REO Speedwagon

Hi Infidelity/You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish

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This set contains everything REO Speedwagon released between 1977 and 1982, outside of Nine Lives. What is most interesting about these three albums is that, if listened to in the order they were released, it watches the progression of a band hinging on success to the album that introduced them to the masses to the syrupy sell out album that followed. Live: You Get What You Play For was the first release here, a live album from 1977 that tried to include their best songs from the six albums that came before this. They do a decent job of putting the songs together (although some might complain about not including "Without Expression," their incredible Terry Reid cover) and the performances are top notch. Still, the recorded versions of these tracks are definitely better, and there is a dated feel about the overall sound of everything. The next album, 1978's You Can Tune a Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish, may be their finest effort. Featuring "Roll With the Changes" and "Time For Me to Fly" (two massive hits at the time), as well as other good songs like "Say You Love Me or Say Goodnight" and the "Unidentified Flying Tuna Trot." It is easy to see why this was so big in its prime, the music is a perfect blueprint for successful '70s hard rock, from the muffled guitars to the big harmonies to the grand choruses. Jumping forward a bit, 1982's Hi-Infidelity is the big corporate nosedive. It was another huge hit and kept them afloat for a few years longer than anyone would have thought, but was also a blatant stab at commercial success that destroyed their waning credibility. "Take It on the Run" and "Shakin' It Loose" are the two best songs here, if only because they are more akin to their classic '70s material. Otherwise it is pretty easy to forget, and it contains the hideous "Keep on Loving You" (which saturated the radio throughout the decade). Fans of the band probably have these albums already, but if not this is a great way to get them all at once. Anyone looking to follow the history of the band should start here, as this literally contains the three most important albums of their career.

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