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CHICAGO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Chicago biography
The original members of Chicago met at DePaul University in the late 60s and began playing cover gigs under the name The Big Six. Moving to Los Angelas in 68 they signed with Columbia records and released their first album in April 1969. From the beginning the band members fused a three piece horn section with a hard rock combo to play innovative music that combined rock, jazz, pop, RnB and classical into a sound that was distinctively their own.

Over the years Chicago gradually changed membership, likewise the direction of their music shifted as well. Eventually the lengthy arrangements and jazzy solos of the earlier albums gave way to sophisticated pop and lite rock that matched the age of their maturing audience. One of the most enduring acts in the history of rock, Chicago continues to record and tour to this day.

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The Very Best of Chicago: Only the BeginningThe Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning
Rhino 2002
Audio CD$8.19
$3.75 (used)
Chicago Transit AuthorityChicago Transit Authority
Rhino 2002
Audio CD$2.08
$3.92 (used)
Chicago's Greatest HitsChicago's Greatest Hits
Rhino 2005
Audio CD$3.58
$1.24 (used)
Terry's Last Stand (2CD Set)Terry's Last Stand (2CD Set)
Left Field Media 2016
Audio CD$11.27
$8.48 (used)
Chicago II (Repackaged)Chicago II (Repackaged)
Rhino Records 2002
Audio CD$3.58
$1.94 (used)
Chicago Quadio Box (9 Disc Blu-Ray Audio)Chicago Quadio Box (9 Disc Blu-Ray Audio)
Box set
Rhino Records 2016
Audio CD$108.42
$113.35 (used)
The Best Of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition (2CD)The Best Of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition (2CD)
Rhino Records 2007
Audio CD$9.16
$5.82 (used)
Greatest Hits 1982-1989Greatest Hits 1982-1989
Rhino 2004
Audio CD$4.99
$1.45 (used)
The Studio Albums 1969-1978 (Vol. 1)(10CD)The Studio Albums 1969-1978 (Vol. 1)(10CD)
Box set
Rhino Records 2012
Audio CD$26.48
$47.63 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
TOMMY DORSEY ORCH VICTOR CHICAGO/ NEVER TOO LATE TO PRAY NM- USD $8.00 Buy It Now
USED (LN) Live From Chicago : An Audience With The Queen (1990) (Audio CD) USD $27.51 Buy It Now
Chicago Look Away & I don't want to live without your love 45 USD $3.99 Buy It Now
Mr. V Soul Radio Show from WGRT Chicago from 2/11/1972 USD $9.50 Buy It Now
MAHLER SYMPHONY #5; GEORG SOLTI, CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; LONDON STEREO 2LPS USD $8.00 Buy It Now
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MAHLER 2ND SYMPHONY "RESURRECTION"; SOLTI, CHICAGO; LONDON DIGITAL STEREO 2 LPS USD $10.00 Buy It Now
CHICAGO 11 XI JAPAN AUTHENTIC SHM MINI LP CD NEW OUT OF PRINT WPCR-13673 USD $39.99 Buy It Now
BERGENDY: Beat alblak COVER ALBUM CHICAGO DEEP PURPLE USD $18.99 Buy It Now
Chicago - Self Titled - $20 - VG+ (R1 76172) USD $20.00 Buy It Now
Malik Yusef The Great Chicago Fire A Cold Day In Hell Sampler PROMO Music CD 5tk USD $8.99 Buy It Now
Atlantic Blues Guitar Piano Vocalists Chicago BB King etc 4 CD Set Please Read USD $15.99 Buy It Now
CHICAGO 16: EXPANDED & REMASTERED [REMASTER] [USED CD] USD $7.48 Buy It Now
B.B. King 60s R&B BLUES DJ 45 I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water / Goin to Chicago Blu USD $14.98 Buy It Now
DJ DERRICK CARTER Cosmic Disco Cd MixMag Magazine CHICAGO HOUSE CLASSICS USD $8.99 Buy It Now
Chicago's Greatest Hits Cd By Chicago - 11 Classic Tracks USD $1.89 [0 bids]
MTV2 My Block - Chicago - 2006 TV Soundtrack CD USD $3.79 Buy It Now
Chicago Vii USD $18.47 Buy It Now
Jazz at Philharmonic Blues Chicago 1955 Dizzy Peterson FREE US SHIPPING USD $20.42 Buy It Now
CHICAGO BLUES REUNION - ALL BLUES IS LOCAL-CD USD $2.85 [4 bids]
Paul Butterfield Blues Band East West CD 1988 Blues Rock Guitar Chicago Soul USD $8.95 Buy It Now
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Chicago III 4 Track 7" Reel to Reel Stereo Tape 3 3/4 IPS USD $19.95 Buy It Now
ThriftCHI ~ Record Collection Liquidation Climax Blues Band Chicago Joan Baez 50 USD $11.69 Buy It Now
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CHICAGO Chicago VIII PC33100 LP Ez0482 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
(CD) CHICAGO - The Heart Of.... / Early Pressing / Germany / 7599-26107-2 USD $17.99 Buy It Now
Chicago 17, Chicago, New Original recording remastered USD $6.98 Buy It Now
Mahler's Head 1972 London Orphic Egg LP Chicago Symphony Orchestra Georg Solti USD $4.00 Buy It Now
Ron Steele Chicago Guitar USA Cassette Tape Snapcase USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Mercury MG 50001 mono RFR-2/RFR-2 Nm BARTOK/ BLOCH Concertos - KUBELIK / CHICAGO USD $7.50 [2 bids]
Grupo Montez De Durango De Durango A Chicago CD USED LIKE NEW USD $15.99 Buy It Now 2s
5LPS jazz flute HERBIE MANN Glory/Love Best*HUBERT LAWS Chicago/Rite*BUD SHANK USD $10.00 Buy It Now 3m 24s
Chicago Twenty 1 by Chicago (CD, Jan-1991, Full Moon/Warner Bros.) ...011 USD $1.65 Buy It Now 5m 9s
XV by Chicago Mass Choir (CD, May-2011, New Haven) USD $15.78 Buy It Now 6m 50s
Chicago Greatest Hits Vol 2 Cassette New Sealed USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8m 7s
Chicago Blues Bash (CD, Apr-1992, Laserlight) USD $4.95 Buy It Now 8m 23s
Wilco Gig Poster, Chicago 2004 (Original Silkscreen) 18 x 24' Print USD $38.26 Buy It Now 9m 56s
De Durango A Chicago Lo Mejor De La Musica Duranguense CD New Nuevo Sealed USD $16.99 Buy It Now 9m 59s
ABC WHEN SMOKEY SINGS / CHICAGO VINYL 7" SINGLE USD $5.21 Buy It Now 12m 44s
Handel: Messiah by George Frideric Handel ; Sir Georg Solti ; Chicago Symphony.. USD $14.99 Buy It Now 22m 57s
