10 Albums that changed Kevin Cronin’s life

Kevin Cronin

Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon. Publicity photo.

Kevin Cronin is one of his generation’s most successful songwriters and frontmen. He has penned two No. 1 hits in “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” and continues to rock REO Speedwagon across the USA, blasting out the hits “Time For Me To Fly,” “Roll With The Changes,” “Take It On The Run,” “Ridin’ The Storm Out” and many more.

Kevin took time to give Goldmine his list of 10 Albums That Changed His Life.
Madman Across The Water

Elton John:
 Madman Across The Water
Singing, songwriting, arrangements, this album has it all. “Holiday Inn,” which opens Side Two, is the song that got me the gig in REO.

Rubber Soul
The Beatles: Rubber Soul
This was the first album I ever owned. I am partial to the U.S. version, which opens with “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” a song I still love to play. The second cut, “Norwegian Wood” has perhaps the best opening line in rock history, “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.”

(Click here to revisit the legend of John Lennon)

Who's Next

The Who: Who’s Next
My favorite hard-rock album of all time, and the artwork broke every rule.

Crosby, Stills and Nash

Crosby, Stills and Nash: Crosby, Stills and Nash
I had been a fan of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies when an agent at Creative Artists told me about this upcoming collaboration. The first time I listened, I played the opening cut, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” 12 times in a row. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was the perfect record.

Stephen Stills

Stephen Stills: Stephen Stills
Two words: “Black Queen.” You must hear this incredible record.

JT

James Taylor: JT
I am a huge fan of all of James Taylor’s music. His version of “Handy Man” kills me every time I hear it, to this day.

Tambourine Man

The Byrds: Mr. Tambourine Man
This was the first album by The Byrds. When I heard it, I immediately sold my Gibson ES 335 guitar and bought a Rickenbacker 12-string like the one played by Jim McGuinn. I still use that guitar and love its jangly sound.

Mahavishnu Orchestra

Mahavishnu Orchestra and 
John McLaughlin: 
The Inner Mounting Flame
When I first listened to this album, I could not believe what I was hearing. The guitar had been reinvented, and jazz and rock had been fused.

Bookends

Simon and Garfunkel: Bookends
I loved all of S & G’s early songs, but this album was such a cohesive piece of work. I was playing coffee houses in Chicago in a folk duo called The Late Late Show. We thought it was our originals that kept people coming to see us, but in retrospect, it was probably our Simon and Garfunkel covers, including most of the songs on this album.

The Dream Of The Blue Turtles

Sting: Dream Of The Blue Turtles
I had been a fan of all four Police albums, so I was skeptical about a Sting solo project. When I heard this record, I ditched my solo career.

20 thoughts on “10 Albums that changed Kevin Cronin’s life

  1. I have been a fan since you were playing Merlins in Carbondale and the Chances Are in Champaign. My favorite is Time For Me To Fly. It reminds me of a relationship I had and finally got out of. I even sent a copy to her.

  2. Hello from the Hazleton area of pa, you golfed at Edgwood in The Pines, Saw you at American Music Theater…Lancaster you can still bring it Kevin!

  3. Hello Kevin, you’re pne of my favorite frontmans in one of my favorite bands of all time! I’ve been a fan since Hi Infidelity, but love ALL REO! That’s just when I first heard you. Heard your whole list except Mahavishnu Orchestra and 
John McLaughlin: 
The Inner Mounting Flame & I plan to look that up ASAP because the other 9 affected me too! Glad to see someone pick James Taylor JT as that has special memories but I also love Sweet Baby James & Mud Slide Slim! Please don’t ever stop bringing it…

  4. “Time For Me to Fly” will always remain a timeless classic to me. It also brings to mind a past relationship. “Roll With The Changes” really defines me. It’s one song I can really relate to. “Here With Me” is probably my favorite song. I wish they’d play it while they’re doing their concerts. I’ve seen tham 6 times and never heard it once. Anyway, Kevin, You’ve made it to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. “Keep On Pushin”. I always follow you in Minnesota. Your Buddy. Bob

  5. Hi Kevin, First, thanks for sharing. I have been a fan of yours since the beginning back in Southern IL. Actually saw you back then playing in the fields out there!! Some of the best times I ever had, and still have the best feeling everytime I play or hear your songs!! You are my all time favorite band ever & always will be!! Keep on rolling!! & don’t ever stop!! Love you all!!

  6. Hello Kevin, Like your picks..I’m a fan of 6 of them…Love REO, You were my first concert back in 1978 in Kalamazoo Michigan with Thin Lizzy..Great introduction to live music even thou the guy next to me was sick all evening and got puke on my pants!!You’re one hell of a frontman!!

