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REO Speedwagon Celebrates Best-Selling Album's Anniversary

of the Oakland Press

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Thirty years ago, REO Speedwagon was “literally on the brink of being dropped by our label,” according to frontman Kevin Cronin.

Then came the group’s “Hi Infidelity” album, which sold more than 9 million copies in the U.S. and spawned four Top 40 hits, including the chart-topping “Keep on Loving You” and the Top 5 “Take It on the Run.” Needless to say, it’s an anniversary the group is happy to celebrate.

“The ‘Hi Infidelity’ record was such a turning point for us, just on a personal and professional level,” says Cronin, 58, who remains from that album’s lineup along with keyboardist Neal Doughty and bassist Bruce Hall. “An awful lot of people took this music into their lives, into their hearts.

“It’s just too special of a time to ignore, so I just decided for this anniversary I’m going to embrace it and go for it ... We’re milking it for everything it’s worth!”

REO is playing the first side of “Hi Infidelity” in its entirety this year, while it will play the full album on the road in 2011. Next year will also bring a deluxe edition reissue of the album, including the original demos that REO’s manager recently found in his garage.

Meanwhile, Cronin says the current edition of REO is in a “creative spurt” that he hopes will yield the group’s first set of new material since 2007’s “Find Your Own Way Home” (not counting the 2009 holiday album “Not So Silent Night”). Cronin is playing one new song in concert — which he says will be called either “Can’t Stop Loving You” or “Unfinished Poem” — and he’s pleased that “this is another one of those tight periods for the band. You can’t take it for granted when you get five guys all in the same mindspace — like we were for ‘Hi Infidelity.’ It’s a real special thing.”

REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Tyler Bryant perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $45 and $30 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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