The Heart of Chicago 1967-1997 by Chicago (CD, Apr-1997, Reprise) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 25m 7s
"STILL SEALED" CD by LONNIE BROOKS "SWEET HOME CHICAGO" USD $13.99 Buy It Now 25m 39s
DJ El Kocho De Chicago Tierra Caliente Mix 2006 CD New Nuevo Sealed Sellado USD $25.99 Buy It Now 27m 55s
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LP - Alligator Records - Lonnie Brooks - Live From Chicago - AUTOGRAPHED USD $74.99 [0 bids]
28m 36s
CHICAGO - If She Would Have Been Faithful - 1986 PRO 45 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 28m 58s
Climax Chicago Blues Band 1970 UK Harvest LP Copy of "a lot of bottle" MINT!! USD $5.00 [1 bids]
35m 14s
Tchaikovsky--The Nutcracker Reiner. Chicago Symphony Orchestra Vinyl USD $10.00 Buy It Now 41m 9s
Vintage Chicago Transit Authority Album Vinyl LP XSM 139684 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 42m 24s
Acoustic Blue Chicago by Johnny B. Moore (CD, Apr-1999, Blue Chicago) USD $11.50 Buy It Now 44m 3s
Chicago - Chicago (II) (2009 SHM Japanese Mini-LP sleeve CD WPCR 13636) New USD $139.95 [0 bids]
45m 2s
CHICAGO GREATEST HITS VOL. II CASSETTE TAPE LIGHTLY USED USD $7.95 Buy It Now 45m 58s
Chicago - Chicago (X) (2009 SHM Japanese Mini-LP sleeve CD WPCR 13642) USD $99.95 [0 bids]
47m 3s
CD by STATE & LAKE "CHICAGO RULES" / STILL SEALED USD $10.99 Buy It Now 47m 47s
Chicago Grandes Hits CD New Nuevo sealed USD $16.99 Buy It Now 48m 4s
ROCK CHICAGO BEGINNINGS / COLOUR MY WORLD COLUMBIA 45 RECORD USD $5.00 Buy It Now 51m 5s
CHICAGO HARD HABIT TO BREAK 45 RECORD W/PICTURE SLEEVE USD $5.00 Buy It Now 51m 5s
Chicago 17 CD New Sealed USD $25.99 Buy It Now 52m 31s
Prokofiev~Romeo & Juliet~Chicago Symphony Orchestra~Sir Georg Solti~London 71087 USD $10.75 Buy It Now 53m 59s
DJ Larry Lujack Top 40 Show on WLS Chicago 8/8/1970 USD $9.00 [0 bids]
USD $11.70 Buy It Now
54m 18s
Mozart;Piano Concertos, Chicago So, Vienna So, Anda, Very Good USD $1.31 Buy It Now 1h
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Johnny Dodds Sweep Em Clean 78 NM Hot Jazz Club My Girl Chicago Footwarmers NICE USD $14.96 Buy It Now 1h 3m
Chicago - CBS Sony stereo LP, SONX 60200 USD $3.50 [1 bids]
1h 5m
Instant Live: Headbangers Left Ball Chicago, IL, 10/31/03 by moe. Ultra Rare USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 7m
Golden Classics by The Independents (Chicago) (CD, Mar-2006, Collectables) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1h 11m
SEALED CHICAGO 17 USD $10.99 [0 bids]
1h 13m
SEALED CHICAGO HOT STREETS USD $11.99 [0 bids]
1h 13m
Led Zeppelin Sick Again limited edition Chicago Stadium April 9, 1977 USD $100.00 Buy It Now 1h 13m
CD 'Mass Choir Gospel' North Carolina Mass Choir + Chicago + LA ++ SEALED USD $3.50 Buy It Now 1h 15m
Chicago Hard Habit To Break-[7" Single,1984, Warner Bros.] Pop Rock / Jazz Rock USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 25m
Sir Georg Solti, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1968 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1h 27m
The Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew The Super Bowl Shuffle 1985 LP VG++ USD $12.99 [0 bids]
1h 32m
SEALED The Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew The Super Bowl Shuffle 1985 LP USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1h 32m
Acid Rain: Definitive Chicago Acid House USD $34.56 Buy It Now 1h 33m
Chicago 19 by Chicago (CD, 1988) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1h 35m
NEW Working the Road: The Golden Age of Chicago Gospel (Audio CD) USD $24.44 Buy It Now 1h 36m
CHICAGO If You Leave Me Now / Together Again 45 USD $7.61 Buy It Now 1h 37m
CHICAGO Live In '75 2CD BRAND NEW Live 1975 Capital Centre Largo Maryland USD $17.18 Buy It Now 1h 38m
OSCAR PETERSON (TRIO)-THE TRIO-LIVE FROM CHICAGO-Import w/OBI CD BONUS TRACK D81 USD $21.50 Buy It Now 1h 38m
Electric Okeh 41180 Louis Armstrong & His Savoy Ballroom Five (Chicago 1928) USD $31.00 [5 bids]
1h 39m
Radio Show: LEEZA GIBBONS TOP 25 5/30/98 CHICAGO, V.SHEPARD, P.COLE, A.GRANT USD $23.99 Buy It Now 1h 40m
Chicago Seven Live In Concert Tom Baker CD import original Rare USD $2.99 [0 bids]
1h 42m
CHICAGO The Studio Albums 1979-2008 10CD BOX SET BRAND NEW USD $45.90 Buy It Now 1h 42m
Scroll Victor V-38043 Earl Hines Orchestra-Beau Koo Jack (Chicago 1929) beauty! USD $51.99 [3 bids]
1h 43m
VICTOR ROMEO - YOU CAN'T FIGHT MY LOVE 12" Record 1987 Chicago House Bright Star USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1h 44m
MIRAGE feat CHIP E. (JACK TRAX) Its House/Time To Jack/Energy WBMX 1985 Chicago USD $17.99 Buy It Now 1h 44m
CHICAGO 16 JAPAN USD $13.99 Buy It Now 1h 46m
LRA1.CD ALBUM.THE HEART OF CHICAGO....1967-1997. USD $11.44 Buy It Now 1h 51m
TONY BENNETT Chicago CD Classic Jazz Vocalist Brand New 2002 USD $3.29 Buy It Now 1h 55m
ISIS - SELF TITLED (LP RECORD) VG+ 1974 BUDDA BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, CHICAGO USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1h 57m
Pala Brothers "Good times, Good Music, Good Friends" CHICAGO POLKAS LP USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h
CHICAGO 10 x LP Mint- PC 34200 Vinyl 1976 Record w/Insert & Orig Inner Sleeve USD $6.37 Buy It Now 2h 4m
8 Rock 8 Tracks Chicago, Creedence, Three Dog, and 10 Not Rock 8 Tracks USD $9.95 [0 bids]
2h 11m
PARRIS MITCHELL Life in the Underground 2x LP NEW VINYL Chicago Ghetto House USD $23.99 Buy It Now 2h 12m
NESTOR GOMEZ EN CHICAGO Record LP EX+ MEXICAN ~ TEPEYAC RECORDS Stereo #30016 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
2h 13m
Paul Butterfield Blues Band CD Lost Elektra R2 73505 1995 Rock Guitar Chicago VG USD $10.95 Buy It Now 2h 14m

