Story slug: 03132013cr rock the park reo Submitted photo of band Cutline: REO Speedwagon will headline the Aug. 17 Rock the Park in Columbus. Members of the band are, from left: drummer Bryan Hitt, bassist Bruce Hall, lead singer and guitarist Kevin Cronin, lead guitarist Dave Amato and keyboardist Neal Doughty.
Rock group REO Speedwagon, which made its biggest splash in the 1970s and 1980s, will headline this summer’s Rock the Park concert at Columbus’ Mill Race Park, with organizers calling the group a worthy follow-up to last year’s successful visit by
Foreigner. “Last year, we drew about 7,000 people, and this year with REO Speedwagon we should be able to draw the same type of crowd in terms of demographics,” said Arthur Smith, marketing and media director with the Columbus Area Arts Council, which helps organize Rock the Park. The concert is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 17.
Formed as a college band in 1967, REO Speedwagon rose to prominence during its first two decades.
Its 1980 album, “Hi Infidelity,” spawned four U.S. Top 40 hits; and the album remains the group’s best-selling release with more than 10 million copies sold.
Over its career, REO Speedwagon has sold more than 40 million records and had 13 Top 40 hits, including chart-toppers “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
The band has enjoyed a revival in recent years, teaming up in 2012 and again this spring with Styx and Ted Nugent on what’s been billed as the Midwest
Rock ’n Roll Express Tour. In 2010, REO toured with singer Pat Benatar.
Styx and Nugent won’t take part in Rock the Park in Columbus, though.
Smith expects REO Speedwagon to draw a diverse crowd to the mid-August concert.
“They were a well-known rock band for a lot of years, and that means they have fans from more than one generation,” the arts council media director said.
At the core of today’s REO Speedwagon is songwriter/singer/guitarist Kevin Cronin, an original member of the group.
With bandmates Bruce Hall on bass, keyboardist Neal Doughty, Dave Amato on lead guitar and Bryan Hitt on drums, REO celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007, releasing its 15th studio album, “Find Your Own Way Home.”
In 2009, REO teamed with Styx to record a single, “Can’t Stop Rockin’,” co-written by Cronin and Tommy Shaw of Styx.
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