REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity (1980)

FrontCover1Hi Infidelity is the ninth studio album by the band REO Speedwagon, it was released on November 21, 1980 (see 1980 in music). The album became a big hit in the United States peaking at number one on the Billboard 200. It went on to become the biggest selling rock albums of 1981, eventually being certified nine times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. From the singles released, the band got their first of two number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, “Keep On Loving You”.Hi Infidelity is the ninth studio album by the band REO Speedwagon, it was released on November 21, 1980 (see 1980 in music). The album became a big hit in the United States peaking at number one on the Billboard 200. It went on to become the biggest selling rock albums of 1981, eventually being certified nine times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. From the singles released, the band got their first of two number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, “Keep On Loving You”.

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The album title is a play on the term Hi-Fi (high fidelity), and the album art is an illustration of this pun where an act of sexual infidelity is occurring while the man is putting a record LP to play on the hi-fi stereo.

From the album six songs charted Billboard charts, including “Keep On Loving You” which was the band’s first Number 1 hit, and “Take It on the Run”, which reached No. 5 on the charts. The song “Tough Guys” uses an audio clip from the 1938 Our Gang episode “Hearts Are Thumps”.

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“Tough Guys” was one of two songs from the album that charted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart despite not being released as singles. Music critic Robert Christgau called “Tough Guys” his favorite song from the album but suggested that the line “They think they’re full of fire/She thinks they’re full of shit” would prevent the song from reaching the pop Top 40.
In October 2004, the band recorded the songs of this album live from beginning to end for an XM Radio “Then Again Live” special. (by wikipedia)

Singles

Many albums have scaled to the top of the American charts, many of them not so good, but few have been as widely forgotten and spurned as REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity. In a way, the group deserved this kind of success. They had been slogging it out in the arenas of the U.S., building up a sizeable audience because they could deliver live. And then, in 1980, they delivered a record that not just summarized their strengths, but captured everything that was good about arena rock. This is the sound of the stadiums in that netherworld between giants like Zeppelin and MTV’s slick, video-ready anthems. This is unabashedly mainstream rock, but there’s a real urgency to the songs and the performances that gives it a real emotional core, even if the production keeps it tied to the early, previsual ’80s. And so what if it does, because this is great arena rock, filled with hooks as expansive as Three Rivers Stadium and as catchy as the flu. That, of course, applies to the record’s two biggest hits — the power ballad “Keep on Loving You” and the surging “Take It on the Run” — which define their era, but what gives the album real staying power is that the rest of the record works equally well.

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That’s most apparent on the Bo Diddley-inspired opener, “Don’t Let Him Go,” whose insistent beat sent it to the album rock charts, but also such great album tracks as “Follow My Heart,” the sun-kissed ’60s homage “In Your Letter,” and “Tough Guys.” What’s really great about these songs is not just the sheen of professionalism that makes them addictive to listen to, but there’s a real strain of pathos that runs through these songs — the album’s title isn’t just a clever pun, but a description of the tortured romantic relationships that populate this record’s songs. This is really arena rock’s Blood on the Tracks, albeit by a group of guys instead of a singular vision, but that makes it more affecting, as well as a killer slice of ear candy. It’s easy to dismiss REO Speedwagon, since they weren’t hip at the time, and no amount of historical revisionism will make them cool kitsch. And, let’s face it, their records were usually hit-and-miss affairs. But they did get it right on. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Neal Doughty (keyboards)
Alan Gratzer (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Bruce Hall (bass, background vocals, vocals on 09.)
Kevin Cronin (vocals, guitar, piano)
Gary Richrath (guitar)
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Steve Forman (percussion)
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background vocals:
He-Man Broken Hearts Club Choir – Tom Kelly – Richard Page – N. Yolletta

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Tracklist:
01. Don’t Let Him Go (Cronin) 3.46
02. Keep On Loving You (Cronin) 3.23
03. Follow My Heart (Kelly/Richrath) 3.51
04. In Your Letter (Richrath 3.18
05. Take It On The Run (Richrath) 3.01
06. Tough Guys (Cronin) 3.51
07. Out Of Season (Cronin/Kelly) 3:07
08. Shakin’ It Loose (Richrath) 2:27
09. Someone Tonight (Bruce/Hall) 2.41
10. I Wish You Were There (Cronin) 4.27

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Gary Dean Richrath (October 18, 1949 – September 13, 2015)

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