The 80’s :: Heard it from a friend

REO Speedwagon - 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.”

History Lesson:  Take It On the Run, from the album Hi Infidelity, was released as a single in 1981. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and #6 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. It also reached #19 in the UK, and #4 in New Zealand. Unlike REO Speedwagon’s other top hits – Keep On Loving You and Can’t Fight This Feeling, Take It On the Run is not a Power Ballad.

This song was lead guitarist and vocalist Gary Richrath’s answer to fellow band co-leader Kevin Cronin’s Keep on Loving You – both were going through marital difficulties at the time. Says Richrath: “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.”

Personal Reflection:  This is one of my go-to karaoke songs that I absolutely love to sing, and every time that I do I wish that I knew how to play guitar so that I could be up their singing and playing  (especially during the guitar solo). I chose this song to try singing and performing because of a performance I saw once that Lisa Loeb did, singing (and playing) one of REO Speedwagon’s other hits, Keep On Loving You. It got me thinking about this band, and how I tended to overlook their music, often tossing them into that “cheesy” category. But, when I really started to think about their music I could not ignore the fact that this is a great rock song, and one I have always loved.

It is also personally relatable, not only because I have been on the losing side of infidelity, but because I have also dated someone who many people talked, and gossiped about, saying he was a cheater, when he truly was not. His outside “persona” was flirtatious, as he is an entertainer at heart in social situation, but he was loyal and true to relationships, and to us. The rumors were never true, and I trusted him throughout the chatter, so much so that I proposed to him, and married him last May. Though I know the spirit of this song is about someone who is actually cheating, the “heard it from a friend” line always reminds me of my own situation that actually did not include anyone cheating. It think feeling that emotion strongly adds to the power I feel when I sing it, and hopefully that is conveyed to anyone listening, too.


Take It On the Run :: REO Speedwagon

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