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CHICAGO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CHICAGO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 163 ratings
The Chicago Transit Authority
1969
4.13 | 141 ratings
Chicago (aka Chicago II)
1970
3.60 | 82 ratings
Chicago III
1971
3.28 | 75 ratings
Chicago V
1972
2.53 | 61 ratings
Chicago VI
1973
4.00 | 74 ratings
Chicago VII
1974
2.92 | 45 ratings
Chicago VIII
1975
3.00 | 55 ratings
Chicago X
1976
2.90 | 51 ratings
Chicago XI
1977
2.05 | 38 ratings
Hot Streets
1978
1.73 | 29 ratings
Chicago 13
1979
1.76 | 25 ratings
Chicago XIV
1980
2.40 | 34 ratings
Chicago 16
1982
2.63 | 37 ratings
Chicago 17
1984
2.56 | 30 ratings
Chicago 18
1986
2.46 | 19 ratings
Chicago 19
1988
1.48 | 24 ratings
Twenty 1
1991
3.66 | 19 ratings
Night and Day: Big-Band
1995
2.78 | 8 ratings
Chicago 25 - The Christmas Album / What's It Gonna Be Santa
1998
2.36 | 20 ratings
Chicago XXX
2006
3.77 | 28 ratings
Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII)
2008
3.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three
2010
2.50 | 2 ratings
Chicago XXXV: The Nashville Sessions
2013
3.31 | 17 ratings
Chicago XXXVI: Now
2014

