REO Speedwagon – “Take It on the Run” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

REO Speedwagon’s hit “Take It on the Run” is a tale of heartache and suspicion wrapped in a catchy tune. It’s about confronting rumors of infidelity and the decision to end a relationship if those rumors turn out to be true. The songwriter is talking to a partner who is allegedly unfaithful, but there’s a sense of doubt—will the singer choose trust or give in to the gossip? The song strikes a chord with anyone who’s ever been caught in the whispers of a small town or a tight-knit group, and it’s a testament to the idea that sometimes love isn’t enough to overpower doubt. It’s unclear who exactly inspired the song, but it seems to be a collective muse of personal experiences and the human condition.

Ready to jump into the story behind the notes and words? Keep reading to find out what makes “Take It on the Run” a song that’s stood the test of time, and why it might just be the tune you need to hear right now.


“Take It on the Run” Lyrics Meaning

From the first line, “Heard it from a friend who…,” REO Speedwagon sets the stage for a story of rumors and the pain they cause. The repetition emphasizes the tangled web of hearsay—a friend of a friend of another, creating a chain of uncertainty. It’s not just about cheating; it’s about the impact of rumors and the doubt they instill.

The lyrics, “They say you got a boyfriend, You’re out late every weekend,” show the singer grappling with public perception versus personal knowledge. The neighborhood talks, and stories get more elaborate as they pass from person to person, like a game of telephone gone awry. But there’s a twist—despite the rumors, the singer expresses disbelief, showing a glimmer of trust and hope amidst the suspicion.

However, the chorus, “You take it on the run, baby, If that’s the way you want it, baby,” reveals a line drawn in the sand. It’s a mix of defiance and resignation—the singer won’t play the fool. If the rumors are true, then the partner is free to go; the singer won’t endure the charade of deceit.

The song isn’t just about the potential betrayal; it’s also about self-respect and boundaries. “I don’t believe it, Not for a minute,” reflects the inner turmoil—choosing between trust in a loved one and the instinct to protect oneself from potential hurt.

As the song progresses, “You’re thinking up your white lies, You’re putting on your bedroom eyes,” we see a vivid picture of deceit. The imagery of “bedroom eyes” and “white lies” speaks to the intimate betrayal that infidelity represents.

In conclusion, “Take It on the Run” is more than a story of cheating; it’s a reflection on the fragility of trust, the weight of rumors, and the pain of a love that’s under the microscope of a gossip-hungry crowd.

The Story Behind “Take It on the Run”

Picture the early ’80s, REO Speedwagon reaching the peak of their musical journey, and the pressure to follow up on a chart-topping album. The band was no stranger to songs about love and heartbreak, but with this track, they struck a nerve that resonated with a wide audience.

The emotional state of the band was reflective of the times—a mixture of road-weary nostalgia and the search for genuine connection in the midst of rock and roll chaos. They were in a state of transition, where the lines between public persona and private life were constantly blurred.

“Take It on the Run” captures the essence of that time—a song that speaks to the universal experience of grappling with trust, navigating the rumors that threaten to tear us apart, and ultimately, making the tough decisions that define who we are and what we stand for. It’s a snapshot of a moment, a feeling, and a decision that’s as relevant now as it was then.