defend the indefensible: CHICAGO (the band)

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if you live in the USA, their music is pretty much inescapable. people may talk about how much they love the beatles, the stones, etc. but at the end of the day, chicago is listed in the top 10 for best-selling bands by billboard and riaa. that's an awful lot of units that peter cetera et. al. have moved.

so are the countless millions of chicago fans correct?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:43 (seventeen years ago) link

the first album is good pop + avant guitar skronk

Tito JaXoN (JasonD), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:45 (seventeen years ago) link

Nice vocal harmonies on their AOR hits.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:46 (seventeen years ago) link

i will confess that i don't really know much of chicago's oeuvre outside of the inescapable stuff -- which tends to be cloying and treacly hausfrau music. i kinda like "if you leave me now," which is kinda breezy and sweet and for its nice guitar-picking. but the rest of it -- um, "saturday in the park" "you're the inspiration"? um, no thanks.

best i can do for now -- peter cetera's bauhaus t-shirt (in the video for one of those mid-80s hausfrau songs), terry kath died in an interesting (but kinda stupid) manner. and "25 or 6 to 4" does kinda convincingly rock out.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:49 (seventeen years ago) link

"Saturday In The Park" is an AMAZING song and was sampled for my wife's favorite song in the entire world, De La Soul's "Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays"

Tito JaXoN (JasonD), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:49 (seventeen years ago) link

they're really consistent with album titling

Tito JaXoN (JasonD), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:50 (seventeen years ago) link

"Feelin' Stronger Every Day" is a great song to run to.

Dave Segal (Da ve Segal), Sunday, 13 February 2005 18:54 (seventeen years ago) link

Whilst listening to a lot of Chicago all at once would be like eating a 2 pound bag of white sugar, there are times when the super-glossy stuff sounds perfect and appropriate. All the big AOR ballads have this subtext of coke-y solipsistic blankness that makes them darker than they first appear. There should've been some Chicago in GTA: San Andreas.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Sunday, 13 February 2005 19:06 (seventeen years ago) link

i guess that, since peter cetera did his best work on his own (the peerless Glory Of Love), you can't really defend the band he was in.

fsharp, Sunday, 13 February 2005 19:20 (seventeen years ago) link

"Street Player" works beautifully as the basis for the Bucketheads' "Bomb the Bass."

walter kranz (walterkranz), Sunday, 13 February 2005 19:35 (seventeen years ago) link

He who is tired of "If You Leave Me Now" is tired of life.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 13 February 2005 19:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Too wierd. The day my wife asks me to get her a Chicago album is the day that ILM includes a Chicago post. Coincidence? I think not.

Strange forces are at work here friends.

chinviolet (chinviolet), Sunday, 13 February 2005 20:11 (seventeen years ago) link

If you leave me now, you'll take away the biggest part of me...

Bryan Moore (Bryan Moore), Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"It's Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry" evoked some kind of sublime post-space age sentimentality we're still not prepared to deal with twenty years after the fact. That and Phil Collins' "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" will be remembered as the two greatest ballads of resignation of the 80s.

matter setter straighter, Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:33 (seventeen years ago) link

Blecch. Stan Kenton Goes to Kollege and hires a bad electric guitarist. Certainly ubiquitous in its day. Their big selling point was that they had a horn section and they referenced Varése in a song I think. James Brown had a horn section, so did Ellington, Kenton used them. This is the kind of crap that earnest college professors trotted out in 1973 to reinforce their belief that "rock music has come of age."

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Sunday, 13 February 2005 21:46 (seventeen years ago) link

nd "25 or 6 to 4" does kinda convincingly rock out.

Seconded.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 13 February 2005 23:26 (seventeen years ago) link

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" is amazing. "Space-age sentimentality" is brilliant. "You're the Inspiration" is pretty lame though - it's painful because I can actually hear a Yes influence in it.

I've never heard the early stuff.

Heh, I hated them so much as a kid.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 13 February 2005 23:35 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't think I know "25 or 6 to 4". Is it as big on the grocery store/dentists' office circuit as their other hits?

sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 13 February 2005 23:35 (seventeen years ago) link

Is it as big on the grocery store/dentists' office circuit as their other hits?

Hahahahahahahaha. No, it's a bit more "rockin'" than that. Imagine the theme from "the Dating Game" re-cast as the theme to "Logan's Run".

