REO Speedwagon was born in the fall of 1967 at the University of Illinois. The band was formed to play cover songs in the bars on the colleges campus.
The groups strange name came from a truck, the REO Speedwagon, that was made by the REO Motor Car Company. Speedwagons were often used as fire trucks and were first manufactured in 1915!
Originally formed by Neal Doughty and Alan Gratzer, Terry Luttrell, Gregg Philbin and Gary Richrath had finished out the lineup by 1971.
Little by little during their performances they’d began to do some of their own songs. By 71′ they’d compiled enough original material that they caught the attention of Epic records and landed their first contract!
Their debut album “REO Speedwagon” was released in 1971. Although, at the time the record wasn’t the success the band had hoped for, it produced classics like “157 Riverside Avenue” and “Sophisticated Lady”.
During their first few years the band went through three lead vocalists. After their debut album Luttrell left the band, replaced with Kevin …