs from now nine lives will still be much easier to listen to, than hi-infedelity. In 1979 disco was all but gone and most of the new music out was simply not that good. This is one of those few rock-n-roll albums that simply was overlooked because of “when” it was released.By a reviewer (dallas, tx) This review is for a different format .

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