REO Speedwagon are an American rock band. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the 1980s. Over the course of its career, the band has sold more than 40 million records and has charted thirteen Top 40 hits, including the number ones "Keep On Loving You" and "Can't Fight This Feeling". REO Speedwagon's mainstream popularity dissipated in the 1990s but the band remains a popular live act. The Essential REO Speedwagon is a greatest hits album by the band REO Speedwagon released through Epic Records and Legacy Recordings. The collection spans the band's history from 1971 through 1999 and the package includes two compact discs…
Over the course of the 1980s, REO Speedwagon became one of the decade's leading power balladeers. However, these singles sapped the band's reputation as a rock & roll band. Although it may focus more on ballads such as "Time for Me to Fly," "Keep on Loving You," and "Can't Fight This Feeling," Hits does not completely overlook the band's rock anthems, taking care to also include such underrated rockers as "I Don't Want to Lose You," "Don't Let Him Go," and a live version of "Ridin the Storm Out," the band's first and best rock single from the 1970s. Though there is a rather large quantity of REO compilations, Hits remains the wisest investment for most listeners.
Fans of live material will thoroughly enjoy this handpicked hit-and-miss 18-track compilation of REO Speedwagon's hits recorded during the band's mid- to late-'80s tours. Most of the songs work well in a live environment, with songs like "Tough Guys," "I Do' Wanna Know," and "Keep the Fire Burning" coming out on top, harnessing the most energy while keeping with their original form.
In the meantime, REO Speedwagon lost their recording contract with Epic, and ended up releasing Building the Bridge (1996) on the Priority/Rhythm Safari label. When that label went bankrupt, the album was released on the ill-fated Castle Records which also experienced financial troubles. REO Speedwagon ultimately self-financed this effort, which failed to chart. One of the finest melodic rock bands of their era, REO Speedwagon's weakness, as with many similar bands, was that their albums were too often padded out with filler. The Hits then, is an important addition to the catalogue, as it brings together all the strongest singles on one recording. Obviously the best-known tracks, 'Can't Fight This Feeling' and 'Keep On Loving You' are essential for any fan of melodic rock. This album offers much more though. The newer songs, 'I Don't Wanna Lose You' and 'Here With Me' are really top notch and set the standard for the rest of the album. Although there's the odd track dotted about that doesn't quite hit the same heights as the rest, the overall result is much more consistent than anything else they've released, and it will become an important part of your collection.