CHICAGO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 36 ratings
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
1971
3.98 | 23 ratings
Live in Japan
1972
3.04 | 5 ratings
Beginnings (In Concert)
1978
4.00 | 9 ratings
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album
1999
3.50 | 4 ratings
Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75
2011

CHICAGO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 4 ratings
Soundstage Presents Chicago
2004
4.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago
2005

CHICAGO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 21 ratings
Chicago IX - Greatest Hits
1975
2.17 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Love Songs
1982
1.21 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits 1982-1989
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago
1989
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1997
1997
3.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago
1997
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1998 Volume II
1998
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Chicago Story: Complete Greatest Hits
2002
3.16 | 6 ratings
The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning
2002
4.75 | 4 ratings
The Box
2003
2.86 | 5 ratings
Love Songs (2005)
2005
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Best Of Chicago
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Collector's Edition
2009

CHICAGO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.80 | 5 ratings
I'm A Man
1969
3.42 | 7 ratings
25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here
1970
4.40 | 5 ratings
Make Me Smile / Colour My World
1970
3.33 | 3 ratings
Lowdown / Loneliness Is Just A Word
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
‎? ロウダウン (Lowdown) / 欲しいのは君だけ (I Don't Want Your Money)
1971
3.60 | 5 ratings
Feelin' Stronger Every Day
1973
3.33 | 3 ratings
Just You 'N' Me / Critic's Choice
1973
3.33 | 3 ratings
Call On Me
1974
3.50 | 4 ratings
Wishing You Were Here
1974
1.22 | 7 ratings
If You Leave Me Now
1976
2.00 | 4 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / If You Leave Me Now
1977
2.00 | 2 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / Takin' It On Uptown
1977
1.25 | 4 ratings
No Tell Lover / Take A Chance
1979
2.00 | 2 ratings
Street Player
1979

CHICAGO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here by CHICAGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1970
3.42 | 7 ratings

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25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have to say that I never have listened to a full album from CHICAGO. I only have listened to some of their Hit Singles being played in some oldies FM Radio stations in my city. Like BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS, a band with a similar musical style, at least with the use of some brass instruments, this band has never been very interesting for me with the exception of some of their early singles like this single from 1970.

