♫ Take It On The Run ♫

Released in 1981, this is probably my favourite REO Speedwagon song.  I say ‘probably’, for if you ask me on another day, it might be Take it on the Run … I’m subject to change my mind according to mood of the moment! 

The song was written by lead guitarist Gary Richrath. Take It on the Run was the follow-up single behind the group’s number one hit, Keep on Loving You.

Said Richrath of the song’s origins …

“When I wrote that, I woke up one night, half asleep, and sat down in front of the TV. There was a soap opera on it. I was just sitting there, strumming a guitar, thinking, ‘God, these guys’ relationships are worse than mine.’ I just sat there and sang vocals about the effects of gossip and relationships breaking up, which was what was on the tube and all that was similar to what was going on in my life.”

This song peaked on the Hot 100 on May 30, 1981, a little over a month before MTV went on the air. The band shot a concert video for the song with director Jay Dubin, which was the ninth video MTV aired when the network launched on August 1, 1981. However, twelve seconds after the video started, there was a glitch and the tape cut out, a bad omen for the band, which was soon replaced on the network by more charismatic bands that made concept videos.

According to REO Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin, the original title to the song was Don’t Let Me Down. Cronin says that he insisted that the title should be Take It on the Run and that he added the line to the refrain “You’re under the gun / So you take it on the run,” which he says “either makes sense or it doesn’t, but it sure sung well and it sure rhymed, and it was a spur-of-the-moment thing that when I heard the rest of the song, that’s what I felt.”

This song reached #2 in Canada, #5 in the U.S., and #19 in the UK.

Take It On the Run
REO Speedwagon


Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from another you been messin’ around
They say you got a boy friend
You’re up late every weekend
They’re talkin’ about you and it’s bringin’ me down


But I know the neighborhood
And talk is cheap when the story is good
And the tales grow taller on down the line
But I’m telling you, babe
That I don’t think it’s true, babe
And even if it is keep this in mind


You take it on the run baby
If that’s the way you want it baby
Then I don’t want you around
I don’t believe it, not for a minute
You’re under the gun so you take it on the run


You’re thinking up your white lies
You’re putting on your bedroom eyes
You say you’re coming home but you won’t say when
But I can feel it coming
If you leave tonight keep running
And you need never look back again


You take it on the run baby
If that’s the way you want it baby
Then I don’t want you around
I don’t believe it, not for a minute
You’re under the gun so you take it on the run


You take it on the run baby
If that’s the way you want it baby
Then I don’t want you around
I don’t believe it, not for a minute
You’re under the gun so you take it on the run


Take it on the run baby
If that’s the way you want it baby
Then I don’t need you around
I don’t believe it, not for a minute
You’re under the gun so you take it on the run


Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from another you been messin’ around


Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Gary Dean Richrath
Take It On the Run lyrics © Hori Pro Entertainment Group

♫ Keep On Loving You ♫

This REO Speedwagon song, released in 1980, is lead singer Kevin Cronin’s response after he found out his wife Denise had been cheating on him before they were married. Instead of leaving her, he decided that he would keep on loving her no matter what, as he made that promise:

When I said that I loved you I meant that I loved you forever
And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you

Cronin called it, “The most painful song I ever wrote.”  It didn’t work out for Kevin Cronin though, as he and Denise split up a few years after the album was released.  Said Cronin of the song …

“That song is a yin-yang thing, where there is obviously trouble in paradise in the verses, but I always believed that people are capable of changing, and that if your life runs into a tough spot, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to run from it. You can also look it in the eye, and if there is enough worthwhile in the relationship to keep it going, then you give it all you’ve got, and that’s what I did. Even in giving it all I got, at some point, we realized that it just wasn’t going to work. So when I wrote that line, I meant it. I tried my best, but it just didn’t happen.”

REO Speedwagon was one of the first rock bands to score big with power ballads in the ’80s. They had the good fortune of being one of the hottest bands in America when MTV launched on August 1, 1981, and this song was the 17th song played on MTV that first day.  The network continued to play their videos, even though they were low-budget affairs.  

