An 80’s Power Ballad THREE-WAY: REO SPEEDWAGON – “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (Wheels Are Turnin’)
REO Süeedwagon – Wheels Are Turnin’ is available @ iTunes.
by Walter Price
Back in the fabled year of 1984, right before you wanted to be a modern rock ‘individual’, pop radio’s reemerging love of soft rock and power ballads had you hooked. Right before you became too cool for school, you were finding out what love is, soundtracked by tunes from Night Ranger, Quarterflash, Toto, and Foreigner. But, let’s be honest, one song hovered above the rest. A song that was lyrically simple, and beautifully on point. Nothing left to the imagination as it was seemingly written about the feelings you were feeling in one of your very first dating experiences. The band, REO Speedwagon, and their dynamic single “Can’t Fight This Feeling”, said everything.
For me, I was given this single (on vinyl), by a lovely young lady in my neighborhood, who, at one point, claimed to be my ‘girlfriend’. And before I could come to the realization she was telling many a young fella (and one lass) the same thing. heartbreak had to wait, I was in ‘love’ and had a track to prove it (allegedly).
Oh, I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow
What started out this friendship has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show
To Songfacts, vocalist Kevin Cronin explained his version of the song’s origins, “Really, what the song is about was about my inability to have the courage to express myself, I was brought up in an Irish-Catholic family, and you were taught to always keep a bright face, always act like everything was OK, even if maybe everything on the inside wasn’t so OK. So that’s something I’ve struggled with, and over the years have gotten better at.”
Okay, so my interpretation was a bit off at the time, but no matter, the song was important to me for that seven-month long love affair and it has stuck with me…forever. But I wasn’t the only one who was stricken by the powers of this powerful 80s classic. No, this wedding and soundtrack staple has inspired many an artist to put their spin on it. Sadly, not many have been able to capture the emotional strength of the original. But, wander no more…there are a handful of dynamite and sweet homages…and I have found my three favorites.
“Can’t Fight This Feeling” comes from the Wheels Are Turnin’ LP (Epic Records 1984).