13 Incredible Bands Similar To REO Speedwagon

Written by Dan Farrant

REO Speedwagon, the band that masterfully intertwined hard rock with emotive ballads, has created a distinctive sound that continues to touch hearts worldwide since its formation in 1967. Their anthems, such as “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore,” have become timeless classics.

Interestingly, their unique style has sparked a wave of musical kinship among other bands. Are you interested in exploring this interconnected sonic landscape?

If we’ve sparked your attention, then look no further than this post. We’ve lined up 13 incredible bands similar to REO Speedwagon. Dive in and continue reading to learn more!

REO Speedwagon by Sjgkfe (CC BY 3.0)

1. Toto

We begin with Toto, a well-known rock band that rose to fame in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Like REO Speedwagon, they are part of the corporate rock genre, which characterized mainstream rock music then.

However, unlike most bands in this category who grew up together, Toto was formed by studio musicians steeped in jazz and R&B influences.

Toto’s discography includes several hit songs such as “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna,” and “Africa.” Their distinct blend of pop rock with a touch of funk has made them one of the best-selling bands worldwide, with over 40 million records sold.

If you’re a fan of REO Speedwagon or other corporate rock groups from this era looking for similar bands like it, Toto should be your go-to recommendation!

2. Journey

Next up is Journey, a rock band that hails from San Francisco. Formed in 1973, their style shares a striking similarity with REO Speedwagon. Both bands have shaped the music industry significantly, mesmerizing global audiences with their heartfelt performances and evergreen hits.

Journey’s biggest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987, during the era of lead vocalist Steve Perry. The band released a series of hit songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which, in 2009, achieved the distinction of being the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.

Their significant contributions to rock gained them an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, and despite changes in their lineup over the years, the band continues to perform, even releasing an album as recently as 2022.

3. Foreigner

Foreigner, a powerhouse in the realm of rock music, sprang into existence in 1976, straddling the vibrant music scenes of New York City and London. The band was a creative melting pot of talent, with members like Lou Gramm, Mick Jones, and Ian McDonald, among others.

Their music, a compelling fusion of hard rock and emotive ballads akin to REO Bandwagon, catapulted them to stardom, making them one of the top-selling bands globally. Their melodies have stood the test of time, echoing across radio waves and winning hearts even today.

As Foreigner announced their Farewell Tour in 2023, it marked not an end but a celebration of their enduring legacy that continues to reverberate across the global music landscape, inspiring artists and delighting fans alike.

4. Styx

Formed in 1972, Styx is a Chicago-based rock band renowned for their unique blend of hard rock guitar and acoustic guitar. This mix produced a powerful sound that helped define the classic rock genre throughout the 1970s and ’80s.

Often compared to REO Speedwagon, both bands have successfully created melodic compositions that strike a balance between catchy pop hooks and impressive instrumentals.

Styx is known for hit songs like “Come Sail Away,” “Mr. Roboto,” and “Renegade,” which continue to receive airplay on radio stations across the country even today.

Tommy Shaw, one of the prominent members of Styx, proudly shared that they’ve been together as a group for half a century—an incredible feat in an ever-changing music industry landscape dominated by fleeting trends.

5. Boston

Formed in 1975 by the multi-talented Tom Scholz, Boston is a testament to the enduring appeal of rock music. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts, and quickly rose to fame in the 1970s and ’80s. They share many similarities with REO Speedwagon regarding music style and overall popularity.

From their debut in 1976, Boston was a massive success. Their first album, a self-titled release, was certified Diamond by the RIAA. The two albums that followed Don’t Look Back and Third Stage, topped Billboard 200.

However, the journey hasn’t always been smooth. The band faced a significant setback with the tragic loss of lead singer Brad Delp in 2007. Despite this, they endured, and to this day, they continue to rock the stage.

6. Kansas

Another band named after a place shares similarities with REO Speedwagon: Kansas. This rock group has been around for over four decades, creating classic hits that have stood the test of time.

Formed in Topeka, Kansas, in 1973, Kansas has released many albums that showcased their exceptional musicianship and songwriting skills. Worth exploring are their multi-Platinum albums Leftoverture, Point of Know Return, and The Best of Kansas.

The hit singles Kansas is known for are “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” These songs have since become staples of classic rock radio.

Today, Kansas continues to tour and record new music. Despite their long career, they show no signs of slowing down.

7. Loverboy

Next is Loverboy, a Canadian rock band that has been rocking stages since 1979. The band was born from the collaboration of vocalist Mike Reno and guitarist Paul Dean, both of whom had already made their mark on Western Canada’s rock scene.

