It has been stated by Reno that their name was chosen due to a dream by Paul Dean. He had come up with the name after spending the previous night with some of the band mates, including Reno and their girlfriends, before going to the movies. The girlfriends were browsing through fashion magazines, where the guys in the band saw a Cover Girl advertisement. Cover Girl became Cover Boy, and then became Loverboy in Dean’s dream later that night. After being told by Dean about the dream the next morning, Reno agreed to try it out and it stuck. The group made its live debut opening for Kiss at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, B.C. on November 19, 1979.
Originally rejected by all the major record labels in the United States, the band signed with Columbia Records of Canada, and on March 20, 1980, Loverboy went into the studio with producer Bruce Fairbairn and engineer Bob Rock to record what would be their self-titled debut album.
Over that summer, the record became a huge hit with eventually over 1,000,000 records sold in Canada alone. The album made its American debut in November 1980, and would go on to sell over two million copies in the USA alone. The band went on a touring spree that year putting on over 200 shows with bands such as Cheap Trick, ZZ Top, Kansas, and Def Leppard. Their debut single, “Turn Me Loose”, went on to hit #7 on the Canadian charts and #35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1981.
The band’s follow-up album, Get Lucky, released in October 1981 when they were opening for Journey, included the hit tracks “Working for the Weekend” and “When It’s Over”. It became their best selling album in the U.S., reaching No. 7 on the Billboard album charts and selling over four million copies. In the same year Loverboy received six Juno Awards (Canada’s highest award for music) in one year, a record that still stands today.
Loverboy released their third album, Keep It Up, in November 1983. Its first single “Hot Girls in Love” became their most successful to that date, reaching No. 11 on the U.S. charts. The video for the song as well as for the follow-up single “Queen of the Broken Hearts” were hugely popular on MTV, and the band embarked on its first tour as headliners.