An Album A Day #20: REO Speedwagon's A DECADE OF ROCK AND ROLL 1970-1980 [1980]

The Christmas of 1980 bought more cash into young HERC's hands than ever before and he parlayed some of that bankroll into a few album purchases.  Among them was REO Speedwagon's recently released Hi Infidelity which would go on to become THE album of 1981.  The album was HERC's introduction to the music of the band who had formed in 1970 just a few towns over from where HERC lived back then.

Early in 1981, HERC purchased today's featured album, a double disc vinyl set and played it a lot.  It quickly replaced Hi Infidelity as his number one most spun REO record.  So much so that he decided to buy it again on cassette when he visited his grandparents in Texas that Summer.  

Side One of the double length tape features tracks from the band's first six albums, from 1970 up through 1976.  Only two of those tracks stood out (and continue to stand out) for HERC: 'Golden Country" from 1972's R.E.O./TWO and "Keep Pushin'" from 1976's R.E.O.  Side Two starts with four live tracks from their 1977 Live You Get What You Play For double album, including concert staples "157 Riverside Avenue" (the first track from their debut album) and "Ridiin' The Storm Out".

The next three tracks were from their cleverly named 1978 double platinum album, You Can Tune A Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish:  "Roll With The Changes", "Time For Me To Fly" and "Say You Love Me Or Say Goodnight".  The former two are driving mixtape favorites of HERC's and classic rock radio recurrents, as well, despite charting outside the Top 50 on the Singles chart.  The final two tracks on A Decade were the two newest tracks, from 1979's Nine Lives: "Only The Strong Survive" and "Back On The Road Again".  

The latter track was written by bassist Bruce Hall and his bandmates wisely let him sing it as well.  HERC rewound and played "Back On The Road Again" so often that the tape eventually broke about two weeks before his Summer vacation was over.   Guitarist Gary Richrath's solo in the song is nothing short of six-string bliss and the fact he reprises it as the song fades out is just a bonus.  HERC finally caught the group live on their Wheels Are Turnin' tour in 1985 with the hottie who became MRS. HERC by his side.

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