  7. Great choices of influence, Kevin. Been a REO fan since I heard “Like you do” in ’73. REO II is my all time favorite REO. You guys ROCKED back then and I never get tired of listening to you and Gary doin’ “157 Riverside Ave.” live. JMHO, you guys were better before you went “radio friendly”, but business is money. “Ladies and Gentleman, welcome back R E O Speedwagonnnnnn!

  8. hey, how bout comin back to play the mall in Terre Haute, or maybe fairbanks park? lol. a live video from stephens inn would be cool too. remember some of the band jammin at melindys house–early 70s.good weather to be ridin the storm out. rock on. PS might want to check out Dan Tedesco as a possible opening act

  9. GREAT CHOICES MR. CRONIN!!! CAN’T ARGUE ANY OF YOUR CHOICES. RUBBER SOUL IS MY FAV. BEATLES ALBUM. AND I’LL TELL YOU ONE THING REO SPEEDWAGON LIVE WOULD BE IN MY TOP 10 NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, I THANK YOU FOR THAT!!!!!

  10. KEVIN,HOW ARE YOU BUDDY?YOUR RUNWAY TO SUCCESS IS VERY INTERESTING.SOOOO HAPPY AND THANKFUL THAT IT HELPED YOU TAKE FLIGHT.KEVIN,IN A MILLION YEARS,I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO FULLY THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSPIRATIONAL AND POSITIVE MUSIC.YOU HAVE INFLUENCED ME IN WAYS I NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.I HAVE SEEN YOU AND YOUR AMAZIN BAND SOOOO MANY TIMES.AT THE VERY LEAST 70 TIMES.IN MY HOME TOWN OF HOWELL NEW JERSEY REO SPEEDWAGON WAS AND STILL IS A RELIGION.LOL.YES BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN WAS BORN ONE TOWN NORTH IN FREEHOLD.BUT YOUR MUSIC CONTINUES TO LIVE IN HOWELL.

  11. Hi Kevin, you are the reason I emigrated to Australia from Czechoslovakia, when I first listened your voice and your music, I started to believe that everybody in West is just great, I honestly love you guys! I wish yo will play in Sydney one day ( I would be the one rolling tears! ), Love your choice of 10 albums, I would add some Pink Floyd as well.

  12. Kevin, I am a die hard REO fan, just can’t get enough. I first saw you guys in concert in Little Rock, AR. at the old Barton Colliseum in the late ’70’s. I have traveled around the country just to see your concerts, because I truly love your music, because I can relate to the lyrics. You guys are awesome, and I hope ya keep on keepin’ on, because I’m gonna “keep on lovin’ ya”! Please come back to Little Rock, it’s long over due.

  13. Kevin, great to read about your favorites. I will pull them from my vinyl collection and give them a spin again. Actually have 8 of 10.We last saw you in Milwaukee at the Riverside this year, and purchased the live recording. It sounds great,and we have played it through to relive the experience. Thank you and REO for all of the years of positive energy and great music.

  14. Saw y’all in Milwaukee in Dec. GREAT as always. KC, loving the choices – Rubber Soul, JT, CSN(+Y) are favorites. I still have “Birds of Fire” by Mahavishnu. I hear you did some writing in Nashville. Will be listening for that influence along with ’10 albums’ in future works. ;-)

  15. REO, I have absolutely fallen in love with your band. GO Kevin and team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Kevin, thanks for hanging in there with your throat being so bad tonight at Seaworld in Orlando. The concert was great! We drove from St. Petersburg and had been looking forward to REO for weeks.
    Thank you for not disappointing us.

  17. I’ll always remember 1981…we were living just below my my ex-college roommate and his wife. We were all partying one weekend back then and she said to me: “You’re always on top of all the great NEW bands out there. Tell me more about those guys called REO Sppedwagon! I LOVE that song Keep On Loving You…” I said “C’mere, let me show you all TEN of their albums!” I’d been a fan since the band was on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert back in the summer of ’74 and there were just THREE albums out, and I knew I had to hear more when I heard
    “157 Riverside Avenue”…Mike Murphy I think was the singer then, and this was in between the “Ridin’ the Storm Out” and “Lost in a Dream” albums. About four years later, the rest of the world started to catch up…

  18. well Kev you were doing good until the Sting album.Never was there a more overated artist.The police were good but Sting just does a bunch of unmelodic crap.I cant listen to one song all the way through. BLLLECH !!!!

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