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Top 11 REO Speedwagon Songs, Ranked

Plus, find out how the band came to be!


REO Speedwagon, a name synonymous with classic rock, has left an indelible mark on the music industry with their melodic tunes and powerful performances. Formed in 1967, the band has weathered the storms of changing musical trends, remaining a mainstay in the hearts of rock enthusiasts. Comprising talented musicians and led by the charismatic Kevin Cronin, REO Speedwagon has produced a repertoire of songs that stand the test of time.

Formed in Champaign, Illinois, in 1967, the band initially started as a rock and roll cover band called The Page. However after a few lineup changes and a shift in musical direction, they officially became REO Speedwagon.

REO Speedwagon songs ANUARY 11: (L-R) Musicians Tom Bukovac, Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon and Kenny Wayne Shepherd perform onstage during the Jim Irsay Collection Exhibit and Concert at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on January 11, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
REO Speedwagon in 2-24 Scott Dudelson/Getty

The band’s journey has been characterized by resilience and adaptability. They experienced moderate success in the early 1970s, but it was in the late 1970s and 1980s that they achieved mainstream stardom. Albums like Hi Infidelity catapulted them to stardom, earning them multiple chart-topping hits and a dedicated fan base. Their sound, a fusion of rock and pop, resonated with a broad audience, making them one of the defining acts of the classic rock era.

Despite the changing landscape of the music industry, REO Speedwagon has managed to stay relevant. REO Speedwagon songs, characterized by catchy melodies and poignant lyrics, continue to be embraced by both longtime fans and new generations of music enthusiasts. The band’s live performances, known for their energy and connection with the audience, have contributed to their enduring legacy.

Here we rank the top REO Speedwagon songs

11. “157 Riverside Avenue” (1971)

This fan-favorite REO Speedwagon song comes from a simple inspiration: It’s the address of the house where the band stayed while recording the album. In concert, the song developed into an extended play with plenty of solos. The live version (with Kevin Cronin on vocals) is from the ‘A Decade of Rock and Roll’ compilation and is over 12 minutes long.

10. “One Lonely Night” (1984)

This soulful ballad, written by Kevin Cronin, delves into themes of heartache and solitude. ‘One Lonely Night’ depicts the loneliness that follows the end of a relationship. Cronin’s heartfelt delivery and the emotional depth of the lyrics contribute to the song’s impact. Its poignant melody and relatable themes resonate with listeners.

 9. “Don’t Let Him Go” (1981)

This lively and upbeat song is a rock anthem that explores the theme of romantic competition. The lyrics convey a sense of urgency in expressing feelings and not letting a potential love slip away. ‘Don’t Let Him Go’ has catchy hooks and energetic instrumentation, making it a standout track. Its radio-friendly appeal contributed to its success on the charts.

8. “In Your Letter” (1981)

This lesser-known gem explores the sense of yearning for connection through a written letter. Despite not being as commercially successful as some of their other hits, the song’s catchy melody and heartfelt lyrics have earned it a place among the band’s classics. Some die-hard REO Speedwagon fans rank ‘In Your Letter’ their top favorite.

7. “Back on the Road Again” (1979)

Another one written by Kevin Cronin, ‘Back on the Road Again’ is a celebratory rock anthem that captures the excitement and energy of being back on tour. The lyrics convey the thrill of performing live and connecting with the audience. The lyrics tell the story of someone who has experienced setbacks and hardships in life but is determined to overcome them and get back on track. The song’s powerful message is one of hope, inspiring listeners to keep pushing forward and not let life’s obstacles hold them back. Its placement as the opening track on the ‘Nine Lives’ album sets the tone for the entire record.

6. “Roll with the Changes” (1978)

This REO Speedwagon song conveys a message of embracing change and facing life’s challenges head-on. The energetic guitar riffs and Cronin’s powerful vocals make this song a standout in the band’s catalog. Written by Kevin Cronin, the song was inspired by the band’s move from Illinois to California. Cronin was reluctant to move since he was born in the Midwest, and that’s where he felt most comfortable. But he realized the move was best for the band. 

5. “Ridin’ the Storm Out” (1973)

Written by Gary Richrath, ‘Ridin’ the Storm Out’ became a concert favorite, showcasing the band’s ability to deliver high-energy performances. This hard-hitting rock track captures the essence of staying strong in the face of adversity. The lyrics depict a determination to endure challenges and, well, ride out the storm. Richrath’s guitar work and the robust rhythm section make it a classic rock staple.

4. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1984) REO Speedwagon songs

This balled, also written by Kevin Cronin, explores the vulnerability of expressing one’s true feelings. ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ became an anthem of love and self-discovery. The lyrics reflect the internal struggle of confessing deep emotions. The song was a big hit for fans—it topped the charts—and earned widespread acclaim for its sincerity and emotional depth.

3. “Keep On Loving You” (1980) REO Speedwagon songs

Written by Kevin Cronin, ‘Keep On Loving You’ is one of band’s most popular—and most loved—songs. It’s a power ballad that explores the theme of love and perseverance. The lyrics convey a sense of determination to overcome challenges in a relationship. Cronin’s emotive delivery, combined with the memorable chorus, contributed to the song’s chart-topping success. This song became REO Speedwagon’s first number-one hit, marking a significant turning point in their career. Its emotional resonance and relatable lyrics make it a classic even today.

2. “Time for Me to Fly” (1978) REO Speedwagon songs

This soulful and introspective song, ‘Time for Me to Fly’ explores the theme of self-discovery and the realization that it’s time to move on from a relationship. Cronin’s emotional vocals add depth to the poignant lyrics. It’s a classic example of REO Speedwagon’s ability to blend rock in a heart-felt ballad.

1. “Take It on the Run”(1981) REO Speedwagon songs

This is one of those REO Speedwagon songs, written by Gary Richrath, is the classic rock anthem that  addresses the theme of infidelity and the spread of rumors. The famous lyrics are, “Heard it from a friend who. Heard it from a friend who. Heard it from another, you been messin’ around.” The lyrics depict a narrator who hears rumors about their partner’s unfaithfulness and decides to confront the situation. With its catchy guitar riffs and sing-along chorus, ‘Take It on the Run’ became a radio staple. The relatable theme and Richrath’s guitar work make it a fan favorite.

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