Questioning REO Speedwagon As Best Band Out of Illinois; There Really Are So Many to Choose

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REO Speedwagon is an all-time great band, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield voters just placed REO Speedwagon #1 for the state’s bicentennial celebration Illinois200. The Daily Herald’s Jim Baumann is happy with REO Speedwagon being on the list, but he sees a problem with rock band Chicago not even making the top 21. A lot of people probably agree that super rock band Chicago got dissed … Maybe people downstate don’t like brass, or maybe voters read too much Jim DeRogatis (“Rock in this city [Chicago] pretty much sucked through the ’60’s and ’70’s“).

Check out Baumann’s article, and keep this in mind. Chicago has sold over 40 million units in the U.S., with 23 gold, 18 platinum, and eight multi-platinum albums. Chicago is one of the longest-running and most successful rock groups, selling more than 100 million records, and producing 20 top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nominated performers that did not make the top 10 include alt-rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, rapper Kanye West, classical conductor Georg Solti, and folk singer John Prine.

“Old Days” from Chicago VIII.

Dennis DeYoung (formerly of Styx): “I’m going to be in The Beatles or I’ll form my own band and be The Beatles. That was it.”

Besides the snub of Chicago

What about Styx and Dennis DeYoung, formed in the Roseland neighborhood in Chicago?

Ides of March “Vehicle” Live at Song House of Blues 2014.

… What about the Ides of March and Jim Pterik from Berwyn, Illinois with “Vehicle”? Their top song “Vehicle” is credited with being Warner Bros. Records fastest selling single in WB Records history. Ides of March guitarist Ray Herr was born on September 24, 1947 in Arlington Heights.

Survivor’s official music video for ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.

… What about Survivor with 1982 hit “Eye of the Tiger” (Jim Pterik, Frankie Sullivan). In September 1978 Survivor played their very first show at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois. One of Survivor’s earliest performances (their second gig, according to Peterik, in his autobiography Through the Eye of the Tiger), was at Haymakers Rock Club in Wheeling, Illinois on September 15, 1978. The breakthrough moment for Survivor occurred in 1982 when actor Sylvester Stallone asked the band to provide the theme song for his movie Rocky III. Stallone had heard “Poor Man’s Son” and wanted a similar song. Their reply to Stallone was the successful song “Eye of the Tiger” (Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 1 for six weeks and maintaining a position in the Top 40 for eighteen weeks).

… What about Jerry McGeorge and Jim Sohns of The Shadows of The Knight from Mount Prospect who played their one-hit wonder GLORIA at The Cellar in Arlington Heights?

… What about Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, whose 1971 hit “Lake Shore Drive”

… What about Steve Goodman, folk music singer-writer who wrote “City of New Orleans” and “Go, Cubs, Go”

REO Speedwagon included co-founder and our own Alan Gratzer from Arlington Heights. Gratzer graduated from Arlington High School with the Class of ’66. In 1968, Gratzer and roommate Neal Doughty started REO Speedwagon in their residence hall at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The band played in Champaign area bars in its early years. Alan played drums with REO Speedwagon until 1990.

Music video by REO Speedwagon performing Roll with the Changes. (C) 1978 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

See also …

wjct: 50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Rock in the ’60s and ’70s

Daily Herald: Is REO Speedwagon Illinois’ greatest band? Voters say yes.

Jim Baumann began his career at the Daily Herald in 1985 as a police reporter after having done summer internships at the then-weekly Lake County Herald papers in 1983 and the Rockford Register Star in 1984. A graduate of Prospect High School, Baumann is a Vice President/Managing Editor with the Daily Herald.



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Survivor – I See You in Everyone (Live in Japan 1985).

Survivor – Life Is On The Line [Haymakers, 645 Milwaukee Avenue, Prospect Heights/Wheeling 1978]

REO Speedwagon – Don’t Let Him Go.

REO Speedwagon – Time for me to fly – WWF-Club – 1986.

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