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 13 February 2005 23:52 (seventeen years ago) link

Stan Kenton Goes to Kollege and hires a bad electric guitarist.

If you're calling Terry Kath a bad guitarist, you're insane.

Joe (Joe), Monday, 14 February 2005 00:43 (seventeen years ago) link

does anyone know the story wr2 WHY peter cetera was wearing a "bela lugosi is dead" bauhaus t-shirt in that video? could it be that ... he was a FAN of bauhaus?!?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 14 February 2005 00:46 (seventeen years ago) link

If I had to choose, I'd go with the Doobie Brothers.

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Monday, 14 February 2005 00:57 (seventeen years ago) link

Or, shit, why settle for less. Can I just whip out an Earth, Wind and Fire record instead? Thats roughly the same time period, and it has a brass section.
Yeah, if thats allowed, I'll go with Earth, Wind an Fire.

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Monday, 14 February 2005 00:59 (seventeen years ago) link

Their first album (when they were "Chicago Transit Authority") is not at all what you'd expect if you've only heard the dentist office songs. Add "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" to the list of really good stuff, and check (as mentioned above) the guitar freak out "Free Form Guitar."

dlp9001, Monday, 14 February 2005 01:41 (seventeen years ago) link

If you're calling Terry Kath a bad guitarist, you're insane.

I know, right??

Jesus, eddie do you actually *like* any music? you can be a real fuckin' bore.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Monday, 14 February 2005 02:22 (seventeen years ago) link

If you're calling Terry Kath a bad guitarist, you're insane.

I'm insane. That whole idea of grafting a (rather lame) horn section onto the standard post-Beatles "songcraft" a la "Does Anybody Really Care or Know What Time It Is?" strikes *me* as insane. And those vocals, like the way their voices rise on "6 to 4...or...or"--that drives me up the fucking wall like very few other things have been known to do. Out of the 25 or 6 or 4 musical experiences I actually like, you know.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Monday, 14 February 2005 02:24 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah, but eddie, you still haven't told us why Terry Kath sucks as a guitarist. I'm starting to think you might be full of a little, ah, what's that hepcat term you use to denigrate some of the world's great musicians .. "shuck and jive"? that's the ticket daddi-o.

anyway, circularity of ILM threads, why am I still here?, etc..

Stormy Davis (diamond), Monday, 14 February 2005 02:42 (seventeen years ago) link

haha diamond you're gonna hate me but one reason i like "25 or 6 to 4" is that the guitar (to my ears at least) does sound pretty awful - the last time i heard it i remember thinking during the BIG solo 'wait a second - isn't the point with these guys that they're good musicians or something? this is sloppier than neil young!' - note: a GOOD thing. "if you leave me now" is fantastic, even better since three kings, when i was in fifth grade it was taken as proven by science FACT that "you're the inspiration" was the greatest slowdance song of all time. as much as i mighta groaned hearing it on my parent's radio at the time it provokes definite sympathy, warm feelings, nostalgia, appreciation from me now (see also especially that "sunny/yesterday my life was filled with rain" song by whoever).

j blount (papa la bas), Monday, 14 February 2005 03:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Peter Cetera has a really weird nasally voice that's instantly recognizable and obv. classic.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Monday, 14 February 2005 04:11 (seventeen years ago) link

http://www.ofb.net/~epstein/sl/20031231-demon-dogs.jpg

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Monday, 14 February 2005 04:30 (seventeen years ago) link

Amateurist, I pass that sign every day.

Heidy- Ho, Monday, 14 February 2005 05:08 (seventeen years ago) link

i guess that peter cetera deserves credit for not releasing a solo rekkid entitled et cetera ...

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 14 February 2005 05:38 (seventeen years ago) link

o god that should be the name of his duets album

j blount (papa la bas), Monday, 14 February 2005 05:43 (seventeen years ago) link

"25 or 6 to 4" is probably pretty fun to play on trombone.

The lyrics to "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is" have blown my mind on mutiple occasions, also.

The Good Dr. Bill (The Good Dr. Bill), Monday, 14 February 2005 06:26 (seventeen years ago) link

"25 or 6 to 4" is probably pretty fun to play on trombone.

My high-school marching band played this. That's the first time I heard the song.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Monday, 14 February 2005 06:33 (seventeen years ago) link

(our band director was a big Chicago fan. also loved Huey Lewis and Lionel Richie.)

