Restless Heart performing at the Grand Ole Opry on August 9, 2014.
|Origin||Nashville, Tennessee, United States|
|Genres||Country, country pop|
|Years active||1984–94, 1998, 2002–present|
|Past members||Verlon Thompson|
Restless Heart is an American country music band established in 1984. The band's original members were Verlon Thompson (lead vocals), John Dittrich (drums, background vocals), Paul Gregg (bass guitar, background vocals), Dave Innis (piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, background vocals), and Greg Jennings (lead guitar, mandolin, background vocals), although Larry Stewart quickly replaced Thompson on lead vocals before the group signed with RCA Records Nashville.
Between 1985 and 1992, the band released four studio albums (Restless Heart, Wheels, Big Dreams in a Small Town, and Fast Movin' Train) and a greatest hits album, The Best of Restless Heart. Stewart departed in 1992 for a solo career, with Dittrich, Innis, and Gregg alternating as lead vocalists on the next album, Big Iron Horses, and Innis left a year before the band's last RCA album, Matters of the Heart. After the band broke up in 1994, Jennings joined Vince Gill's road band, and Dittrich briefly became a member of The Buffalo Club. All members except Innis reunited briefly in 1998 for three new tracks on a Greatest Hits package in 1998. The lineup of Dittrich, Gregg, Innis, Jennings, and Stewart officially reunited to record Still Restless, and this lineup has remained ever since.
Overall, Restless Heart has released seven studio albums, two greatest hits albums, and a live album which is only available on their website. Their second through fifth albums are all certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 26 of their singles have entered the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including six that reached No. 1. Four of their country releases also crossed over to the Adult Contemporary chart, with two of those ("I'll Still Be Loving You" in 1986 and "When She Cries" in 1992) also reaching Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band also had a No. 1 on Adult Contemporary in 1993 with "Tell Me What You Dream", a collaboration with smooth jazz saxophonist Warren Hill.
Formation and early years
Nashville record producer Tim DuBois created the band in 1984 to record demos of songs that DuBois had written. The founding members were John Dittrich (drums, vocals) (born April 7, 1951), Paul Gregg (bass guitar, vocals) (born December 3, 1954), Dave Innis (keyboards, vocals) (born April 9, 1959), Greg Jennings (lead guitar, vocals) (born October 2, 1954), and Verlon Thompson (lead vocals). The still unnamed band was soon signed to RCA Records' Nashville division. Thompson left the band before they had even begun to record the first album, and was replaced by Larry Stewart, who had known Innis when both were attending Belmont University. Thompson later became a solo singer-songwriter and guitarist for Guy Clark.
1984-1986: Restless Heart
Restless Heart released its self-titled debut album on RCA in 1984. This album included only eight songs, of which four were singles: "Let the Heartache Ride", "I Want Everyone to Cry", "(Back to the) Heartbreak Kid", and "Til I Loved You." Of these, the latter three were all top 10 hits on the Hot Country Songs charts.
Two years later came Wheels, their breakthrough album, which produced four consecutive Number One country hits: "That Rock Won't Roll", "I'll Still Be Loving You", "Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)" and the title track. "I'll Still Be Loving You" and "Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)" were both hits on the Adult Contemporary charts, as was "New York (Hold Her Tight)", which was released only to that format. Furthermore, "I'll Still Be Loving You" cracked the top 40 on the pop charts. The album was certified gold by the RIAA, as their next three studio albums would be as well.
1988-1989: Big Dreams in a Small Town
The band's third album, Big Dreams in a Small Town, came in 1988. From it came two more Number Ones: "The Bluest Eyes in Texas" and "A Tender Lie", as well as Top Five hits in its title track and "Say What's in Your Heart". The latter of these was also a Number One on the RPM country charts in Canada. Several of the singles from the band's first three albums, including "The Bluest Eyes in Texas", were co-written by former pop singer Van Stephenson, who would later become a founding member of the 1990s country band BlackHawk.