"25 or 6 to 4" is a very good song with a very characteristic guitar and bass riff and very good brass arrangements. It is maybe one of the "heaviest" tracks that I have listened to from them, with a very good lead guitar part and very good lead and backing vocals. It is maybe one of their most known songs, at least in my country. But the version that was released in this single is an edited version of the song which originally has a duration of five minutes. Anyway, the song sounds good in both versions, but I prefer the original version.

"Where Do We Go from Here", in the Side 2 of this single, is a very good ballad, without brass instruments, which maybe shows, with less "sugar" than other of their singles, some of the good ballads that this band has recorded during their very long musical history.

CHICAGO was one of the very few International Rock bands that came to play to my country in the seventies, a time when Rock concerts were almost "prohibited" because very often there were riots. If I remember well, there were riots outside one of the venues in which this band played in my city in 1975. The same happened with PROCOL HARUM in the same year. (I was too young to attend both concerts). It was until 1989 when ROD STEWART played some concerts in my country that International Rock Concerts here became a very common thing. It seems that the public that went to the concerts in the eighties-nineties finally learned to "behave well". But the seventies were very hard times for Rock music in my country.

 Chicago VI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.53 | 61 ratings

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Chicago VI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by PoolmanProgger

3 stars Chicago VI marks a departure for Chicago, as the jazz fusion and progressive stylings that the group had pursued previously were scraped for a sound with a more funky delivery, one that took its influence from Little Feat rather than Miles Davis. Also, Chicago VI was the first Chicago album heavy on ballads and light-rockers, a side effect of both James Pankow's increasingly generic horn arrangements and Robert Lamm experiencing writer's block, not to mention producer James William Guercio's smothering control of the band's sound and image. To make matters worse, the band members were creatively and emotionally drained after four-plus years of non-stop touring and recording. All of these factors contributed to the top-heavy Chicago VI, an album that, if not for several stand out tracks, would have been a lemon. Robert Lamm wrote half of the tracks on Chicago VI. "Critics' Choice" was Lamm's response to the band's negative critics, and a rather scathing lyric as well. Lamm criticizes the bloated egos and self-righteousness of said critics: "You parasite/You're dynamite/An oversight/Misunderstanding what you hear/You're quick to cheer/And volunteer/Absurdities, musicals, blasphemies". I can't help but think that a certain Robert Christgau was the target of Lamm's scorn, and it appears Christgau took it personally. Just take a look at his (very) brief review of Chicago VI: "Any horn band that's reduced to writing songs about critics and copping (unsuccessfully) from both Motown and America must be running out of--how do you say eet?--good charts." More on that copping unsucessfully from Motown later. Aside from the lyrics, "Critics' Choice" is a beautiful piano-driven tune, which adds to the depth of the lyrics. One of the better tunes on Chicago VI.

Lamm's next composition, "Darlin' Dear", is a very funky track, and reminds me a lot of Little Feat or the Allman Brothers Band. Chicago really ventures out of their comfort zone here, and they thoroughly nail it. A rag time piano and a slide guitar, virgin territory for Chicago, are nice touches, and blend in quite nicely with the horns. "Something in the City Changes People", Lamm's third composition on Chicago VI as well as the opener for Side Two, is probably Lamm's best tune on the album. A smooth piano with great vocal harmonies and congas, not to mention fantastic bass playing from Mr. Cetera, set up a dreamy flute solo accented by acoustic guitar, which gently segues into the next track, "Hollywood", another Lamm dittie. "Hollywood" is a rather weak lyric, supposedly critical of the phoniness of Hollywood celebrities, but Lamm doesn't do a very good job of expressing it, even jogging out a tired "Heard It Through the Grapevine" chorus. A very weak track aside from the horns and congas, which really shine on this otherwise lackluster performance. Lamm's final track, "Rediscovery", is quite funky, with a lyric about the narrator going out to a place in the mountains to rediscover himself. The rhythm section is strong on this one, but the funky guitar solo in the middle is a bit weak, and the horns really seem tired and going through the motions at this point.

Terry Kath and Peter Cetera each have one composition a piece on Chicago VI, and, as you probably would have guessed, they're nothing special. Kath's ballad, "Jenny" has good percussion with those congas making another appearance, and rather confusing lyrics. Is it a father talking to his daughter about her new child? Is the narrator a pimp? Is he talking to his baby mama regarding their bastard child? Who knows; the song is pretty forgettable, but not as forgettable as Cetera's piece, "In Terms of Two", which has to be, hands-down, the WORST track on Chicago VI. An uncredited harmonica opens the track, very unusual for Chicago, and what follows is a country-rock tune that falls flat on its face. Whereas the slide guitar worked on "Darlin' Dear", it fails miserably on this track. An obvious attempt at exploiting the country rock boom of the early 70s. There is nothing memorable at all about this track, and I wish that I had never heard it.

