REO SPEEDWAGON: You Get What You Play For
Best Live Album
In the late 70's, I was hanging out with my friend. She pulled out REO's YOU GET WHAT YOU PLAY FOR LIVE album, and said, "You have to listen to this." "Like You Do" blares over the new stereo system her parents got her for Christmas, and I was hooked. Every note, every word, every song that Kevin Cronin sang spoke directly to me and still has the power to mesmerize me.
To this day, I stop whatever I am doing to listen to REO Speedwagon. Their music and performances are still electrifying audiences today. They are the Kings of Classic Rock. No other rock band continues to tour and amaze their fans like REO continues to do.
The best of REO Speedwagon through their great rock career.
"Nobody makes me feel LIKE YOU DO!"
REO Rockin' It Out on Stage
REO SPEEDWAGON Live Performances - Like You Do
The crowd roars and the announcer shouts, "EPIC Recording artists: REO SPEEDWAGON!!!" The band starts the heavy beat, and Kevin Cronin starts singing "Well, I've seen women who cross their legs when they sit down to the table..." "Like You Do" is the first REO song I learned.
For years after I was introduced to YOU GET WHAT YOU PLAY FOR, I remember sneaking into my rocker brother's room and playing the album. Since there was no such thing as "shuffle" back then, the album played from beginning to end. I still know every word and breath Kevin Cronin takes in the song.
I remember seeing my brother pull up in front of the house. In a near panic, I picked up the needle, took the 2 album set off the record player (yeah, that's right, a record player - no iTunes back then), placed them in their record covers and got outta there before he caught me. It was well worth the risks.
Nobody makes me feel like REO!
"The son of a poor man will bring you home."
30 years? Seems like yesterday.
"Son of a Poor Man" - Hometown Lady Dreamin' of the City
Like many young girls, I fantasized about being a rock star (still do). "Son of a Poor Man" played an integral part in that dream.
When I was about 20, I sat down to the table and wrote out the lyrics to "Son of a Poor Man" with parts for a duet. In my head, Kevin Cronin would sing then I would sing then we would sing together, and it would be an awesome performance. REO SPEEDWAGON was coming to Lampe, Missouri, and I had a plan.
The night of the concert, I went to the stage and gave the lyrics with parts to one of the roadies and asked him to give it Kevin Cronin. I just knew it would work. I was ready. I mean, I had practiced with my hair brush as a microphone in the kitchen for years. How much more did I have to do? The show started, but Kevin Cronin never did call me to the stage. Oh well, the concert was still awesome.
A few years later, they came back. My girlfriend and I left early. We sat in the parking lot of the motor inn the band was staying in. They pulled up in their tour bus after spending the day on Table Rock Lake. Base player, Bruce Hall had a terrible sunburn, poor guy. We ran to meet them. I am sure they thought we were crazy groupies... well, I guess we were.
I was so nervous, but, with my Get What You Play For CD in hand, I asked Kevin Cronin if he would sit in my car to sing "Son of a Poor Man" with me. How crazy is that? He probably thought I was going to kidnap him. Gentleman that he is, he graciously said, "I'm sorry, I need to save my voice for the concert." I admit I was disappointed, but OF COURSE he had to save his voice to perform, and perform he did! I was so excited that I met them that I couldn't feel bad that he didn't sing a duet with me.
Kevin Cronin, if you read this, just know the offer is still on the table.
"And even if you think your strength is gone... Keep Pushin' On!"
I couldn't help myself...
"Keep Pushin' On" - Another Memorable REO Night
Any time REO came to Southwest Missouri, I have been there. They were the only reason I ever cut class in college. They were playing at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield, Missouri, and it was general admission. I got there that morning and was the first in line. Later that day, my girlfriend joined me - she was jeered when I let her in line.
The doors opened and we raced to the stage. It was amazing! That was back in the big hair days. I had blonde hair down to my waist and a spiral perm. I had watched enough MTV to know how to rock out my hair. It paid off. I got every guitar pick that night. The band had placed them in my hand rather than flicking them into the crowd. I was in REO heaven.
I was determined, and I decided to "Keep Pushin' On."
REO Continues to Rock Their Audiences
Kevin Cronin joined REO in 1972. I know no other band that still tours after such a long career. Oh, you hear about the reunions every now and then, but members of REO are still electrifying their audiences. They are dedicated entertainers and performers with their finger on the pulse of their fans. Their stage presence is overwhelming. Their music reaches out to all types of people and resonates with the millions who have seen them in concert or simply listened to them on the radio.
REO has been my "GO TO" band since the late '70s to date. They never fail to reach whatever I am going through, good or bad, in my life. Each song tells a story and touches on the truths of life: love and struggles, triumphs and defeats - but always hope on the horizon.
My children have been raised on REO. My daughter now goes to REO concerts with me. I am now a high school teacher - I didn't make it to the rock star status I had once aspired to - and I share REO with my students who always welcome the music and insist on listening to it while they are working.
REO is timeless and still the best in the industry. Their music holds universal themes that strikes a chord in all who listen.
Although, I know I am their number one fan, many out there think they are. That's all right because we all know REO is going to "keep pushin' on" because they truly do deservedly get what they play for and we are going to keep on lovin' them (I know that song isn't on You Get What You Play For album, but it fits).
Who is your favorite-all-time band?
Share your memories with me below in the comments. I find that music is the best vehicle for time travel to the past.