The video shows Cronin with a hot female psychiatrist. He explained in the book I Want My MTV:

“Someone figured out that you had to have a hot chick in the video. The psychiatrist was this gorgeous model with librarian glasses. She was out of our league, big-time.”

Before REO Speedwagon recorded this, they were known as a hard rock band. Keyboardist Neal Doughty initially had concerns about recording this love ballad, but his fears were allayed when this proved to be a breakthrough hit for the band.

Keep On Loving You
REO Speedwagon

You should have seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was somethin’ missin’
You should have known by the tone of my voice, maybe
But you didn’t listen
You played dead, but you never bled
Instead you laid still in the grass, all coiled up and hissin’

And though I know all about those men
Still I don’t remember
‘Cause it was us
Baby, way before then, and we’re still together
And I meant
Every word I said
When I said that I loved you I meant that I loved you forever

And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do
I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep on lovin’ you

And I meant
Every word I said
When I said that I loved you I meant that I loved you forever

And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do
I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep on lovin’ you

Baby, I’m gonna keep on loving you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I wanna do
I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep on lovin’ you


Songwriters: Kevin Patrick Cronin
Keep On Loving You lyrics © Fate Music
Source: Musixmatch

♫ I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore ♫

I was planning to play a song for a special friend tonight, but … first off, I realized I had played it just a few months ago, and secondly, this one came up on my playlist as I was doing house chores and listening to music this afternoon, and as often happens, it got stuck in my head … and I was whistling it, humming it, and occasionally bursting out in song with the few parts of the lyrics I actually know … or think I know!

Released by REO Speedwagon in 1984, this song was given the John Lewis Christmas advert tribute for 2019 in the UK.  But what of the song’s origins?

The ballad was written by REO Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin, who also penned other hits by the band including Keep on Loving You.

When the band struggled to come up with songs for their Wheels Are Turnin’ album, they each took time off they could write alone.

Cronin travelled to Molokai, Hawaii, and he played around with a song that he first wrote 10 years earlier but never finished. It evolved into this.  According to Cronin …

“Really, what the song is about was about my inability to have the courage to express myself. I was brought up in an Irish-Catholic family, and you were taught to always keep a bright face, always act like everything was OK, even if maybe everything on the inside wasn’t so OK. So that’s something I’ve struggled with, and over the years have gotten better at.

At that time, the only way I knew to express those feelings was to write songs about them. I’ve learned over the years that it works better to talk to people!  You can actually become closer to other human beings when you are vulnerable and express yourself and are free to tell the truth and to be honest and to be up front with your feelings. It does work. Back in those days, the best that I could do was write a song about it.”

While only a #16 hit in the UK, the song gave REO Speedwagon its second #1 hit in the U.S. in 1985.

Now, I mentioned above that it was the John Lewis Christmas advert in the UK this past year.  The John Lewis & Partners Christmas advert is a television advertising campaign released by British department store chain John Lewis & Partners, and since 2007 has become something of an annual tradition in British popular culture.  I mention this only because I checked it out, and while the quality of the music is not up to the standards of the original by REO Speedwagon, it is a fun, cute video, so I am playing it, too, along with the original!

Can’t Fight This Feeling
REO Speedwagon

I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever
I said there is no reason for my fear
‘Cause I feel so secure when we’re together
You give my life direction, you make everthing so clear

And even as I wander, I’m keeping you in sight
You’re a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night
And I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might

And I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
It’s time to bring this ship into the shore
And throw away the oars, forever

‘Cause I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
And if I have to crawl upon the floor, come crashing through your door
Baby, I can’t fight this feeling anymore

My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you
I’ve been running round in circles in my mind
And it always seems that I’m following you, girl
‘Cause you take me to the places that alone I’d never find

And even as I wander, I’m keeping you sight
You’re a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night
And I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might

And I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
It’s time to bring this ship into the shore
And throw away the oars, forever

‘Cause I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
And if I have to crawl upon the floor, come crashing through your door
Baby, I can’t fight this feeling anymore

Songwriters: Cronin Kevin
Can’t Fight This Feeling lyrics © Fate Music