Friday, March 14, 2008

BOTB: Arena Rock Catagory; Chicago Boys

Today we have another one. These two bands played the same hometown circuit, and shared a fan rivalry, neither one breaking fully mainstream until the late 1970's.
Without tipping my hand this time: one is a heavy favorite,my first favorite ever, providing most of my personal background noise(shared with Queen,go figure) when I was in junior high.
I had the full album collection, knew all the songs, and were first concert I ever attended. It was 1978, the Cars, still unknown, were the opening act. And I was damn lucky to get tickets. (Sold Out in minutes, but my neighbor had a friend in the box office).

The other band,though favored by my Chicago-dwelling *cousinery, weren't worth a warm bucket of spit in winter (in my opinion.) And they still aren't.

Among the similarities these two bands share:
Less than macho, piano playing front men.
Albums sales were driven more by the gratuitous 'chick favored' songs as opposed to the solid rock n roll both bands were equally and fully capable of.
The band members really seemed to be enjoying playing together, and had fun doing it.
The mutual respect among the members themselves for their unique strengths, allowing each a chance to showcase himself.

And to add: there doesn't seem to be much available video of either band from their shared heyday. But all kinds of stuff from the geriatric tours.

But, now it's time: you be the judge.

REO Speedwagon, from LiveAid,1985


Styx, at Budokan,1982

*cousinery: a new word used to described a class of people to which one is related, extending beyond the immediate family, and includes people you generally only see at funerals and weddings.


BarnGoddess said...

REO is still one of my favorite bands...I literally grew up on them and Loverboy!

RW said...

There is a picture of REO Speedwagon playing at a pre-Homecoming dance in my freshman yearbook. They were still just guys from somebody's garage then.

Gino said...

RW: too cool. my cousin remembers styx playing at one of her high school dances(proviso east,i think). they played 'Lady' and about a yr later, the album came out with that song on it.
she remembered that song, but forgot the band until it came to her later.

Mark said...

You guys did better than we did; the band that appeared at my high school was the 1910 Fruitgum Company. No, really.

These two bands were all over the radio in Wisconsin growing up. At the time, I preferred Styx, but once I got exposed to more music I figured out how bad they really were. Today I'd pick REO, who were dumb as hell but never pretended to be anything other than dumb fun.

But if you want a better Illinois-based band that was a contemporary of these two, you have to go with the pride of Rockford, Cheap Trick. They had a little success at Budokan, too, if memory serves....

Gino said...

no,no,no... we're not doing cheap trick this time. stay within the comparisons,would ya?

Kristopher said...

Well, shit! I knew Styx was from Chicago, but I didn't know REO Speedwagon was as well.

We already have to apologize for the band Chicago and Richard Marx. Now we have to say sorry about REO Speedwagon too.

I have to go with them over Styx anyway, though.

Strolling Amok said...

REO definitely. I wish I still had my old 8 track of Hi Infidelity - I have it framed. Can't stand Styx who somehow manage to be bland and pretentious at the same time.

Mick said...

Styx wins my vote.

However, Take It On The Run and In My Dreams are found on my playlists often.

Mark said...

Sorry Gino. In case it wasn't clear, I did vote for REO.

Uncle Ben said...

I'd like to throw away both of these oars forever. Negative on the both of 'em.

Jade said...


REO is actually on my iPod... however this particular Styx song is so very fun to sing along to in a very dramatic way when it comes on the classic rock station...

but... I have to say... (and forgive me for being so very bad with matching classic rock bands to their songs...) I thought this song was Queen.

So I guess the vote should go to REO since I actually knew who the band was for that song prior to seeing these videos.

Gino said...

OK, the votes are in , and MY band clearly got creamed.

just what is wrong with the world today?

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

I love them both... TIE!