1990-1991: Fast Movin' Train
Restless Heart's fourth album, Fast Movin' Train, was released in 1990. Its title track was their sixth Number one hit and "Dancy's Dream" was a top 5 hit. "When Somebody Loves You" and "Long Lost Friend" were less successful, however, reaching No. 21 and No. 16 respectively.
1991-1992: The Best of Restless Heart and Larry Stewart's departure
A greatest hits package, The Best of Restless Heart, followed in 1991. It included two new recordings, both of which were released as singles: "You Can Depend on Me" at No. 3 and "Familiar Pain" at No. 40. Larry Stewart left the band in 1991 to pursue a solo career, also on RCA. His solo debut single "Alright Already" was a Top 5 hit, and although none of his other singles reached higher than No. 34, he recorded four studio albums between then and 2002.
1992-1993: Big Iron Horses
John Dittrich, Paul Gregg, and Dave Innis alternated as lead vocalists on the band's fifth studio release, 1992's Big Iron Horses. This album produced the band's biggest crossover hit in "When She Cries", which went to No. 9 on the country charts, No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 (their highest entry on that chart), and No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary charts. After it came "We Got the Love" (guest musician on banjo was original Eagles member Bernie Leadon) and "Mending Fences", which both fell short of the country Top Ten and its title track, "Big Iron Horses" was far less successful, peaking at No. 72. Keyboardist Dave Innis also left the band in 1993, reducing the band to a trio. That same year, the band reached the top of the Adult Contemporary charts as guest vocalists on jazz saxophonist Warren Hill's debut single "Tell Me What You Dream."
1994-2012: Disbanding and reunion
The next album, 1994's Matters of the Heart, included only Gregg, Jennings and Dittrich, with studio musicians rounding out the roster. Its only single, "Baby Needs New Shoes", fell short of the Top 40, and the remaining three members disbanded at the end of 1994. Jennings joined Vince Gill's band, while Dittrich founded a band called The Buffalo Club in 1997 with Charlie Kelly and lead singer Ron Hemby, formerly of The Imperials. The Buffalo Club recorded one album for Rising Tide Records and charted three singles, including the Top Ten country hit "If She Don't Love You" (a song which had previously been turned down by Restless Heart), before the band split at the end of the year.
The original Restless Heart members, except Innis, reunited to record three new tracks for their second greatest-hits compilation in 1998, Greatest Hits. This album produced their first Top 40 country hit in five years, "No End to This Road." After a year-long tour with Vince Gill and another year of dates on their own, Restless Heart went on hiatus once more.
In 2002, Gregg placed a phone call to Innis, with whom he had not had any contact in ten years. That subsequently led to Restless Heart reuniting once again and returning the band to its complete original lineup. They soon began touring and released a single called "Torch of Freedom" which did not chart. In 2004, the band signed to Koch Records, then went into a Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recording studio to record the first full-length album to feature the original lineup since 1990's Fast Movin' Train. The new album, entitled Still Restless, was co-produced by Mac McAnally and Kyle Lehning, with three of its songs having been previously been recorded by McAnally himself. Its lead-off single, "Feel My Way to You", peaked at No. 29 on the country music charts. However, Koch closed its Nashville division in early 2005, and the album did not produce any other singles. The band released a live album, 25 and Live, in 2007 through their website.
To commemorate the band's 30th anniversary, Restless Heart will begin a “30 Years & Still Restless Tour.” With 27 shows in 25 cities already scheduled, the tour is expected to reach 80-90 dates by the end of 2013. The band has also announced plans to release new music in 2013, but no further details have been revealed.
|1984–1992 (Classic Lineup)||
|2002-current (Return of Classic Lineup)||
Restless Heart's sound draws influences from mainstream country music, as well as from pop and rock. Their use of layered harmonies and multiple Adult Contemporary crossover hits have drawn comparisons to the Eagles.
- Huey, Steve. "Restless Heart biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 348. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.