REO Speedwagon – Band Name Origins
I'll fully admit I wasn't one of those kids who researched everything I listened to back in the day. I just enjoyed the music, many times not even really paying attention to the lyrics and as a result, never fully participate on karaoke nights. So, when I learn something about a band I've listened to for years, I love sharing the information just in case someone was even less attentive than I.
Upon watching the television show Extreme RVs, I was taught the history of REO Speedwagon. From 'Roll With The Changes' to the literal-interpretive video of 'Can't Fight This Feeling' (running 'round in circles in my mind), I never really gave much thought to where the band got their name. Well, for those who aren't aware of the origin of the name, it all goes back to Oldsmobile. More specifically, the founder of Olds Motor Vehicle Company and Oldsmobile, Ransom E. Olds. After starting his car company and eventually leaving due to conflicts within the company, he branched out to create a new company but couldn't use Olds due to potential litigation from Olds Motor Vehicle Company. He opted for his initials to create Reo Motor Company (In his use of Reo it was pronounced Rio). One of the vehicles he developed was named the Speedwagon which was a precursor to the modern-day pick-up trucks (and which one current owner modified into an RV.
One day Neil Doughty, one of the founding members of the band, saw the name Reo Speedwagon on a chalkboard in his History Of Transportation class and the rest is history. Here's a quick video featuring one of those nostalgic vehicles.