The three best tracks on Chicago VI are James Pankow's compositions. "Just You N Me" was a smash hit, climbing to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Pankow wrote the song about his feelings for his future wife, and the emotion really comes through in this one. Cetera has a great vocal delivery, and Walter Parazaider performs a soprano saxophone solo to accompany Terry Kath's wah-wah guitar. Initially, it may sound like a sappy radio-friendly ballad, but it really fills out nicely. The next Pankow piece is "What's This World Comin' To?", the longest track on the album, clocking in at nearly five minutes, as well as the Side One closer. The best lyric on the entire album, the lyrics are politically charged - Pankow borrowing a page from Lamm - with an emphasis on being benevolent toward one another. The lyrics are especially critical of those rich and in power. The terrific rhythm section and horns really flesh out this standout track, as well as a top-notch organ.

Pankow's last composition on Chicago VI, a song which he co-wrote with Peter Cetera, is the seminal album closer "Feelin' Stronger Every Day", the hands-down best song on Chicago VI and one of the group's most enduring tracks. A fan favorite down to the modern day, "Feelin' Stronger" pretty much saves Side Two from being a laughing stock and is the only reason you should still be listening to this album all the way through. Terry Kath uses the wah-wah guitar to perfection on this track, steadily upping the tempo of the track until it bursts out of its shackles about halfway through. There is so much emotion and energy in this song that its premature ending at 4:15 is cruel. "Feelin' Stronger" is one of Chicago's best songs, and it is sure to leave a strong impression on the listener.

Chicago VI was Chicago's sixth album in four years, their fifth studio effort, and all that wear and tear from constant touring and promotion of their albums was starting to wear off. Chicago VI, as a result, sounds a bit tired and lackadaisical. After starting out strong, the album runs out of steam on Side Two, virtually lulling the listener to sleep until the energetic "Feelin' Stronger" revives them again. That said, Chicago VI definitely has high peaks, but it also has very deep valleys. A very uneven record, but it still has enough highlights on it to be worthy of any prog fan's collection.

 Chicago XI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.90 | 51 ratings

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Chicago XI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As the drive for more commercial success pushed Chicago towards more radio friendly material, the quality of the music put out by the band continues to slide. This album definitely leans towards the commercial soft sounds that would romanticize their music so that it would become pop by pushing the horns to the back and focusing on the lyrics. You can really hear this effect on this album. Now, it's not a complete loss yet because there are a few blues oriented numbers in the excellent "Mississippi Delta Blues" and "Takin' It On Uptown" with their snippets of brass hooks and a little heavier guitar driven sound. The light jazz tune "Take Me Back to Chicago" is not bad with the addition of the soulful sounds somewhat similar to "Skinny Boy" from album "VII". There is also a return to the suite style of the original first 3 albums (even though the songs aren't listed together as a suite). The last three tracks make up this suite, and it is a mostly orchestral driven suite, very dramatically sung and reminiscent of some of the original ballads. But, for the most part, the heart of the band is mostly missing, their minds were on the money and the money was on their minds, so to speak. The songs are just not as interesting. The same thing would happen on the "Hot Streets" album, then after that, Chicago would just risk all heart and soul to the commercial machine. This one is only good, but it is not essential with only a few standout tracks and a lot of commercial appeal.
 Chicago X by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.00 | 55 ratings

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Chicago X
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The feel of Chicago X is really very close to Chicago VIII (Chicago IX was a greatest hits collection, so we'll skip that one). Just like VIII, X has a great variety of blues and jazz infused rock, streamlined shorter yet well developed tracks, but this one is not as guitar oriented as VIII was. Still, the tracks are still enjoyable and their are plenty of things to love about it. You will notice the trend though especially after this album. Things are less interesting on "XI" and "Hot Streets", then after that, Chicago lost my interest completely. So, I still love this album, again it is not perfect, but it is still enjoyable and better that "V" and "VI". They didn't give it all up to pop quite yet, but it is getting close. Another excellent album and addition to your rock collection. 4 stars.
 Chicago VIII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.92 | 45 ratings

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Chicago VIII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I know this one was not very well liked by the critics and, from the looks of this site, many of the reviewers here. I guess after the excellent return to form and jazz heavy album Chicago VII, everyone was expecting more. Instead, Chicago shifted back to a more streamlined rock-oriented sound. This album is still a far cry from the hit churning days to come and if the critics had heard that before this album, maybe the reviews would have been nicer.

