March 21, 1981 - REO Speedwagon went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Keep On Loving You', the group's first top 40 hit and first No.1, a No.7 hit in the UK. It was the 500th No.1 song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100.
Before REO Speedwagon recorded this, they were known as a hard rock band. Keyboardist Neal Doughty initially had concerns about recording this love ballad, but his fears were allayed when this proved to be a breakthrough hit for the band. He recalled to Noisecreep in a 2011 interview: "During the making of the Hi Infidelity album, most of REO Speedwagon was going through some kind of personal turmoil. I'm talking about divorces and all sorts of crazy stuff. I remember when Kevin played me 'Keep on Loving You' for the first time I was a bit apprehensive about recording it. You have to remember, up to that point we were known as a rock band and here was this soft song. I wasn't sure how our hardcore fans would react to a ballad. But then Gary Richrath pulled out his guitar, cranked his amplifier to 11 and started playing along with Kevin. From that point, it felt right. Gary and Kevin had such different writing and playing styles and it worked so great on 'Keep on Loving You.' Once that song hit radio, it exploded. We finally had the hit that our label and we had wanted for years. It changed our lives forever.
REO Speedwagon was one of the first Rock bands to score big with power ballads in the '80s. They had the good fortune of being one of the hottest bands in America when MTV launched on August 1, 1981, so the network played their videos, even though they were low-budget affairs. "Keep On Loving You" was the 17th played on the first day of broadcast of MTV. With director Bruce Gowers, they shot four videos in one day, including the clip for "Keep On Loving You," which lead singer Kevin Cronin said: made us look like even bigger dorks than we were.
Most of the band's videos were dominated by performance footage, and they weren't photogenic enough to compete on the network with the likes of Duran Duran, Van Halen and other acts who did a better job matching a picture to the sound. A few years into MTV's existence, REO was out.