Signed to RCA Records in 1984, the band had modest success with its self-titled debut album, but broke through a year later with the disc Wheels. This album launched four straight #1 hits on the country charts, including "I'll Still Be Loving You", which achieved major pop crossover airplay. Two more albums, Big Dreams in a Small Town and Fast Movin' Train, continued in the band's hot streak of hits, producing a slick harmony and instrumentation driven sound akin to Eagles and Alabama.
In 1992, Stewart exited the band for a solo career. For the next album, Big Iron Horses, lead vocal duties rotated among Dittrich, Gregg, and Innis. During this timespan, The Band Minus the Face achieved two more major crossover hits in "When She Cries" and "Tell Me What You Dream", the latter featuring Canadian smooth jazz saxophonist Warren Hill. Innis had also quit before Matters of the Heart, a commercial flop that produced no major singles. From 1994 to 2004, the band was on hiatus, except for a brief reunion of everyone except Innis for three tracks off a Greatest Hits Album. During this hiatus, Dittrich was briefly in the group The Buffalo Club, which had a Top 10 country hit in 1997 with "If She Don't Love You" but broke up after less than a year.
The quintet reunited for good in 2004 to release Still Restless, a reunion album produced by Kyle Lehning (Randy Travis's longtime producer) and Mac McAnally, a songwriter and longtime member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. Despite a minor success with "Feel My Way to You", the label on which the album was released closed soon afterward. The only subsequent releases from the band have been live albums, but Restless Heart continues to tour to this day.
- Restless Heart (1984)
- Wheels (1986)
- Big Dreams in a Small Town (1988)
- Fast Movin' Train (1990)
- The Best of Restless Heart (1991)
- Big Iron Horses (1992)
- Matters of the Heart (1994)
- Greatest Hits (1998)
- Still Restless (2004)
- 25 and Live (2007)
- Greatest Hits: Live (2009)
- A Restless Heart Christmas (2013)
Tropes present in their work:
- B-Side: "New York (Hold Her Tight)", the B-side to "Wheels", got some minor AC airplay.
- The Band Minus the Face: Big Iron Horses and Matters of the Heart both have Dittrich, Gregg, and Innis rotating lead vocals in Stewart's absence.
- The Big Easy: "Dancy's Dream" is about a pastor who remains haunted by a past love affair in New Orleans.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: The target of the singer's affections in "That Rock Won't Roll" has a "heart of stone," but he is pretty sure he can win her over with his love.
- Lead Drummer: John Dittrich handled most of the lead vocal duties after Stewart quit, and a few after he rejoined.
- Love Triangle: They covered Mac McAnally's "Miracle", which twists this trope by revealing that the man is in a bigamous relationship and trying to hide each wife from the other.
- "Why Does It Have To Be (Wrong or Right)" is a man talking to a woman who is stuck in one, with him and another man waiting at home.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Let the Heartache Ride"
- Ode to Youth: "Big Dreams in a Small Town"
- Porn Stache: John Dittrich frequently sported one.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Their 2004 reunion was a Real Life example of this.
- Re-release the Song: Their 1986 hit "Til I Loved You" was reissued to AC radio in 1992.
- Small Town Boredom: "Big Dreams in a Small Town"
- Step Up to the Microphone: Even outside Stewart's absence, the other band members sang lead a few times:
- Big Dreams in a Small Town has Stewart and Gregg sharing the lead on "Chiseled in Stone", while Gregg sings "El Dorado" and Dittrich sings "Calm Before the Storm".
- On Still Restless, Dittrich sings "Looking Back" and "The Night Before", while Gregg sings "Yesterday's News".
- The Trope Kid: "Back to the Heartbreak Kid"