My personal opinion on this album is that it has always been a favorite and I consider it the best of all the single release albums Chicago put out. There is a tendency to more guitar oriented rock on this one. Take for example, the tracks "Hideaway" with that hard rock guitar riff and driving rhythm. It's not very often after this album that you would hear Peter Cetera sing on a hard rock song. The other example is the tribute to Jimi Hendrix called "Oh Thank You Great Spirit". This one is a hard driving song with psychedelic leanings and an amazing guitar solo which is also the longest track on the album. There are the bluesy tracks with "Ain't it Blue" and "Anything You Want". And there are the signature rock/jazz fusion tracks with "Brand New Love Affair, Pts. 1 and 2". Then you have the radio singles "Harry Truman" and "Old Days". These radio singles were not extremely popular so they are not worn out from airplay like many of the Chicago singles.

With plenty of variety and good somewhat challenging songs, there is still plenty to enjoy and get excited about. This album is definitely better than albums "V" and "VI". The songs are better developed and better quality then the poor attempts at popular music that was place on those albums. The music is still a lot more enjoyable and sincere than the commercial fiasco that would plague the band further down the road. Okay, so it's not the most progressive, but it is full of driving rhythms, the brass is still prevalent on a lot of the tracks even though it is more guitar driven and rock oriented. This one is worth serious consideration as one that should be added to your music collection. Not perfect, but still and excellent addition to your collection. 4 stars.

 Chicago VII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 74 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After 2 albums of lite jazz pop, the band Chicago was getting restless and tired of playing non challenging music. So the original idea was to make an album with nothing but jazz on it. Wow, what an amazing idea. Well, some of the members thought so. Others started to worry that the band would lose it's radio audience, so they added a few more radio friendly songs and pretty soon, a new double album was born. This was the first multi album since the "Live at Carnegie Hall" album which at that time and all before, every album was at least 2 discs.

So, we have a lot of good signs now that Chicago is returning to form. And this they do, producing an amazing album of jazz and jazz fusion that would rival even their first 2 albums. The jazz on this is even jazzier than ever. In fact, the first vocals aren't even heard until way into the 6th track! Now that is a risk that you just have to admire. Nothing is boring here either, and apparently the public loved it because the album sold. The instrumentals are top notch, tight playing and upbeat with a lot of structured and improvisational playing. When the vocals do come in, they are not out of place but are very welcome. Even Peter Cetera's songwriting skills had improved greatly where previously he was probably the weakest songwriter, eventually he would be the one to carry the band several years later, but it would be without any sort of progressiveness whatsoever. But, for now, let's enjoy great music.

What we finally get with the final product in Chicago VII is almost one full disc full of jazz and almost one full disc of the signature jazz/rock sound that Chicago was famous for. But don't worry all you prog lovers out there, the more accessible songs here are all still very enjoyable, keeping a little bit of challenge to them even while reaching radio readiness. There were several singles that still came off of this album, one of them with great psychedelic leanings; "Wishing You Were Here". The band was able to pull off the nearly impossible with creating jazz that is reminiscent of the jazz greats, and still making popular music that is still worthy of listening to. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how it is done and Chicago proved it could be done, that with the right mix of everything, you can keep everyone happy.

This is jazz/rock fusion at it's absolute finest and the jazz songs can stand with the best. This flows so nicely into the rock oriented sound when it does arrive and everything just fits together nicely. This is an album you should own, so you can see that it is possible. Even in the rock oriented music, you still get a lot of brass (check out "Call On Me", "Woman Don't Want to Love Me" and "Hanky Panky". On the other side, you even get contemporary/experimental jazz on "Devil's Sweet" and "Italian from New York", and a more accessible jazz in "Aire" and "Mongonucleosis" which even corporates a very danceable Latin flair.

By all means, this one is essential. Almost perfect in every way and completely enjoyable. 5 strong stars!

