Great Rock Albums of 1980: REO Speedwagon- A Decade of Rock And Roll


Aerosmith weren’t the only one to put out a great compilation album of all of their best stuff in 1980, REO Speedwagon did likewise with “A Decade in Rock and Roll, 1970-1980.” Unlike Aerosmith however, REO Speedwagon weren’t being written off as finished. If anything, they were very much in their ascendency to rock and roll glory. What this album does is to celebrate ten great years of thrilling listeners to some brilliant rock albums.

As with many artists back then, I was also late jumping on the train in regards to REO Speedwagon. I didn’t even hear of them until I was in the service for six months and saw one of their songs on a bar juke box. The name amused me straight away and for some reason that name kept appearing before me like some sort of beckon. As a result, I bought the “Nine Lives” album and I was hooked. I played that album to death and when someone suggested this album, I took up the suggestion and I don’t regret it. I got to hear what I had been missing all these years. Some of their early songs like “Golden Country,” “Keep Pushin” and “Son of a Poor Man” were great insights into what this band was made of. Even the material with Mike Murphy as lead singer doesn’t disappoint. I thought putting the live versions of “157 Riverside Avenue” and “Riding the Storm Out” was a genius idea as those songs totally rock me. And of course there’s the two big songs from “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish:” “Roll With the Changes” and “Time For Me To Fly” although Kevin Cronin probably doesn’t want me to mention the latter because according to what he said on “Family Guy,” all the royalties go to his bitch ex-wife. It doesn’t stop me from playing it though.

Kevin Cronin on Family Guy

Kevin Cronin on Family Guy

Track Listing:

1. Sophisticated Lady

2. Music Man

3. Golden Country

4. Son of a Poor Man

5. Lost in a Dream

6. Reeling

7. Keep Pushin

8.  I Believe Our Time is Gonna Come

9. Breakaway

10. Lightning

11. Like You Do

12. Flying Turkey Trot

13. 157 Riverside Avenue

14. Riding the Storm Out

15. Roll With the Changes

16. Time For Me to Fly

17, Say You Love Me or Say Goodnight

18. Only the Strong Survive

19. Back On the Road Again

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Garry Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards, backing vocals

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion

Mike Murphy- lead vocals

Greg Philbin- bass

This album celebrates exactly what it says on the package, a decade in rock and roll. Ten years worth of good tunes and for those who aren’t into compilations, this album will definitely entice you to check out their albums from this period. This album wouldn’t be the end for them as they would go on to find commercial success but it celebrates a time when they were great because you will see as we journey further down the road, in the 70s REO Speedwagon were good, if not fantastic. In the 80s, they would settle for being popular.

Next post: Tragedies and Triumphs Part II

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4 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1980: REO Speedwagon- A Decade of Rock And Roll”

  1. If you haven’t already, try out the 1977 live album “Live: You Get What You Play For” from which the live tracks on this compilation are taken. For me, it’s one of the best live LPs ever, with almost all tracks beating out their studio versions. The live “Ridin’ the Storm Out” is particularly awesome. Nice post, thanks!


    • That is a brilliant live album, one of the best and the live version of “Riding the Storm Out” is awesome. I also thought the other tracks on live tracks they use on the compilation were awesome too and that’s what made me go check out the live album.


  2. No matter how much I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to get past Kevin Cronin’s voice. My first exposure to them was via “High Infidelity” which was way too “wuss rock” for me (and I had a certain affection for wuss rock back then…still do). Years later I got a copy of “You Can Tune A Piano…” but even though I enjoyed the music his voice was an obstacle for me. I never did get this compilation, and since I always keep an open mind I may give this a shot if I ever find it dirt cheap. I’ll be on the lookout for it in the dollar LP bins next time I’m in a record store or yard sale. So consider this post a success solely based on the fact that you may get me to listen to REO Speedwagon again.


    • They definitely became “wuss rock” in the 80s which is why I had that little dig at them at the end of my post. Kevin Cronin isn’t the greatest vocalist in the world but there are worse. What I like about this album is it celebrates when they were actually good before they wussed out. I’m glad I might have been able to get you to have a listen to them again. “Nine Lives” is also an album worth checking out as well as their live album “You Get What You Play For.”


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