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The song first appeared on REO Speedwagon's 1984 album Wheels Are Turnin'. It was the group's second number-one hit on the U.S. charts (the first being 1981's "Keep on Loving You", also written by Kevin Cronin) and reached number sixteen in the UK. "Can't Fight This Feeling" has appeared on dozens of 'various artists' compilation albums, as well as several REO Speedwagon greatest hits albums.
REO Speedwagon performed the song at the 1985 Live Aid concert; they were introduced by Chevy Chase, mentioning that the song was a number-one single at the moment in the United States.
Two different music videos exist for the song. One is a basic video, appearing almost homemade, featuring the band in the studio. It begins with Kevin Cronin playing the piano, attempting to find the key in which he can best sing the song (starting off in G major, he later decides he can sing it better in A). After Cronin exchanges some laughs with his bandmates, the song officially begins; the video essentially consists of the band members lip-synching to the original track of the song. It then concludes with Cronin uttering the line, "That warmed the cockles of my cockles!" The other version of the video is more "professional" and makes various references to the life-cycle. Both videos have been shown at various times on VH1 Classic (now known as MTV Classic).
It was featured prominently in advertisements for the film, Horton Hears a Who!, and sung by the major characters near the end of the film as the titular character celebrates his vindication and his charges' salvation.
In 2013 it was used in the first episode of The Goldbergs.
In 2016, the song was used in the UK and US on adverts for Sheba cat food.