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Summer Rockin’ Preview: Styx and REO Speedwagon

This week we’re taking a direct flight to classic-rock heaven. Two of rock’s longest-running, hardest-working bands, Styx and REO Speedwagon, are joining forces this summer for the “Can’t Stop Rockin’” tour, which we’re pumped to be co-sponsoring. To help get you in the right frame of mind we’ve got their new collaborative single, plus three past hits from each. Both Styx and REO scored big with an equal mix of rockers and ballads; but we’ve gone for the rocking side of each band—with one exception that we just couldn’t resist.

A bit of history here: Both are Indiana bands who started in a much different era—REO in 1968, Styx in 1970 - with a different sound than the world came to know. REO Speedwagon originally specialized in pile-driving rock tunes; and “Ridin’ the Storm Out”—the title track of their third album—was the first to get any major airplay. By 1978’s “Roll With the Changes,” Kevin Cronin was in as the third and permanent lead singer—it still rocks, but note the sophistication. Not until 1979’s Nine Lives—yep, their ninth album—did REO get known for power ballads. And we’ve got the biggie: "Take It On the Run,” a song that stopped a few breakups in its time.

Styx started out with strong prog-rock leanings, but it was a more streamlined sound that put them on top. “Too Much Time On My Hands” and “Blue Collar Man” both bear out their heartland roots--- It’s pure synchrony that we’ve released both songs a week after Tax Day. And if Tax Day made you think about knocking over a bank, feel free to take the outlaw epic “Renegade” as a cautionary tale.

Wrapping up the package is something brand new: “Can’t Stop Rockin’” is the theme for the tour, an anthem that Cronin and Styx’ Tommy Shaw whipped up together. Play it in the proper spirit—Just don’t wave lighters in the living room, your parents won’t like that.