Archive for Nine Lives

Great Rock Albums of 1984: REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

With the explosion of heavy metal onto commercial airwaves in 1984, it is not surprising that there would be casualties left in its wake. For me, my love for the music of REO Speedwagon would come to an end in this year. In my eyes and ears, their 1984 album, “Wheels Are Turnin’,” was a sell out and I came to the conclusion that the band had abandoned their more hard rock roots and had become a top forty band. The exact phrase I used at the time was “They went from being good and settled for being popular.” Thinking back, was my assessment of them and this album accurate? It is now, thirty years on, that I am revisiting “Wheels Are Turnin'” with a fresh set of ears and a much more open mind.

My very first impression at the time was that they had stayed true to their roots with their first single, “I Do’ Wanna Know.” This lively track is classic REO Speedwagon as I had always known them. It’s a fast hard track where lead guitarist Gary Richrath and keyboardist Neil Doughty show their musical talents off. In fact, if I were to compile a list of my favourite REO songs, “I Do’ Wanna Know” would most certainly be in the top five. Unfortunately for me, came their second single, their ultra successful mega hit, “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” While I have come to appreciate this song more in my mellowing old age, in 1984, I thought that the band where just trying to recapture the success they had with a previous successful song, “Keep on Loving You” from the “Hi Infidelity” album. At the time, that was a big turnoff for me.

The two singles after that were even bigger turnoffs to me. “One Lonely Night” didn’t fire me up in any way nor did “Live Every Moment.” It was here that I went off REO Speedwagon and found myself content to listen to their earlier classics, especially my all time favourite of theirs, “Nine Lives.” As I write this, I am feeling a little bit like a hypocrite. I have said on countless posts of albums that I don’t judge them by their singles, so why did I here? I think the reason was that on so many of their albums, including my fave, the singles from them were some of my favourite songs. I know that sounds a bit weak and that’s why I am asking if anyone knows where I time machine is located so I can got back to 1984 and tell my 23 year old self to give the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album a chance.

Unlike those other albums, some of the best tracks aren’t the singles, “I Do’ Wanna Know” being the exception. That will always be the best track on the album for me. However, with some of the other songs, they do go back more to their harder rock roots. “Thru the Window” and “Gotta Feel More” are great examples of this as is the title track at the end. However, on these songs and even the singles, the guitar talents of Gary Richrath aren’t ignored as he does wail on many of them. “Gotta Feel More” is probably Gary at his best on this album.

Gary Richrath

Track Listing:

  1. I Do’ Wanna Know
  2. One Lonely Night
  3. Thru the Window
  4. Rock N’ Roll Star
  5. Live Every Moment
  6. Can’t Fight This Feeling
  7. Gotta Feel More
  8. Break This Spell
  9. Wheels Are Turnin’

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion, backing vocals

So the big question here is did REO Speedwagon sell out with the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album? My answer is possibly. They did have four singles from this album and only one of them I truly liked. However, there is plenty of evidence on the album to show that they hadn’t fully turned away from their harder past. My conclusion is that while I enjoy this album more in my older age, it still doesn’t match up to classics like “Nine Lives,” “Hi Infidelity,” “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” or “Good Trouble.” For me, those are the greatest REO albums of all time.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1984

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504429543&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: REO Speedwagon- Good Trouble

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Goodtrouble

Many people have said that REO Speedwagon’s follow up to the highly commercially successful “Hi Infidelity” album was a disappointment. True this album wasn’t the commercial success of its predecessor but that doesn’t make it a bad album in anyway. Quite the opposite, “Good Trouble” is, in my humble view, every bit as good as “Hi Infidelity,” possibly better. So, why didn’t it sell so well? I offer this explanation. In spite of the fact that they had two very big singles on “Hi Infidelity,” they didn’t want to have every song sound like “Keep On Loving You.” Instead, they went back to their roots which made them so good during the 70s. “Good Trouble” isn’t as hard and heavy as “Nine Lives” but reminds me a lot more of their excellent “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” album and that album was considered their best by many, although my fave is still “Nine Lives.”

I’m getting the impression as I revisit albums from 1982 that it seems to have been the thing to have the big single as the album opener. Every album I have covered so far has done this and the same happens with this REO classic. “Keep the Fire Burning” comes and goes and does the job its meant to do. It was a top ten single during a time when the charts actually meant something to me, well a little bit. After that, REO Speedwagon unleash hell for the rest of the way. “Sweet Time” begins like it’s going to be a ballad but then some rocking guitars kick in and the rest of the song goes totally up tempo. Then, three songs later, comes my hidden favourite track, “I’ll Follow You.” That song definitely brings me back to the glory days of REO Speedwagon. It starts hard and then Gary Richrath nails a killer solo. However, as much as I have praised Gary before the guitar altar, the track allows you to hear why Neil Doughty is such a fantastic keyboardist. Most certainly underrated among keyboard players. The other tracks are no less hard rocking. “Stillness of the Night” is a prime example on this scale as Gary shreds away big time on it. Then there is the paradox of the closer and title track. It ranks right up there with any good album closer but the track was also used as the opener when they toured on the album, versatility or what? So, ignore the charts and lack of commercial success, “Good Trouble” is a great rocker of an album.

Track Listing:

1. Keep the Fire Burning

2. Sweet Time

3. Girl With the Heart of Gold

4. Every Now and Then

5. I’ll Follow You

6. The Key

7. Back In My Heart Again

8. Let’s Be-Bop

9. Stillness of the Night

10. Good Trouble

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- rhythm guitar, piano, lead vocals

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, lead vocal on “Let’s Be-Bop”

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion

Maybe it was down to the lack of commercial success of “Good Trouble” their next album would be a total sell out. That’s a shame because “Good Trouble” is every bit a classic rocking album and reminds me of the time when REO Speedwagon was good and not settling for being popular.

Next post: The Go Gos- Talk Show

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

 

 

 

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

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by 80smetalman

untitled

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums on 1979: REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by 80smetalman

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