Illinois Rock n’ Roll is a cacophony of true emotion. Guitars, drums, keyboards, horns, tambourines and voices come together from Zion to Metropolis. Bend me, shape me. Rock n’ Roll is liberation. It can be about love and loneliness and cars and bars.

There’s a straight-to-the-heart fabric in Illinois rock n’ roll. The sound of REO Speedwagon is direct, while there’s vehicular Berwyn muscle in the Ides of March. Sonically ambitious dreams define many of the ballads of Styx and Richard Marx, and on the flip side there’s no escaping the working class endurance of Head East (formed in 1969 in Carbondale).

Illinois is the mainline of American rock n’ roll. Look no further than Chuck Berry’s road trips from St. Louis to record at Chess Records in Chicago or Dan Fogelberg meshing Southern California rock with his Peoria roots. Possibility has always lived across our prairie horizon. The promise of rock n’ roll is equal to its past.

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