Sunday, American guitarist of REO Speedwagon Gary Richrath, the lead guitarist for the band, known for ’80s ballad “Can’t Fight this Feeling” died at the age of 65.
- Erik Stein confirmed on Monday that Richrath passed away.
- No details about the cause of death.
- Richrath last played with REO Speedwagon in 2013, when the band performed a benefit concert in Bloomington, Illinois, to raise money for tornado victims.
“Hi friends, kc here,”Guitarist Kevin Cronin wrote. “My longtime friend and collaborator Gary Richrath passed away earlier today. I feel so sad. Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter, and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold. I learned most of what I know about being in a rock band from Gary Richrath. The entire REO Family mourns his death and shares in the grief of his family, friends, and fans. These words do not come close to expressing the depth of emotions I am feeling at this time.”
American guitarist of REO Speedwagon Gary Richrath wrote many of the band’s songs including “Golden Country” from 1972, “Ridin’ the Storm Out” (1973), “Son of a Poor Man” (1973), “Flying Turkey Trot” (1976), “Only the Strong Survive” (1979) and “Take It On the Run” from 1981. In 1977, he and other members of the band took over production, which resulted in the band’s first platinum album.
American guitarist of REO Speedwagon Gary Richrath sang several REO Speedwagon songs including “Find My Fortune” (1973), “Wild as the Western Wind” (1974), and “(Only A) Summer Love” (1976). He left REO Speedwagon in 1989, and released a solo album titled “Only the Strong Survive” in 1992 under the name “Richrath.”
On November 22, 2013, REO and Styx announced a benefit concert titled “Rock to the Rescue” to raise money for the affected families of the tornado in central Illinois. The concert was held on December 4, 2013 in Bloomington, Illinois. Richrath reunited with REO for a performance of “Ridin’ the Storm Out” to end REO’s set at the sold-out concert. Richrath stayed on stage to help with the encore of “With a Little Help From My Friends” along with REO, Styx, Richard Marx, and others. Richrath is originally from the town of East Peoria which was damaged during the storm. Families affected by the storm and first-responders sat near the stage for this special concert and REO reunion.IMAGES/Larry Hulst / Getty Images