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Hi Infidelity (1981) - REO Speedwagon - Everything about the album ...

How the album was created...

The album "Hi Infidelity"(1981) by the band REO Speedwagon

On 21 February 1981, REO Speedwagon's ninth album, Hi Infidelity, takes the number one spot in America, displacing John Lennon's Double Fantasy.

The album stays at the top of the charts for 15 weeks - a record for '81! The hit from the record is "Keep On Loving You", written by lead singer Kevin Cronin after he learnt that his wife had cheated on him before marriage. Actually, as the title suggests, infidelity is the main theme of the album...

REO Speedwagon
REO Speedwagon

The story of the album's creation, achievements...

When REO Speedwagon started work on the album that would later become Hi Infidelity, they had no idea they were on the verge of huge commercial success! Truth be told, according to the band's keyboardist, Neil Doughty, he guessed they had created something special as soon as the record was completed....

"When the recording finished, we still had no idea what exactly had happened... But we knew we had done something very cool! I was firmly convinced of the uniqueness and charm of each of the songs... Usually when we finished an album, I would take a little break and not even listen to it for a while! But this time I re-listened to it several times... It was my favourite record from the moment we finished it! And that's when I realised that things were about to change..."

As a result, Hi Infidelity became a top 40 album and sold 10 million copies worldwide! As for the band, even though the guys had a bit of a flop with their follow-up album (Good Trouble, 1982), they soon found themselves on the top of the charts with another blockbuster called Wheels Are Turnin (1984).

In short, the 80's proved to be a good period for REO Speedwagon, while some of their peers struggled to stay relevant... REO Speedwagon remained at the peak of their popularity the whole decade! And that's considering the fact that the band abandoned the heavy music they used to play...

Kevin Cronin:

"This album is the biggest record of my career..."

About the composition "Keep On Loving You"....

But back to the topic of infidelity... As mentioned above, the biggest hit from the album was the song "Keep On Loving You", written by Kevin Cronin, not from the warmest of motives....

A word to the author himself:

"I woke up abruptly one night and these three simple piano chords were just whirling through my head... One of the things that I, as a songwriter, always take seriously: if you feel inspired and you're driving down the street, you pull over, if you're sleeping, you make sure you get up... That is - you need to do everything you can to capture your inspiration... So I woke up and just went to my little home studio, sat down at my little Wurlitzer electric piano and started playing those chords!"

 

"...When I came to the studio the next day, I started playing what I had written the night before... With us, it works like this: one of us comes to the rehearsal and starts playing something of our own... If everyone joins in and the atmosphere starts to heat up, it's a good sign! But if the others don't, it's usually not a good sign... In this particular case, nobody started playing along... But I was quite persistent. I kept playing until Gary finally plugged his guitar into a stack of Marshalls and turned up that rough sound... At first I thought he did it on purpose - to drown me out! But when he started playing... Oh my God... It was the perfect sound... And how surprised he was when I said: "Dude, that's beautiful! Keep playing that!" And he was like, "Wait, you're kidding, right?" I said: "No! That's exactly what this song needs!"

"'Keep On Loving You' is, on the one hand, a very sweet song... But you have to listen to the intent of it - to realise what the verse is really saying... Oh yeah. It's a pretty dark song..."

About the songs: the idea, the meaning, the...

https://youtu.be/7URsDB4zQUc

"Don't Let Him Go" is the very first song written by Kevin Cronin for this album. According to the author himself, the band had high hopes for this composition....

https://youtu.be/c17W2Febo-0

"Keep On Loving You" was written by Kevin after he found out his wife was cheating on him when they weren't married yet but were already dating....

https://youtu.be/Yxymsnj82R0

"Tom Kelly and Gary came up with this song independently, so I don't know much about the writing of it. But I can tell you that when I first heard it, I wasn't fazed, to be honest..." - Kevin once commented.

https://youtu.be/LJSCYfpjhts

The song "In Your Letter" tells the story of the band's keyboardist Neil Doughty: his wife left him for someone else, announcing the divorce in a letter.

https://youtu.be/FdKoQKiAedE

The song "Take It On The Run," written by guitarist Gary Richrath, is about how he "...heard from a friend, who heard from another friend, who heard from another friend, who heard from yet another friend, how his girlfriend was cheating on him left and right."

https://youtu.be/IlaG_Wa8Chw

Kevin Cronin: "It was an important song for me, and it still is to this day... It's a pretty vulnerable statement. It's my reaction to the bullying I experienced as a kid... So... this lyric comes from a very, very vulnerable place... From childhood..."

https://youtu.be/Up2CviCvYuU

"Out of Season" is the only song on the album that features a slight treatment.

https://youtu.be/Lhu9qQAMexs

Kevin described "Shakin' 'It Loose" as a "little respite" while writing heavy and dark material....

https://youtu.be/x82G8TWgWBY

The composition 'Someone Tonight' is inspired by the work of Kevin's favourite artist, Bruce Hall....

https://youtu.be/1PpgNoX3Tr4

Kevin: "This is the purest and most spiritual song on the album... There was an extraordinary atmosphere in the studio when it was recorded... It was really magical! At that moment we were all very close to each other spiritually..."

Success!

During the summer of '81 the album held its position, slowly sliding downwards, but the situation changed on 1 August. On that fateful day the music TV channel MTV officially started its work. And among other bands whose music videos were broadcast on TV, MTV put the live recording of "Take It On The Run" on the air, along with the inexpensive but eye-catching "Keep On Loving You" video, where Cronin talks about his problems to a psychiatrist.

MTV even put on REO Speedwagon's video from three years ago, "Roll With The Changes." These events gave new life to the album. It stayed in the charts (in total) for 101 weeks - which is not bad for the band, founded in 1967 in Illinois. It's a bit snotty, but clearly a life-affirming story!

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