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Monday, 14 February 2005 06:34 (seventeen years ago) link

The last time I ate at Demon Dogs about a year or so ago, I actually felt a little nauseous afterwards. and you're talking to a guy who LOVES Italian beef and polish sausage and etc. I don't think I'll be going back soon.

actually JB i haven't heard "25 or 6 to 4" in a while (amazingly enough), so I will have to go back and evaluate what's going on in that particular track. and yeah, I DO get what eddie is saying about the vocalizing on the chorus there, I can see where one could find it annoying. I apologize for my harshness. Truth be told it's never been one of my favorite tracks of theirs.

BUT i still think that first album is flawless. I mean, it's not about just "grafting" horns onto a guitar-rock band, like they're fucking slapped on their like ketchup on a hot dog or whatever. They DID have great arrangements a lot of the time, and if you can't get off on that, well... And anyway rock bands had been doing that, it ain't like they were first. And eddie, didn't you just say the other day that you loved Exile? a rock band "with horns"?

I mean, I listen to the "Part 2" of "Dialogue, Parts 1 & 2", and all I hear is a bunch of guys really enjoying the fact that they are playing instruments, playing well with each other, in love with syncopation and breaking up the bar in a nice way, some fun wah-flecked freakage from Kath .... and that's enough for me. Even if they WERE white as hell.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Monday, 14 February 2005 06:55 (seventeen years ago) link

the allmusic.com entry on terry kath says that none other than jimi hendrix complemented his guitar playing!

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 14 February 2005 07:01 (seventeen years ago) link

"25 or 6 to 4"...
My high-school marching band played this. That's the first time I heard the song.

No shit? So did ours! We also played School's Out, China Grove and various other '70s classic rock that I can't remember at the moment. Those must have been popular arrangements for high school band directors to buy.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Monday, 14 February 2005 08:19 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm partial to "Wishing You Were Here," which benefits from backing vocals by several Beach Boys. The horns work really well on that song.

My take on "25 or 6 to 4" is that it was a musical prophecy of last fall's Penn State-Iowa football game -- won by the Hawkeyes with the unusual score of 6-4.

John Fredland (jfredland), Monday, 14 February 2005 12:43 (seventeen years ago) link

does anyone know the story wr2 WHY peter cetera was wearing a "bela lugosi is dead" bauhaus t-shirt in that video? could it be that ... he was a FAN of bauhaus?!?

The stylist was probably a long suffering goth.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 14 February 2005 16:50 (seventeen years ago) link

"Wishing You Were Here" is a great song, btw.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 14 February 2005 16:50 (seventeen years ago) link

Go Hawks!@

Herky, Monday, 14 February 2005 16:58 (seventeen years ago) link

I mean, I listen to the "Part 2" of "Dialogue, Parts 1 & 2", and all I hear is a bunch of guys really enjoying the fact that they are playing instruments, playing well with each other,

Absolutely, "Dialogue" is one of their best, I think. Also, "Introduction" off of the debut and "Movin' In" on II...love those horn solos, like Parazaider's kind of free jazz switching to Loughnane's tijuana thing. "In the Country"...they had a lot of great songs just early on.

Joe (Joe), Monday, 14 February 2005 17:16 (seventeen years ago) link

Does Demon Dogs still exist? I thought it was gwon get shuttered..

The first Chicago incarnation is toe-tappable when I remember it but don't actually listen to it.

The Cetera-heavy incarnation is the worst shmaltz imaginable.

dave225 (Dave225), Monday, 14 February 2005 18:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i like their big ballads better than the horn freakouts that still show their "fusion" origins. but some people i respect, if not totally identify with, really like those early, would-be jazzbo records.

i think there's even a peter cetera solo single i like, but i can't remember the name.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Monday, 14 February 2005 19:13 (seventeen years ago) link

i really liked the second album (which is where 25 or 6 to 4 is from) which is significantly more interesting and bizarre than the later Cetera-era stuff.

kyle (akmonday), Monday, 14 February 2005 19:50 (seventeen years ago) link

That peeled-back chocolate bar on one of their album covers looked quite delicious- other than that I have nothing nice to say.

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 14 February 2005 19:54 (seventeen years ago) link

Color My world! I was trying to remember the name of this song....I've decided this song is about quaaludes.

kyle (akmonday), Monday, 14 February 2005 19:55 (seventeen years ago) link

I thought about mentioning that very song, but I was trying to be nice.

