REO Speedwagon’s Remarkably Easy Ride to Name ‘Tuna Fish’ Album
REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin recalled how the band decided to name their breakthrough album You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish, and said their record label had no problem with letting it happen.
Speaking in a fan Q&A session marking their seventh LP's 45th anniversary, Cronin said the joke about the difference between a piano and a fish had been told by a friend at an after-show party. "When I heard that punchline I thought, 'That sounds like a good album title,'" he explained. "It's outside the box, it's wacky. And the music we'd written for that album was diverse stylistically – we were definitely thinking outside the box." He added: "To me, the album title should say something about the music on the album. I felt it was a good match and everyone agreed. It's a Groucho Marx joke – fun fact!"
Asked if it had been a struggle to get the company's approval, he said: "Epic Records, back at that time...was perhaps the most creative, the most artist-friendly label there was. ... When we sent the songs in, they heard the music and they dug it; and so when they got the album title that we were proposing, they were all in from the very beginning."
Cronin reported that the band members had all been convinced that "Time for Me to Fly" would be a hit single. "Unfortunately the entire promotion staff at Epic Records went AWOL at the same time as that record was released," he said. "So it didn't become a big radio hit, but it became a big turntable hit."
He described "Roll With the Changes" as "my kinda theme song," adding: "All kinds of things are going to happen to you in life. You can let them knock you out or you can change in ways that make your life better." He also said it was the first track from Tuna Fish that he heard on the radio. "I was driving down Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, California, listening to KLOS...and when I heard the piano intro...I pulled off to the side of the road, a chill went through my body, and I began to cry. And they were tears of joy, tears of relief, tears of vindication to some degree – but mostly tears of joy."
Cronin added that it remained a "thrill" to hear his music on air. "At one point we were all 12-year-old kids, playing in our junior high school bands," he said, "dreaming of the day that we would have our music on the radio."
Listen to REO Speedwagon's 'Roll With the Changes'