R.E.O. Speedwagon: Hi-Infidelity

REO album insertIf you went to school in the Midwest during the 1980’s, everyone was given a copy of REO Speedwagon’s landmark album, “Hi Infidelity” the first day of class. This may be stretching the truth, but this album became such a huge seller that is was classified DIAMOND for selling more than 10,000,000 copies. For reference, Adele’s “21” and Usher’s “Confessions” are the only albums in the last decade to earn DIAMOND status.  The Champaign, Illinois rockers built up a huge cult following in the Midwest during the 70’s with endless touring and big rock radio favorites like “Riding The Storm Out” and “Time For Me To Fly”.  But in 1980, R.E.O. Speedwagon’s big break came when they set the world on fire with their most successful album in their 47 year career.    “Hi Infidelity” released six of the ten songs as singles, four Top 10 Billboard hits, and two of the definitive power ballads of the decade “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On The Run”.



REO Speedwagon Hi Infidelity CD coverWhen you first picked up “Hi Infidelity”, the sexually provocative album cover art grabs your attention as check out a sexy woman in black lingerie seductively applying lipstick in a dark room lit by moonlight and the city lights.   When you dropped the needle on the record (remember this is from 1980!), the blues influence of Bo Diddly inspired  “Don’t Let Him Go” lets you know you’re in for one of the greatest Arena rock albums of all-time.    Track 2: the dramatic keyboard intro…”You should have seen by the look in my eyes, there was something missing”…..Keep On Loving You became the ultimate prom theme, the slow dance rock song cool enough for the guys to like yet romantic for the girls to swoon over.    Tracks 3 and 4: the 70’s California double pop/rock attack of   “Follow My Heart” and “In Your Letter“.



REO Speedwagon 1981Sadly too many albums that open with four incredible tracks often tend to fill the rest of the album with filler.   But Track 5 is the epic REO Speedwagon song, “Heard it from a friend who heard it from friend who heard it from another you’ve been messing around……”    This is the lighters in the air power ballad that everyone waves their arms around and chants with Kevin Cronin in concert.   “Take It On The Run” went straight to #1 and ultimately pushed Hi-Infidelity to Diamond Status.     Flip the album over to Side 2 and the Little Rascals intro on “Tough Guys“, the Gary Richrath solo on “Out Of Season“, and Bruce Hall’s “Someone Tonight” stand out as essential album cuts.     The huge mainstream success of “Hi-Infidelity” kicked off a decade of Arena rock domination on the charts and remains one of the albums that instantly takes you back in time to when great songs left some indelible memories that live forever. If you’re a fan, check out their 30th Anniversary reissue CD complete with bonus tracks from the early 80’s.