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 14 February 2005 19:58 (seventeen years ago) link

My HS band did 25 or 6 to 4 as well....it's the ultimate marching band classic!

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Monday, 14 February 2005 20:28 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah, but eddie, you still haven't told us why Terry Kath sucks as a guitarist. I'm starting to think you might be full of a little, ah, what's that hepcat term you use to denigrate some of the world's great musicians .. "shuck and jive"? that's the ticket daddi-o.

Yeah, I'm being dicty about Kath I guess. I dunno, he could play, I get that--I suppose it's my prejuidice against that *kind* of guitar-playing, maybe? Like I could say the same thing about Zappa--good, yeah, but I am put off by the linearity of it all, that post-west-coast single-string shit. And I know, I know, Kath did other things. I have bad memories of hearing that stuff as a child, too, I always hated "25 or 6 to 4" and "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is." I'm biased toward rhythm guitar players, I guess, and Chicago just always seemed like one thing superimposed on another, and the guitar always sounded tacked on somehow. But I actually do like "Wishing You Were Here" OK, and even "Harry Truman" (Randy Newman missed him) is tolerable. And that one with the wood-like cover ("Chicago V"?) is one I kinda remember liking somewhat. And, I was in high-school jazzband and all those guys were always talking about Maynard Ferguson and Chicago and BS&T and Bill Chase, meanwhile I was listening to Howlin' Wolf and Junior Parker and Stax, so I guess also, to lay it all out in shuck-and-jive, I always associate Chicago with those jazz-head motherfuckers and their "charts" and all that crap--that jazzbo snobbery of their "good music."

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Monday, 14 February 2005 20:39 (seventeen years ago) link

"Stay The Night" has a really fun video, seek it out on VH1 Classic some time. Your prototypical 80's video babe steals Peter Cetera's lovely 1969 Olds 442 and he gives chase with the help of some bandmates. A few hit-and-runs, car jumps and motorcycle crashes later it all comes to an end in flames. I still like to think Cetera dies at the end of the video, even if there still is a bit of life in him.

zaxxon25 (zaxxon25), Monday, 14 February 2005 20:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Maybe it's an age thing. I'm incapable of appreciating the Chicago oevre (apart from "I'm A Man") because just the mention of those cloying "dentist-office" hits triggers awkward teenage memories and turns my stomach. Chicago were inescabale on the radio in the 70s, and to say they were overplayed is an understatement. Chicago just sounded like the squarest thing going those days, all squeaky clean and wholesome without the white-knuckled charisma of the Carpenters.
And yes! EVERY high school marching band played "25 or 6 to 4" or perhaps a Chicago medley. Now the first Blood Sweat & Tears album, Child is Father To The Man, with Al Kooper, that's the ticket.

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Monday, 14 February 2005 21:08 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm starting to uncovered a repressed memory of my cousin explaining to me why "Color My World" was a great song because their use of arpeggios showed their excellent musicianship or something like that.

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 14 February 2005 21:17 (seventeen years ago) link

"uncover". The memory was so strong that I forgot all the rules of grammar.

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 14 February 2005 21:18 (seventeen years ago) link

i totally pulled a chuck eddy back there!

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Tuesday, 15 February 2005 02:04 (seventeen years ago) link

Does Demon Dogs still exist? I thought it was gwon get shuttered..

it exists until the cta starts renovating the fullerton stop. i don't know when that will happen.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Tuesday, 15 February 2005 05:04 (seventeen years ago) link

A pox on ALL (sic) of your houses! Now I have "If You Leave Me Now" lodged in the brain. Hopefully it won't take a lobotomy (or worse) to dislodge it.

PDAS, Tuesday, 15 February 2005 22:39 (seventeen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
I dumped a Chicago greatest hits onto my 'pod the other day for a laff, and I rilly like the '80s stuff more than the '70s stuff…for instance, "Along Comes A Woman" is the ne plus ultra of David Foster-slick-as-snot processed production…the way Danny Seraphine sets up each chorus with a bangin' fill is great…

veronica moser (veronica moser), Monday, 23 January 2006 15:12 (sixteen years ago) link

I'll echo the endorsements of their early pre-Carnegie Hall LPs, particularly that guitar-heavy debut. And their many singles through the '70s were never less than pleasant. But, lord, how their singers annoyed me, whether singing solo or in harmony. That "Ooo-oo-oo baby please don't go" from "If You Leave Me Now" is one of the infrequent vocal bits that can stand on it's own - meaning, it's not at all reminiscent of an icepick in my ear.

