REO Speedwagon / Styx

Joel Voorman

Formed in 1967, REO Speedwagon cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the 1980s. The group’s best-selling album, Hi Infidelity (1980), contained four US Top 40 hits and sold more than 10 million copies.

REO Speedwagon continued to score further hit albums (1982’s Good Trouble, 1984’s Wheels Are Turnin’) and singles (“Keep the Fire Burnin’,” the number one hit power ballad “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” etc.), but the hits dried up shortly thereafter. Issued in 1987, Life as We Know It managed to go gold, but their fans’ sudden disinterest coupled with turmoil between certain bandmembers led to the exit of both Richrath and Gratzer by the end of the decade. REO opted to soldier on, however, with replacement members Dave Amato (ex-Ted Nugent, guitar) and Bryan Hitt (ex-Wang Chung, drums) in tow, as their 14-track 1988 compilation The Hits proved to be a steady seller over the years. Further underappreciated studio releases followed, such as 1990’s The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken and 1996’s Building the Bridge. With interest at an all-time low, REO were set to pack it up for good until a sudden wave of renewed interest in classic rock bands of yesteryear began to sweep the U.S. during the late ’90s, resulting in REO launching successful co-headlining tours alongside such acts as Styx, Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bad Company, among others.

Over the course of their career, the band has sold more than 40 million records and has charted 13 Top 40 hits, including the number ones “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”


Styx established itself with a progressive rock sound in the 1970s, and began to incorporate pop rock and soft rock elements in the 1980s.

Beginning with Styx in 1972, the band usually released an album every year throughout the 1970s. Styx II (1973) had the sleeper hit “Lady”, a power ballad which reached No. 6 in the US, helping the album make the top 20. “Lady” was also a top 20 hit in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Equinox (1975) and Crystal Ball (1976) reached the US top 70 with the first featuring “Lorelei”, a No. 6 hit in Canada, while the second marked the addition of Tommy Shaw to the band.

Styx’s commercial breakthrough in North America came with The Grand Illusion (1977), which peaked at No. 6 in both the US and Canada, and became the first of four straight triple-platinum albums in the US for Styx. It featured the single “Come Sail Away”, a top 10 hit in both countries. The band’s follow-up, Pieces of Eight (1978), was another No. 6 hit in the US, but peaked higher in Canada due to the top 10 hits “Renegade” and “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”. In 1979, Styx’s Cornerstone went to No. 2 in both countries on the strength of the cross-border No. 1 hit ballad “Babe”. The album became their breakthrough album in Australia and New Zealand, reaching the top 20, with “Babe” peaking at No. 3. “Babe” was a No. 6 hit in the UK, their first and only top 40 hit there, leading Cornerstone to be their first album to chart there (at No. 36).[citation needed]

In 1981, Styx’s Paradise Theatre was a No. 1 album in the US and Canada, while also reaching the top 10 in Scandinavia and the UK (their biggest album there) and the top 30 in Australia and New Zealand. “The Best of Times” off the album reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 3 in the US, and the top 30 in several other countries, while “Too Much Time on My Hands” was also a top 10 hit in North America. Kilroy Was Here (1983) was Styx’s last major hit album, reaching the top 3 in North America and the top 10 in Scandinavia, although it was less successful elsewhere. Its lead single, “Mr. Roboto”, became Styx’s third chart-topper in Canada, was a No. 3 hit in the US, and was their biggest hit in Germany (No. 8). After a seven-year break, Styx returned with Edge of the Century (1990), which reached No. 63 in the US with its single, “Show Me the Way”, becoming a top 3 hit in North America in early 1991

Overall, Styx had eight songs that hit the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as 16 top 40 singles. Seven of their eight top 10 singles were written and sung by founding member and lead singer Dennis DeYoung, who has not been part of the band since 1999. Styx sold over 20 million records for A&M between their signing in 1976 and 1984


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