Don't Let Him Go

"Don't Let Him Go" is a song written by Kevin Cronin. It was originally released as the opening song for REO Speedwagon's #1 album Hi Infidelity. It was also released as a single, reaching #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] "Don't Let Him Go" has appeared on several REO Speedwagon greatest hits albums.[2]

"Don't Let Him Go"
Don't Let Him Go cover.jpg
Single by REO Speedwagon
from the album Hi Infidelity
B-side"I Wish You Were There"
ReleasedJune 1981
RecordedAugust 19, 1980
GenreHard Rock
Songwriter(s)Kevin Cronin
Producer(s)Kevin Beamish
Kevin Cronin
Alan Gratzer
Gary Richrath
REO Speedwagon singles chronology
"Take It on the Run"
"Don't Let Him Go"
"In Your Letter"

Cronin recalls "Don't Let Him Go" being the first song he wrote for Hi Infidelity.[3] Like the #1 single from the album, "Keep on Loving You," the lyrics of "Don't Let Him Go" are about breaking up with a longtime girlfriend.[4] According to Joseph Timmons of Seattle Post Intelligencer, the song is a "warning to not take the man you love for granted."[5] Casandra Armour of described the lyrics as having the singer pleading on behalf of a friend who has "a lot of swag but not much substance" but "just needs a chance to grow."[6] Cronin has said that the song is based on the experiences of all the band members and is basically a plea to all their girlfriends to have patience with them.[3]

Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine remarked on the song's "insistent beat."[7] He and other critics have also pointed out that the song was influenced by Bo Diddley.[7][8][9] Cronin himself has stated that it is based on a slightly modified Bo Diddley beat.[3] Author Chuck Eddy described it as a "Bo Diddleyed do-si-do."[8] Armour describes the music as "a jaunty kind of hand-jive peppered with power chords."[6] Pete Bishop of The Pittsburgh Press described "Don't Let Him Go" as a "straight-ahead melodic rocker."[10] Allmusic critic Barry Weber described the song as an "underrated rocker."[11]

"Don't Let Him Go" was also included on the compilation albums The Hits and The Essential REO Speedwagon. A live version was included on The Second Decade of Rock and Roll, 1981-1991, Arch Allies: Live at Riverport, and Setlist: The Very Best of REO Speedwagon Live. In 1981, the band performed the song on the television show America's Top 10.[12]


REO Speedwagon



  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Top Pop Singles 1955-2012. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc. p. 703. ISBN 0-89820-205-1.
  2. ^ "REO Speedwagon, Don't Let Him Go (Appears On)". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
  3. ^ a b c Wardlaw, Matt (November 21, 2017). "The History of REO Speedwagon's 'Hi Infidelity': Interview". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  4. ^ Takiff, J. (November 14, 1982). "REO Speedwagon: Barometer for Performers". Boca Raton News. p. 26.
  5. ^ Timmons, J. (July 7, 2011). "Music Review: REO Speedwagon - Hi Infidelity [30th Anniversary Edition]". Hearst Communications. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  6. ^ a b Armour, Casandra. "Hi Infidelity (30th Anniversary Edition)". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  7. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Hi Infidelity". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  8. ^ a b Eddy, C. (1997). The Accidental Evolution of Rock'N'Roll: A Misguided Tour Through Popular Music. Da Capo Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780306807411.
  9. ^ Swenson, J. (1981). The Year in rock, 1981-82. Delilah Books. p. 254.
  10. ^ "Speedwagon Back on Fast Track". The Pittsburgh Press. February 12, 1985. p. B8. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  11. ^ Weber, Barry. "The Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  12. ^ TV Guide. Triangle Publications. 1981. p. 222.
  13. ^ "CHART NUMBER 1283 – Saturday, August 15, 1981". Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 2015-02-18.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). CHUM. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 35, No. 6, September 5, 1981". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. September 5, 1981. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  15. ^ " – REO Speedwagon – Don't Let Him Go" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  16. ^ "REO Speedwagon – Don't Let Him Go" (in Dutch). Top 30. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015. Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 22
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – REO Speedwagon - Don t Let Him Go" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  18. ^ " – REO Speedwagon – Don't Let Him Go" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Artist Chart History – REO Speedwagon". Billboard charts. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  20. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending AUGUST 1, 1981". Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 2015-02-18.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  21. ^ "Song artist 607 - REO Speedwagon". TsorT. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  22. ^ REO Speedwagon
  23. ^ Charts!
  24. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 35, No. 22, December 26, 1981". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  25. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.

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