Their '80s hits may be better or they may be worse, I can't tell. But they're definitely more frequently played on the radio, so I'm sure to be uncharitable. Dunno if I've heard Pete Cetera's solo stuff and don't care.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Monday, 23 January 2006 15:58 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
classic. heard 'make me smile' at le dentist this week...and it was right and it was good. blew the rest of the office aor i heard that day out of the water. in short ask your dentist for more chicago and more xrays.

irrigation can save your purple, Sunday, 12 February 2006 10:07 (sixteen years ago) link

"Make Me Smile" is a great song. Maybe heresy, but I like it more in its single form than as part of the "Ballet for a Girl..." suite.

Joe (Joe), Sunday, 12 February 2006 13:32 (sixteen years ago) link

not one word, kind or otherwise, for baby what a big surprise. i always thought it was a near-perfect beatlesy pop song. the kind all those 70's power-poppers tried to write, but never could in a million years. and i too heard it played relentlessly on the radio in the 70's, but i still dig it. people would probably think it was cooler if badfinger had done it or something.

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 12 February 2006 16:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Lots of great stuff on their first handful of albums. Highlight got rarer later on.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 12 February 2006 23:58 (sixteen years ago) link

I've had the good fortune to see both Chicago and Stan Kenton in concert in the seventies. And the bad fortune to hear "If You Leave Me Now" today while shopping at Staples.

aworks (aworks), Monday, 13 February 2006 01:23 (sixteen years ago) link

not one word, kind or otherwise, for baby what a big surprise

Actually, I implicitly praised it in my blanket-endorsement of all their 70s singles. :)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Monday, 13 February 2006 06:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Picked up the first album on vinyl last fall for $2. I think it's pretty damn good, and one of the best finds I ever got for that price.

Jeff Sumner (Jeff Sumner), Monday, 13 February 2006 17:50 (sixteen years ago) link

four months pass...
I picked up the CDs for Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago.... The latter is alright.. I'm a little tired of "25 or 6 to 4", but the rest was alright.

The former just blows the shit out of the latter though by a googol country miles... if not for, well, every song "Questions 67 and 68", "Free Form Guitar", "I'm A Man" (that endless drum break!), "Liberation" once it gets warmed up...

So, my question, the followup to Chicago (would that be Chicago III since it's the third album? or is it Chicago II, therefore making the numbering/naming convention off by one?)... worth getting, if I absolutely love the first one, and kinda sorta dig the second?

San Diva Gyna (and a Masala DOsaNUT on the side) (donut), Saturday, 24 June 2006 06:49 (sixteen years ago) link

(admittedly, I have Dwayne in Dunedin to thank for turning me on to that first record... he was playin' it at Records Records and it hit me like a multi-ton weight.)

San Diva Gyna (and a Masala DOsaNUT on the side) (donut), Saturday, 24 June 2006 06:51 (sixteen years ago) link

The first THREE are all fairly amazing (in fits and spurts, as befits their length). I fairly hated III when it was new, but the bizarre CSNYisms therein sound more convincing in retrospect, kinda sweet actually. The horn charts are often great on all three. I like how a lot of the songs were actually ABOUT playing, & listening to, music. The live album has its moments, and then after that it's song-by-song for me. I don't even pretend to have heard it all, because I gave up, a little.

"Dialog" is an INCREDIBLE song. Ditto "Feelin' Stronger", "Wishin' You Were Here" and a number of even their later hits. The drums on every song I've ever heard are creative as Hell, too. And I'm partial to the other singer, the rough-voiced guy who sang "Listen".

matt the queeg (veal), Saturday, 24 June 2006 12:41 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, "Dialogue" is one of my favorites, too. Chicago II is a step down, but still decent, and some tunes on it match the level of quality on the debut (especially "Movin' In" and "In the Country").

I would say Chicago V is a pretty underrated, one. I read somebody call it the greatest Canterbury prog album an American band ever made, which is a funny description (probably because of the first song, "A Hit by Varese", with the Fender Rhodes, etc.).

Chicago VI is the most lackluster of the first seven, IMO. Chicago VII, I think, is the one with the fusion-instrumental stuff on it, right?

