Saturday, March 9, 1985

REO Speedwagon “Can’t Fight This Feeling” hit #1

Can’t Fight This Feeling

REO Speedwagon

Writer(s): Kevin Cronin (see lyrics here)

Released: December 31, 1984

First Charted: January 18, 1985

Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 14 RR, 3 AC, 5 AR, 16 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK, 1.45 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 204.1 video, 297.02 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

REO Speedwagon had slogged their way across American venues for a decade before hitting big with 1981’s “lighters-up power ballad” SG “Keep on Loving You,” a #1 song from Hi Infidelity, which became the best-selling album in America that year. SG They also landed top-10 hits with “Take It on the Run” and “Keep the Fire Burnin’,” the latter from their 1982 Good Trouble album.

While MTV threatened to derail “the old arena-rock battleships” SG REO rode the storm out and, when “the excitement over British art-school synthpop was starting to fade” SG they were right there again with more “pure prom-slow-dance grandeur” SG – “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” from their 1984 Wheels Are Turnin’ album.

Lead singer Kevin Cronin started writing the song a decade earlier, even recording a demo when he left the band for a bit in the early ‘70s. WK While on vacation in Hawaii during a break from recording Wheels Are Turnin’, he thought of the song again and added a chorus and title. He explained how he had become attracted to a woman who was in his friend group, but he couldn’t say anything because she was dating one of the other friends. WK He finally finished the song when he realized he “couldn’t figh the feeling anymore and made the move to kind of go for it.” WK They ended up having a relationship and although it didn’t last, they stayed friends. WK

He explained that the song is about “that moment in time where…it gets to be too painful to be where you are and you know you have to change…but change is hard…and you overcome that fear of change.” FB More specifically, it “is a song about giving in and admitting that you actually care about someone.” SG

He said it was tough to express himself emotionally growing up, so when he does so in the song “he does it in the biggest possible way: Massed harmonies, screaming guitars, pounding drama-nerd pianos, overwrought metaphors about ships and candles and whirlwinds. He turns surrender into something ecstatic.” SG It is “adult-contemporary gloop. It’s dramatic and self-serious and massively catchy, with tremendous drunken-singalong potential.” SG


  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 603.
  • SG Stereogum (9/23/2020). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 12/25/2022; last updated 12/26/2022.

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