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Featured Memorial | Gary Richrath

Gary Richrath Obituary

10/18/1949 - 9/13/2015| Visit Guest Book
Gary Richrath (Beth Gwinn / Redferns)
Gary Richrath (Beth Gwinn / Redferns)
Gary Richrath, the longtime guitarist for REO Speedwagon, died Sunday, Sept. 13, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was 65.

Born Oct. 18, 1949, Richrath joined REO Speedwagon in 1970, when they had been playing live for several years but had not yet recorded their debut album, "R.E.O. Speedwagon." The Illinois-based band received minor chart success with the single "Sophisticated Lady" from that album, co-written by Richrath.

Richrath continued to write and co-write popular songs for the band, including 1973's "Ridin' the Storm Out" and 1981's "Take It on the Run," a No. 5 Billboard single that was one of the first videos played on MTV. Richrath remained one of the band's principal songwriters, penning multiple tracks on each of their albums for the nearly 20 years he was a member. He left the band in 1989 after a dispute over the band's direction.

After leaving REO Speedwagon, he released one solo album under the name Richrath, titled "Only the Strong Survive." He reunited with REO Speedwagon briefly in 2013 to play at a benefit concert, "Rock to the Rescue," raising money for victims of tornados that affected central Illinois towns including Richrath's hometown of East Peoria.

Richrath's death was confirmed by his former bandmate, Kevin Cronin, who wrote on the band's Facebook page: "Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter, and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold. I learned most of what I know about being in a rock band from Gary Richrath."
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Published in Peoria Journal Star from September 20 to September 21, 2015
EAST PEORIA - Gary Dean Richrath, 65, of California, formerly of East Peoria, passed away Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. He was born Oct. 18, 1949, in Peoria, Ill., to Curtis and Eunice Richrath. His... Read Obituary
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