Joe (Joe), Saturday, 24 June 2006 13:41 (sixteen years ago) link

I played 'I'm a man' on the radio on monday as the lead-in to the women's issues group's show that followed mine!

indie disco dancer, sweet romancer (haitch), Saturday, 24 June 2006 14:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Whoa, Chicago has a song title hat references Varese?! What's that all about? Are there any musical references?

Sundar (sundar), Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

"that references"

Sundar (sundar), Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

five years pass...

Speaking of stuff bringing people to tears, I have to say, "Wishing You Were Here" has always done that for me. Even when I was a little kid and mostly hated them. I always liked "Colour My World" for its weirdness. I mean, listen closely, it is really weird.

Compositionally they are unassailable. Most people hate them for their sound.

two years pass...

Some of their stuff is pretty good. I echo the "Make Me Smile" comments up there, and i saw a video from Tanglewood '70 where the guitar solo on 25 or 6 to 4 was mindblowing, has to be seen/heard to be believed.

Prince Kajuku (Bill Magill), Friday, 31 January 2014 20:07 (eight years ago) link

Yeah, the earlyish records definitely have their moments. But the MOR ballads (and Terry Kath's "don't worry, it's not loaded") were their death knell. There aren't many bands I hate more than ballady/post-accidental-suicide Chicago. Fucking "Stay The Night" is such an irredeemable ball of shit.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 31 January 2014 20:27 (eight years ago) link

That later period Chicago is really bad.

Prince Kajuku (Bill Magill), Friday, 31 January 2014 20:43 (eight years ago) link

the mid-seventies ballad stuff I hated when I was a kid but it reaches me now - "if you leave me now," "hard to say I'm sorry"

"wishing you were here" is drop-dead beautiful. the intro could easily lead into a dark pink floyd ballad (like, oh, "wish you were here"), but instead it opens up into a full-on beach boys gospel.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 31 January 2014 21:55 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

i guess that, since peter cetera did his best work on his own (the peerless Glory Of Love), you can't really defend the band he was in.

― fsharp, Sunday, February 13, 2005 1:20 PM (10 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i'm glad there is at least one other person here who unashamedly likes this song. (hits the same sweet spot as that REO Speedwagon ballad, "keep on lovin you" or whatever.)

"old days" is incredibly obvious but it can kinda get to me at the right moments, you know?

chicago strikes me as an interesting (in theory; sometimes in reality) melding of progressive rock with the horn charts-heavy mid-late 60s blue-eyed soul strain of e.g. the buckinghams. that's not a combination that one associates with many other bands.

i like how even when peter cetera isn't multi-tracked he somehow sounds like he is harmonizing with himself. how does he do that?

wizzz! (amateurist), Tuesday, 29 September 2015 23:33 (six years ago) link

three years pass...
three years pass...

i heard a chicago song on the radio today, one i'd never heard before: "make me smile"

i kind of like it. sounds maybe like the grass roots covering a van halen tune

i see Alfred gave it "good to great" status back in '19

budo jeru, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 01:25 (one week ago) link

"Make Me Smile" is great, one of Kath's better vocal performances. also on a killer album (Chicago 2)

Slowzy LOLtidore (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 02:24 (one week ago) link

I've never been a fan, but I eventually found a way to enjoy some of their stuff. I borrowed the Group Portrait box set (the one with the awful cover everyone hated) and even though I didn't like a lot of it, I ended up burning a disc for reference - pretty much every single from CTA to VIII but using the full-length LP versions found on the box set. It wound up being a fairly decent listen for me, leaving behind much of their worst while presenting their most likable stuff in a far more palatable context. ("Make Me Smile" is on there.)

birdistheword, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 03:50 (one week ago) link

Even their early "good records" are highly inconsistent, but there's a number of interesting deep cuts up to Chicago VII. Terry Kath's guitar prowess is well-known, but Peter Cetera was actually a really dynamic bassist and maybe the best player in the group. There are even passages on III that could pass for contemporary Soft Machine (check out the duelling trombones over 5/8 backing in "Mother").
Songwise their peak is probably V, when Robert Lamm was doing most of the writing. The production goes really soft on VI, and though I love the melody of "If You Leave Me Now", they soon ran the ballad approach into the ground.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 04:38 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_torOTK5qc

Leonid & Friends - When you want to hear a bunch of Russian musicians absolutely killing it on Chicago tunes (and other '70s horn bands like EW&F and Tower of Power).

Plus, you won't get caught with "Chicago" in your YouTube search history.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 04:56 (one week ago) link


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