State of Sound

Rock n’ Roll is a cacophony of emotion. Guitars, drums, keyboards, horns, tambourines, and voices come together from Galena to Metropolis. Rock n’ Roll is bigger than the 1968 Illinois earthquake.  

Shake, rattle, and roll on prairie state. Rock n’ Roll is liberation. It can be about love and loneliness and cars and bars. You dance to it and you drink to it. Rock is at its best when there are no rules and no definitions.

Rock should be listened to by its consequences and not the intention of the artist. When we listen to Rock n’ Roll, the instinct is to find what’s in it for us. That’s why Rock n’ Roll is so personal. The music exists and lives on in the world--not in the mind of the artist. Rock n’ Roll is democracy.

Illinois is the mainline of Rock n’ Roll.  Look no further than Chuck Berry’s road trips up Route 66 from St. Louis to record at Chess Records in Chicago. Rock n’ Roll was birthed by Berry hot-wiring 12-bar Chicago Blues into 32-bar Pop and Rock. He played guitar just like ringin’-a’ bell, and who heard the call?  The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, that’s who. The promise of rock n’ roll is equal to its past.

Featured Artist:
REO Speedwagon

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Biography Transcript

Reo Speedwagon

Reo Speedwagon first came to be when two University of Illinois students decided to form a band. Keyboardist Neil Doughty and Drummer Alan Gratzer built a solid Midwest following by touring constantly in the late sixties and early seventies.

Soon joined by influential guitarist and Peoria born Gary Richrath they initially struggled with finding the right front man for the band, but, after a second go with vocalist Kevin Cronin in the mid-seventies, Reo Speedwagon found their sound and the direction they wanted to take the band.

By the early eighties the band had one of the biggest selling albums of the year with Hi Infidelity. Best known for their power ballads “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight this Feeling”, they joined Styx and Journey as the undisputed arena rock kings of the early 80s.

Still touring today, the band has shared the stage with many Illinois based bands including the 2013 Bloomington benefit concert Rock the Rescue with Styx which raised money for families affected by a tornado in central Illinois. 

Artists of the Sound

Dan Fogelberg
The Ides of March
Richard Marx


1969 Gibson Les Paul Guitar from Tommy Shaw of Styx

Tommy Shaw joined Styx for the making of the 1976 Crystal Ball album. This guitar was his primary instrument from his previous band, MSFunk, and he recorded and toured with it for Crystal Ball. The neck had to be replaced after he accidentally ran over it with his car. 

Courtesy of Tommy Shaw of Styx

1989 Kramer Sustainer Guitar From James “JY” Young of Styx

Founding Styx member James “JY” Young now stands as the only original band member from its inception in 1972. Young used this 1989 Kramer guitar when the band reformed in 1990. It had previously split in 1984 after the Kilroy was Here album. 

Courtesy of James “JY” Young of Styx

Lee Loughnane’s Trumpet from Chicago

This Bach Stradivarius Bb trumpet with a Claude Gordon mouthpiece is owned by Lee Loughnane of the band Chicago. He used it extensively during the band’s rise to rock stardom in the 1970s. The band’s signature horn sound was key to its success.

Courtesy of Lee Loughnane

Quadruple Platinum Sales Award for Chicago 17

Released in May of 1984, Chicago 17 received three Grammy Awards and was a top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 200 Album chart. It also featured the #3 single, “You’re the Inspiration.”  Chicago trumpet player Lee Loughnane received this award when the album sold 4 million copies. The number has since climbed to 6 million.

Courtesy of Lee Loughnane

Conducting Baton and Letter from Dan Fogelberg’s Father

Dan Fogelberg’s father, Lawrence, was key to his musical development. Lawrence used this baton in his roles as a music teacher/band leader in Pekin High School, in Pekin, Illinois. In this letter, Lawrence expresses his pride and admiration for Dan’s accomplishments.

Courtesy of Jean Fogelberg

Martin Guitar Owned by Dan Fogelberg

Peoria native Dan Fogelberg was the ultimate singer/songwriter, with a career spanning nearly forty years. This Martin Dreadnought D-41 acoustic guitar was Fogelberg’s favorite in the last part of his career. He nicknamed the instrument “Buck” and its strings have not been changed since before his passing of cancer in 2007.

Courtesy of Jean Fogelberg

The Buckinghams 1960s Stage Coat

The Buckinghams produced huge hits in the 1960s, toured extensively, and appeared on many television shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show. This stage coat, worn by guitarist/vocalist Carl Giammarese, was one in a series of matching suits designed by MGM Hollywood in 1967.

Courtesy of Carl

REO Speedwagon Diamond Sales Award

In August 2017, REO Speedwagon received this industry milestone achievement award for selling ten million copies of their landmark 1980 album Hi Infidelity. The album featured two top 5 hits: “Keep on Loving You” and “Take it on the Run.”

Courtesy of REO

Guitar Made for Frankie Sullivan of Survivor

This is made for founding Survivor member, Frankie Sullivan. It has served Sullivan as his primary guitar when touring all over the world. Survivor started in 1979 and burst on the international scene with their hit “Eye of the Tiger” from the movie Rocky III.

Courtesy of Frankie

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