How REO Speedwagon Found ‘Sunken Treasure’ with ‘Take It on the Run’
REO Speedwagon's “Take It on the Run” proved to be a hit single in 1980 – but singer Kevin Cronin says it wasn't originally set to appear on their ninth album, Hi Infidelity.
The song was only discovered when he went through a band tradition with guitarist Gary Richrath, as he told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“We pretty much thought that the songwriting process was done,” Cronin said, “but what I used to do, right before we went in, was go out to Richrath’s ranch and take just one last carousal through his notebooks and through his demo tapes. I said, ‘Do you have anything else left, Gary?’ He goes, ‘Well, I got this one thing. It’s kind of a slow song; I dunno, it’s probably not anything.’
“He played it for me, and at the time it was called ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’ But the opening line was, ‘Heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend ...’ I was like, ‘I like that. That’s cool!’ So, we kinda pursued it a little bit, changed a couple words here, a couple chords there, and it became ‘Take It On the Run.’ It was kinda like finding sunken treasure somewhere.”
The success of the song helped make Hi Infidelity the biggest-selling rock album of 1981, and it’s sold over 10 million copies in the United States alone.
Listen to REO Speedwagon Perform ‘Take It on the Run’
Be sure to listen to Ultimate Classic Rock Nights on more than 50 stations across the U.S. from 7PM until midnight, Monday through Friday. You can see the list of radio stations where it airs here.