REO SPEEDWAGON – Nine Lives [Rock Candy Remastered] *HQ*

REO SPEEDWAGON - Nine Lives [Rock Candy Remastered] *HQ* - full

Many of you asked for Rock Candy Records reissues to complete collections, so here’s chart-busters REO SPEEDWAGON 1979’s “Nine Lives“, featured for the first time here.
The title says it all. REO Speedwagon had been knocking out albums since the early Seventies, forever the support band and virtually unknown outside their American mid-west stomping ground. Naming their album ‘Nine Lives’ was a tribute to the fact that they had managed to record nine albums for EPIC records, a truly amazing feat baring in mind that they had yet to secure a hit single or even secure a foothold in the trendy East and West Coast concert halls.
REO Speedwagon’s previous album had signalled a shift in style towards a slightly more refined sound and ‘Nine Lives’ continued with that transition. This time around the sound was more forthright, with Richrath and Cronin really hitting their stride, reminiscent of the classic vocal/guitar foyle of say Plant/Page or Tyler/Perry.
While there’s other remastered versions of “Nine Lives”, this Rock Candy treatment is fabulous discovering a lot of sonic nuances, showcasing how well the album was produced at the time. The CD has become scarce since released, not listed at RC website anymore.

Tracks such as ‘Heavy On Your Love’, ‘Only The Strong Survive’, ‘Drop It’ and ‘Back On The Road Again’ suggested a band on the cusp of something very big indeed. ”Nine Lives”, originally issued in 1979 and produced by the band and Kevin Beamish (Jefferson Starship, Y&T, Michael Schenker Group), delivered sharp shooting yet melodic hard rock sitting somewhere between Aerosmith and Cheap Trick with great songs and even greater attitude.
Given the popular disco craze of the era, ”Nine Lives” was considered a heavy rock slab at the time. Presented in black spandex, black leather and even a black gangsta suit, the band members’ appearance was sleeker and edgier-looking than on their previous eight album LP covers.
The record soon reached #33 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status (500,000 copies) by December 1979.

Despite the band’s heavier sound and sexier look, what makes ”Nine Lives” one of the two shiniest jewels of the REO catalog is the songs — nine well-crafted, all-new, signature-style, radio-friendly melodic rock treasures from a still-hungry combo.
A Cronin / Richrath collaborative songwriting effort, ‘Heavy on Your Love’ kicks off the record with a ferocious opening Richrath riff, glossed with Neal Doughty’s fat and moist classic organ styling — leading into Cronin’s libido-driven proclamation, ‘I’m gettin’ heavy on your love, every night. Gettin’ ready for your love, with all of my might’. Richrath’s wah-wah work is simply bottom-blistering. And just when you feel the strength to offer up a half-hearted, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?” he thwacks ya again with the swirling guitar intro of track #2, ‘Drop It (An Old Disguise)’ — a magnificent cock-rocker, accented by Doughty’s super-crisp piano solo.

A pair of Richrath-penned compositions, ‘Only the Strong Survive’ showcases all things beautiful and glorious about REO at the time and ‘Easy Money’ depicts a presumed fictional experience of being busted while smuggling cocaine inside a guitar case into Peru — a compelling far cry from ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling,’ that’s for sure.
“Pastor” Cronin “preaches” love and forgiveness convincingly in ‘Take Me,’ while his engaging love song, ‘I Need You Tonight’ arguably is the record’s most infectious earworm. Featuring an irresistible Doughty piano solo, it could have been a comfy fit on Hi Infidelity.

Another high-octane highlight, ‘Meet Me on the Mountain’ segues seamlessly into bassist Bruce Hall’s lead vocal contribution, the hard-driving, record-closing, ‘Back on the Road Again.’ Telling an authentic tale of being a rock dude on the road, Hall seemingly promises a “tour chick,” Maybe I’ll see you the next time that I’m around. Ha-ha — of course you will! This furious track remains a staple of both classic rock radio playlists and the band’s concert setlist.

While in the Eighties the band sound turned more commercial, pop-AOR friendly, in the late ‘70s REO Speedwagon were the crowned “Kings of American Hard Rock.” And no other record found in their impressive catalog screams that point more profoundly than ”Nine Lives”.
A “white hot” moment, indeed.
Highly Recommended

You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox


01 – Heavy On Your Love
02 – Drop It (An Old Disguise)
03 – Only The Strong Survive
04 – Easy Money
05 – Rock & Roll Music
06 – Take Me
07 – I Need You Tonight
08 – Meet Me On The Mountain
09 – Back On The Road Again

Kevin Cronin – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Gary Richrath – lead guitar
Neal Doughty – keyboards
Bruce Hall – bass, backing vocals (lead on track 9)
Alan Gratzer – drums, backing vocals
Bill Champlin – backing vocals
Steve Forman – percussion
Tom Kelly – backing vocals



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3 Responses

  1. kosedi says:

    Thank you so much.Good album.
    Please can you post album from BANDIT-same or MARIAH-same,Bad reputation release?

  2. Örjan says:

    Magic, 0dayrox! Another wish strikes.

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