Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The #71 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era: "Hi Infidelity" by REO Speedwagon"

We are really getting into the cream of the crop now, as we are now within the top 70 Albums of the Rock Era*.

REO Speedwagon is the band that owns #71 with Hi Infidelity, and it was the culmination of ten years of working as a rock band with little results.  Yet they stuck with it, and in 1981 released this great album.  After eight albums, REO had finally struck paydirt.  Two monster hits "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Take It on the Run" emerged to lend support.  "Don't Let Him Go" and "In Your Letter" were also minor hits and "Tough Guys" and "Out Of Season" also were hits on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart and "Follow Your Heart" made the first half of the album top-notch.  These tracks generated great airplay on popular stations, AOR stations and on Adult Contemporary radio and are definitely a huge factor in getting the album a spot in the Top 100. 

 Much like the band, the album had to work its way to respectability.  It didn't reach the Top 10 until its eighth week, but thanks to heavy airplay of "Keep On Loving You", reached #1 on February 21, 1981.  It was #1 for 15 weeks, giving way briefly to Paradise Theater by Styx on two separate occasions but regaining the top spot.  Hi Infidelity then was #2 for another 7 and #3 for 2--24 weeks in the top three albums, pretty impressive indeed.  It was still hanging around the Top 3 34 weeks after its release.

The album remained in the Top 10 for 30 weeks and spent a total of 101 weeks on the chart.  To this point, Hi Infidelity has sold 9 million copies.  It also has a solid Track Rating* of 8.85.

The album was nominated for several awards from this album.  REO Speedwagon was nominated for Best Rock Group at the Grammy Awards, International Album of the Year at the Juno Awards and Favorite Pop Album, Favorite Single ("Keep On Loving You) and Favorite Group at the American Music Awards.

Hi Infidelity:
Side 1
1.  "Don't Let Him Go" (Kevin Cronin) --3:47
2.  "Keep On Loving You" (Cronin) --3:22
3.  "Follow My Heart" (Gary Richrath, Tom Kelly) --3:50
4.  "In Your Letter" (Richrath) --3:18
5.  "Take It on the Run" (Richrath) --3:59

Side 2
1.  "Tough Guys" (Cronin) --3:50
2.  "Out of Season" (Cronin, Kelly) --3:07
3.  "Shakin' It Loose" (Richrath) --2:25
4.  "Someone Tonight" (Bruce Hall) --2:40
5.  "I Wish You Were Here" (Cronin) --4:28

The REO Speedwagon Lineup for Hi Infidelity:
Kevin Cronin--lead singer, acoustic, electric and rhythm guitars, piano
Gary Richrath--electric and 12-string guitars, vocals
Neal Doughty--organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, Hammond organ
Alan Gratzer--drums, tambourine, vocals
Bruce Hall--bass and electric guitar, vocals, lead on "Someone Tonight"

The He-Man Broken Hearts Club Choir provided backup vocals (I'm not making that name up!), Richard Page, N. Yolletta and Tom Kelly also provide vocals with Steve Forman playing percussion in the album.

Hi Infidelity was recorded from March to October of 1980.  Producer Kevin Beamish also engineered the album; he had help producing from Speedwagon members Kevin Cronin, Alan Gratzer and Gary Richrath.  Kent Duncan, Greg Fulginiti and Jo Hansch mastered Hi Infidelity while Cronin arranged it.  Art Direction came from Kosh and Aaron Rapoport provided photography.  The album was released November 21, 1980 on Epic Records.

And it comes in at #71 all-time.  Hi Infidelity.

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