 Chicago VI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.53 | 61 ratings

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Chicago VI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Chicago V was pretty much standard fare, but Chicago VI would even lean more towards radio friendly music and you can tell that the songs were trying really hard to be poppy already. The band was not really ready for radio because most of the songs on here sound like poor attempts to make pop music. The guitar is pushed to the background and so are the horns on this one. It is sad to have to say that the best songs on the album were the most popular ones, which is kind of odd because they also have the biggest jazz leanings (which isn't much, but at least it's there). The other songs have taken on a very mellow sound. People were starting to worry that their band had sold out for good. But after two big backward steps, Chicago was about to make a huge step forward again in their next album. For now, this one is pretty boring. I can only pull 2 stars out for this one. It's a shame after the amazing debut album Chicago Transit Authority and it's excellent follow up, Chicago II.
 Chicago V by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.28 | 75 ratings

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Chicago V
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars With this being the fifth Chicago release and their first single album, Chicago started to mellow out a bit. They were pulling back on their jazziness to make room for more radio friendly albums. The signature brass sound is still there, just in smaller doses and the experimentation is down to a bare minimum. In fact, the only really good song on this one is Dialogue parts 1 and 2. The rest of the album is standard fare. But this is what really started churning in the money from the singles that would start coming over the air waves. In this album, you also still have some political statements to be made, but you also see the lyrics starting to lean towards the standard fare and the songs starting to have shorter durations of less than 5 minutes each. The prog is mostly missing on this album, so don't expect to find a lot of it here. It's good, but only in a standard kind of way. Nothing really essential here and the only outstanding track is the one I previously mentioned. 3 stars. Don't worry though, things would get better again before it got worse.
 The Chicago Transit Authority by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.05 | 163 ratings

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The Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Jimi Hendrix once told Chicago saxophonist Walter Parazaider as they were starting out as a band called "The Big Six" that "your horn players are like one set of lungs and your guitar player is better than me." With a compliment like that, you would think your confidence would be so bit that you would release a double album for your debut release. So they did. Not only that, but they named themselves after the mass transit system in Chicago, IL also known as Chicago Transit Authority. That's the name they were known by on their first double album. And what a debut album it is.

Hard to believe that this is the same band that would churn out hit after hit almost a decade later. They would become an assembly line of pop later, but in the early years, here was a band that was influential and would make their mark in rock/jazz fusion and inspire many bands and artists to follow. This album would be a huge hit. With songs like "Beginnings", "South California Purples," "Listen", and "Free Form Guitar", Chicago would establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the music world. The playing is tight, the production is on par, the musicianship is awesome, everything is in it's right place and a regular horn section would be placed into a major superband and remain there as part of their signature sound for all time.

This album is probably a little more consistently rocking than their other albums where the band would expand into other styles, usually with believability and finesse. You get blues, rock, jazz, psychedelia all in a debut album, and it is all well done. Even though this one is great, the follow up to this album, yet another double album, would be even better. So many reviewers have already talked about the songs here, just suffice it to say that this is a debut album that is essential to prog collections because of the excellent use of rock/jazz fusion in a way that would be appealing to those who would never touch jazz music with a 50 foot pole.

After getting in trouble with the real Chicago Transit Authority, the band's name was shortened to Chicago and a logo was made with inspiration taken from the Coca-Cola trademark. Speaking of trademark, this is the first band that I can think of that had their name and logo trademarked.

Anyway, if you only know Chicago from their top 40 MOR hits, you need to listen to this. Absolutely essential. 5 stars.

 Chicago III by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.60 | 82 ratings

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Chicago III
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the huge success of the debut album Chicago Transit Authority and the amazing follow up Chicago II, it looked like Chicago was heading for making some pretty amazing music. I've always felt that their second album was a masterpiece and it was a big influence for me to explore progressive rock because I loved the long epics and multi-part suites on that second album. It took several years to finally get my hands on Chicago III. For some reason, I always had a hard time finding it. It looked as if it would be another one that I would love what with more epics and suites. What a let down it turned out to be, and you might blame that on the expectations I had, but I've tried so hard to love this album and it just doesn't work for me. It isn't as consistently good and too many of the compositions seem to be trying way to hard to be a part of a worthy successor to "II".

Now, there are some great gems here, 3 of which are in the Travel Suite: "Flight 602", "Free" and "Happy Because I'm Going Home". The others are "Mother" and "Lowdown". The other songs just don't live up to the greatness of the previous 2 albums. The thing that turns me off so much is it is trying too hard to be a copy of the second album and it fails more than it succeeds. In fact, as much as I detest the Chicago era when they were hit machines and working for the corporate man, I find the "Hour in the Shower" suite to be the most irritating and awful songs Chicago ever recorded. Though "Elegy" shows some promise throughout it's track, it just doesn't stand out like anything on the first or second albums.

I'm not one of those that think that there weren't any good albums after the second though. I actually consider the gargantuan "Live at Carnegie Hall", and VII, VIII and X great albums too. After that, forget it. Anyway, as far as this album, I can only rate it as being good but not essential. There just isn't much as far as groundbreaking material, too much of a copy from before and not a very good copy either. 3 stars.

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