The seeds of the band were sewn with keyboardist Neal Doughty enrolling in an electric engineering program at the University of Illinois. This proved to be a good move, as they had formed the first incarnation of REO Speedwagon, taking the name from a car that Doughty studied in one of his engineering classes. They started playing concerts around their campus bars, university events and frat parties, as a matter of fact their first concert was at a frat party that turned into giant food fight after they came of stage.
On his first night, he met fellow student Alan Gratzer.
They held an impromptu jam session in the basement of their Illinois Street Residence Hall dormitory   and soon started a rock band.
Gratzer had been a drummer since high school, and was playing in a local group on the weekends, while Doughty had learned some Beatles songs on his parents' piano. Doughty began to follow Gratzer's band, eventually sitting in on a song or two.
The keyboard player was the leader, but several other band members were unhappy with the situation.
On the last day of the university's spring semester, guitarist Joe Matt called the band's leader and told him that he, drummer Gratzer, and bassist Mike Blair had decided to leave the band to start a new one with Doughty.
They made a list of songs to learn over the summer break, and Doughty landed a summer job to buy his first keyboard. The members returned to school in the fall ofand had their first rehearsal before classes started. Doughty had seen the name written across the blackboard when he walked into his History of Transportation class on the very first day they had decided to look for a name.
Rather than pronouncing REO as a single word as the motor company did, they chose to spell out the name with the individual letters each pronounced "R-E-O". An ad in the school newspaper produced their first job, a fraternity party that turned into a food fight. They continued to perform cover songs in campus bars, fraternity parties, and university events.
The first lineup consisted of Doughty on keyboards, Gratzer on drums and vocals, Joe Matt on guitar and vocals, Mike Blair on bass and vocals.
In earlyTerry Luttrell became lead singer, and Bob Crownover joined as the guitar player, replacing Matt. Crownover played guitar for the group until the summer of when Bill Fiorio replaced him.
Fiorio then departed in lateeventually assuming the name Duke Tumatoeand went on to form the All Star Frogs.
Richrath was a Peoria, Illinois -based guitarist and prolific songwriter who brought fresh original material to the band.
Richrath had driven miles to see the band and become a part of it. He is quoted as saying "I'm going to be a part of that band whether they like it or not", and then went about making it happen.
With Richrath on board, the regional popularity of the band grew tremendously. The band signed to Epic Records in Paul Lekaan East Coast record producer, brought the band to his recording studio in BridgeportConnecticut where it recorded original material for its first album.
Debut album[ edit ] With their equipment being hauled to dates in a friend's station wagon, REO played bars and clubs all over the Midwest. The band's debut album, R.
Speedwagonwas released on Epic Records in REO Speedwagon (originally styled as R.E.O. Speedwagon) is an American rock band from Champaign, tranceformingnlp.com in , the band cultivated a following during the s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the s.
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View the concert map Statistics of REO Speedwagon in ! REO Speedwagon is an American rock band whose popularity grew during the s and peaked in the early s. Hi Infidelity is the group's most commercially successful album, selling over ten million copies and charting four Top 40 hits in the US.
Discography. REO Speedwagon. The Early Years September 18th, through November 10th, Download "The Early Years" Tour Date Listing. REO Speedwagon toured the US in , including a sold-out concert in Madison, Wisconsin in May.
REO Speedwagon continues to tour regularly, REO and Chicago once again teamed up for tour dates during the summer of Band members.