"Take It On The Run" Part 5

QUESTION:  In what format was Hi Infidelity not released in 1980?
A)  Vinyl
B)  Compact Disc
C)  Audiocassette
D)  8-Track Cassette

By 1980, REO Speedwagon had released eight studio albums and one live recording.  Prior to 1977, they made little or no impression on the charts, but then the fortunes of the band began to change. Their Live: You Get What You Play For began a turn for them that only strengthened with the next year's You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish. Two years after that, they released what would become their biggest album yet and, as time would prove, their biggest album ever:  Hi Infidelity.  It would change everything for the band, with six of its ten tracks being released as singles, and "Keep On Loving You" and "Take It On The Run" reaching the top ten.  The album went Platinum nine times over, selling ten million copies and becoming the best selling album of 1981.   

REO Hi Infidelity.jpg

One reason Hi Infidelity became such a huge hit, it can be speculated, is because it exploited a new way for bands to reach a wider audience, something called MTV.  In fact, lead singer Kevin Cronin was recruited by the Music Television channel to be one of its first VJ's.  He declined, as the story went, since it would have required that he leave the band.  The band remained hot for a number of years, although it proved unable to sustain the immense popularity they enjoyed at the beginning of the 1980's. They continue to perform in live venues to this day.  We are extremely confident that, if you attend any of these performances, you will hear "Take It On The Run" and "Can't Stop Loving You."

ANSWER:  B)  Compact Disc.  That would not happen for five more years.

"In Your Letter" Part 4

QUESTION:  Abraham Lincoln created the official holiday of Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November.  Which president moved it up to the second-to-the-last Thursday of November in an effort to extend the Christmas season?
A)  Andrew Johnson
B)  Calvin Coolidge
C)  Franklin Roosevelt
D)  Ronald Reagan

Today we're celebrating, giving a day of thanks which, for many of us, means an opportunity to spend time with family, eat too much, and watch some football.  Five Americans who we suspect are enjoying the festivities are Neal Doughty, Kevin Cronin, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato, and Bryan Hitt.  Granted, they are not household names for many of us anymore, but they have definitely touched most of us whether we recognize them or not. They are the five current members of the band Reo Speedwagon.  

The band was formed in 1967 by Neal Doughty to play covers.  At the time, he was studying electrical engineering at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Doughty took a course in transportation history, and used the truck produced by Ransom Olds' second company as his inspiration. While the automotive company pronounced their name like the city in Brazil, Rio, Doughty's band spelled out the letters R, E, and O.  Their first live performance happened that same year at a UI fraternity party that devolved into a food fight. It took ten years and numerous line-up changes before the REO Speedwagon went platinum. That was with their first live album, Live, You Get What You Play For. After that, they recorded a studio album, humorously called You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish.  It was their first album to actually chart in the Top 40.  It also went double platinum.  But none of this could have anticipated the success they achieved in the year 1980.

ANSWER:  C)  Franklin Roosevelt.  That was in 1939.  Two years later, Congress firmed it up as the fourth Thursday in November. 

"Follow My Heart" Part 3

QUESTION:  Which of the following vehicles was not a model produced by the Reo Motor Car Company?
A)  Flying Cloud
B)  Royal
C)  Victoria Eight
D)  Model M Touring

We've been talking about Ransom E Olds and the second automotive company he created - the Reo Motor Car Company.  Beginning in 1905, Ranse began producing cars in direct competition with the previous company he established, the Olds Motor Vehicle Company. While never surpassing the initial popularity of his Curved-Dash Runabout, Olds definitely did good with Reo. In 1907, Reo was considered one of the four most successful automobile manufacturers in the country.  Unfortunately, he was unable to keep up with the successes of the emerging General Motors and Ford Companies, both of which did extraordinarily well. By 1910, Reo got into the truck production business.  Ranse proved he could re-invent himself in the automotive industry, but had clashes with his investors again. Rather than fight, he appointed Richard Scott as general manager and focused on his real estate and other ventures. 

Meanwhile, Reo continued to innovate.  1915, the same year Olds bowed out of command of the company, Reo introduced the Speed Wagon.  It became a well-regarded truck, adaptable for numerous uses, it was a dump truck, fire truck, tow truck, hearse, ambulance, and pretty much whatever its purchaser wanted it to be.  The "Gold Crown" engine was admired for its reliability and power. Speed Wagons were produced until the early '50's.  While the trucks continue to be admired by afficionados, the words " Reo Speed Wagon" have become better known by a band that took them on.  We are, of course, referring to the 1970's and 1980's rock band Reo Speedwagon.

ANSWER:  B)  Royal.  Okay, this was a little tricky.  The actual name was Royale.