Ridin’ the Storm Out
Writer(s): Gary Richrath (see lyrics here)
Released (studio version, album cut): December 21, 1973
Released (single): February 1974
Released (on live album): January 1977
First Charted (live version): May 28, 1977
Peak (studio version): 46 CL, 9 DF
Peak (live version): 94 US, 97 CB, 79 HR, 6 CL, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 8.7 video, -- streaming
Awards (live version):
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
The rock band REO Speedwagon formed in Champaign, Illinois in 1967. Keyboardist Neal Doughty and drummer Alan Gratzer were the only original members left by the time the band released its self-titled debut in 1971. By then, singer Terry Luttrell, guitarist Gary Richrath, and bassist Gregg Philbin rounded out the group. For their second album, Kevin Cronin replaced Luttrell, but then Cronin left over creative differences during the making of the band’s third album, 1973’s Ridin’ the Storm Out. He was replaced by Mike Murphy.
That album was the first to chart for the band, reaching a measly #171, but eventually going platinum. The title song was written by Richrath about the band stuck in a harsh blizzard at a bar named Tulagi’s in Boulder, Colorado after a show. WK1 According to Cronin, Richrath was messing with the tour manager and trying to get lost. When they really did get lost, they had to stop and “ride the storm out.” SF The song was released as a single, but failed to chart – at least originally.
Murphy stuck around for the next two studio albums, but Cronin returned after a four-year absence for the 1976 album R.E..O.. The band released their first live album, You Get What You Play For, the next year and found their first chart success on the Billboard Hot 100. The live version of “Ridin’ the Storm Out” – this time with Cronin on lead vocals – only reached #94, but has become a “classic rock radio staple.” WK2 The band continued to grow its following until they pulled off a #1 hit in 1980 with the song “Keep on Loving You” and its chart-topping, ten-million-selling album Hi Infidelity.
A studio version of the song with Cronin on lead vocals was eventually released in 2018 on the box set The Early Years 1971-1977. WK1
First posted 7/21/2022.