Monday, March 18, 2019

Musical Monday - Keep On Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of March 21, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of March 7, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

The 1980s were the era of the power ballad, and REO Speedwagon's Keep On Lovin' You was one of the first of the big hit power ballads. Actually, I think this may be the first power ballad to reach the peak position on the pop charts, and as a result pioneered a music form that would come to dominate the decade. It seems odd that pretty much every hair metal band of the mid- to late-1980s would follow the musical lead of a band like REO Speedwagon, but that seems to have been what happened.

I recall seeing some interviews with the band members about the development of Keep On Lovin' You that essentially amounted to saying that REO Speedwagon stumbled on to the power ballad formula almost by accident. Kevin Cronin, the band's lead singer, was apparently a folk singer by inclination, which is one of the reasons that he left the band for a time during the 1970s. When he sat down to write Keep On Lovin' You, he wanted to merge the had rock style of the rest of the band with his tendency towards folk ballads, and the result was the power ballad. I'm not entirely sure that one can credit REO Speedwagon with the creation of the power ballad - this anecdote is based on my recollection of stories told in an interview by band members in a documentary that I only dimly recall - but they were definitely responsible for helping to make power ballads the signature sound of the decade.

Previous Musical Monday: Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce Music Theatre
Subsequent Musical Monday: Jealous Guy by Roxy Music

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Rapture by Blondie

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Woman by John Lennon

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

REO Speedwagon     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

No comments:

Post a Comment