Known for their energetic performances and catchy tunes, Fans of REO Speedwagon will find Loverboy to be a great band to listen to. Loverboy quickly gained fame with hit singles like “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend.” Their music became synonymous with the rock-and-roll spirit of the 1980s.

Now with over 40 years under their belt, Loverboy is still going strong in the industry. They maintain an active touring schedule and have recently toured with Styx and REO Speedwagon.

8. Bad Company

A British hard rock supergroup, Bad Company, was formed in 1973 by singer Paul Rodgers and guitarist Mick Ralphs. Their sound is powered by the muscular vocals of Rodgers and Ralphs’s blues-based guitar work, which makes them similar to other artists like Styx, Loverboy, and REO Speedwagon.

Their breakthrough came with their self-titled debut album in 1974, featuring the hit single “Can’t Get Enough,” which quickly scaled the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The success of this album set the tone for their illustrious career, making them one of the most recognized names in rock music.

Over the years, Bad Company has had some changes in the lineup. However, their legacy continues to influence rock music, and their songs continue to be enjoyed by fans, old and new.

9. The Doobie Brothers

Riding the wave of rock music in the 1970s, The Doobie Brothers emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Formed in California in 1970, the band’s fusion of rock, soul, and folk music, like REO Speedwagon’s style, quickly caught the public’s attention.

After debuting in 1971, the band’s breakthrough came with their second album, Toulouse Street, in 1972. It included the mega-hit “Listen to the Music.” This song, with its catchy tune and uplifting lyrics, became a radio staple and launched the band into stardom.

Over the years, The Doobie Brothers underwent multiple line-up changes, the most notable being the addition of Michael McDonald in the mid-70s. McDonald’s soulful voice added a new dimension to the band’s sound, leading to hits like “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.”

10. Blue Öyster Cult

Emerging from the colorful tapestry of the late 1960s music scene, a group of musicians from Stony Brook, New York, dared to fuse rock with elements of psychedelia, heavy metal, and progressive rock. This group would come to be known as Blue Öyster Cult.

Their innovative sound first reached listeners with their eponymous debut studio album in 1972. Throughout their career, they have produced numerous albums that have showcased their unique style. Their song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is perhaps their most well-known hit, reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard chart.

Despite half a century passing since their formation, Blue Öyster Cult’s influence on rock and heavy metal music remains potent. In October 2020, they released The Symbol Remains, their first new album in nearly two decades, proving their enduring relevance in the music scene.

11. Cheap Trick

From the heartland of America, in Rockford, Illinois, Cheap Trick came to be in 1973. The band initially consisted of guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson, and lead vocalist Robin Zander.

With their sound—a blend of power pop and hard rock, a delicate balance that has influenced metal and alternative bands alike—they produced numerous hits. Their most recognized song is “The Flame.” This power ballad, released in 1988, reached #1 in America.

To this day, Cheap Trick still makes waves in music. They released their 20th studio album, In Another World, in 2021 and continue to tour, sharing stages with music legends like Rod Stewart.

12. Chicago

Penultimate on this list is the American rock band Chicago. The group was initially called the Chicago Transit Authority before their name was shortened to just Chicago. Formed in 1967, they became known for their distinct horn section in their music.

The band has had a prolific career, recording 38 albums with chart-topping hit singles like “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” and “Look Away.”

Chicago’s journey hasn’t been without tragedy. Terry Kath, the lead singer for the group, accidentally shot himself to death in 1978. Despite this loss, the band continued to make music and tour.

In their career, which has lasted over 50 years, they have sold more than 100 million records, making them one of the best-selling groups in rock history.

13. Heart

Formed in the heart of Seattle, Washington, in 1973, the groundbreaking ensemble called Heart tore down gender barriers in the rock music scene. At its core were two talented sisters whose powerful voices and compelling songwriting captivated audiences worldwide.

Fusing progressive rock, hard rock, and folk elements, they captivated listeners, earning them a huge following. Tracks like “Barracuda,” “These Dreams,” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” became fan favorites.

Their undeniable influence on the world of rock music has been recognized with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through all the shifts and changes in the music industry, Heart remains a timeless icon, just like REO Bandwagon.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like REO Bandwagon

We’ve just wrapped up our musical adventure exploring rock bands like REO Bandwagon. Though similar in a way, each band offers their own unique spin to rock.

We hope this exploration has helped you find new bands to love. There’s a special joy in discovering a new group that resonates with you.

There might be other bands out there that we may have missed. If you know of any, please let us know so we can add them here!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.