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CHICAGO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Chicago biography
Founded in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1967 - Still active as of 2017

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 Angeles 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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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)

4.08 | 233 ratings
The Chicago Transit Authority
1969
4.18 | 218 ratings
Chicago [Aka: Chicago II]
1970
3.61 | 111 ratings
Chicago III
1971
3.35 | 99 ratings
Chicago V
1972
2.57 | 77 ratings
Chicago VI
1973
4.03 | 104 ratings
Chicago VII
1974
2.96 | 62 ratings
Chicago VIII
1975
3.03 | 70 ratings
Chicago X
1976
2.89 | 63 ratings
Chicago XI
1977
2.10 | 49 ratings
Hot Streets
1978
1.71 | 40 ratings
Chicago 13
1979
1.77 | 35 ratings
Chicago XIV
1980
2.41 | 46 ratings
Chicago 16
1982
2.65 | 52 ratings
Chicago 17
1984
2.57 | 40 ratings
Chicago 18
1986
2.48 | 27 ratings
Chicago 19
1988
1.52 | 30 ratings
Twenty 1
1991
3.59 | 23 ratings
Night & Day - Big Band
1995
2.64 | 14 ratings
Chicago 25 [Aka: The Christmas Album]
1998
2.29 | 23 ratings
Chicago XXX
2006
3.71 | 37 ratings
XXXII - Stone Of Sisyphus
2008
2.38 | 8 ratings
Chicago XXXIII - O Christmas Three
2010
2.63 | 8 ratings
The Nashville Sessions
2013
3.15 | 25 ratings
Now - Chicago XXXVI
2014

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

4.07 | 52 ratings
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
1971
3.95 | 29 ratings
Live in Japan
1972
3.13 | 5 ratings
Beginnings (In Concert)
1978
4.04 | 10 ratings
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album
1999
3.57 | 7 ratings
Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75
2011

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

4.05 | 4 ratings
Soundstage Presents Chicago
2004
4.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago
2005

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

3.54 | 29 ratings
Chicago IX - Greatest Hits
1975
2.26 | 8 ratings
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Love Songs
1982
1.32 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits 1982-1989
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago
1989
2.88 | 8 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
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Chicago Story: Complete Greatest Hits
2002
3.09 | 8 ratings
The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning
2002
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Box
2003
2.86 | 5 ratings
Love Songs (2005)
2005
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Chicago
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Collector's Edition
2009
5.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago Quadio
2016

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

4.83 | 6 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
3.67 | 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
3.80 | 5 ratings
Feelin' Stronger Every Day
1973
3.75 | 4 ratings
Just You 'N' Me / Critic's Choice
1973
3.75 | 4 ratings
Call On Me
1974
3.50 | 4 ratings
Wishing You Were Here
1974
1.32 | 9 ratings
If You Leave Me Now
1976
2.40 | 5 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / If You Leave Me Now
1977
2.67 | 3 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / Takin' It On Uptown
1977
2.00 | 5 ratings
No Tell Lover / Take A Chance
1979
2.00 | 2 ratings
Street Player
1979

CHICAGO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Chicago 18 by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.57 | 40 ratings

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Chicago 18
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Having lost Peter Cetera, proved to be more challenging than expected as at this stage of career, no other band member could compete with his compositions. Lamm was the closest one, then Champlin. No wonder they found a singer that had a similar voice to Cetera but failed in other music qualities.

Apart from 1-2 songs, it's quite a mediocre album, relying on the 80's sound with minimal horns, heavy synths and poor maybe uninspired songwriting. For me, it is their weakest album until its release in 1986 and regret buying it. The flawed cover of their own cover says it all. Don't waste your time here.

 Chicago 17 by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.65 | 52 ratings

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Chicago 17
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The peak of Chicago popularitu and thankfully also their best album of the 80's. Synths, which are all over the place, are very tasty and that has become the main component followed by the guitar and some horns in the background. Not sure how the three original horn players were happy about that. Cetera shows great singing and melodies are great without sounding too slick. Production work is top notch, arrangements too. In terms of music complexity, it is below the previous albums. "Remember the feeling" and "You're the inspiration" are top ballads from the Chicago repertoire even if dominated by synths which is not typical for Chicago.

Not really anything for the old fans apart from the vocals but pop/rock lovers with love this a lot.

 Chicago 16 by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.41 | 46 ratings

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Chicago 16
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The transformation of Chicago to the new-wave and 80's begun with the new producer and change of their sound. Music ideas are quite good in general, drums sound quite different and synths compete with more subdued horns.

Compositions are generally medium to strong and even though there's less space for jazz than ever, there are still moments when horns take over. The best contrast is on the strong "Hard to say I'm sorry" which has the perfect (for the year 1982) instrumental workout wher etha lads finally shine a bit. Synths are contementary without taking over. Pop highlights include "Love me tomorrow" and "Rescue me".

However, for most orthodox fans, this is a turning point where things were getting way too streamlined.

 Chicago XIV by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.77 | 35 ratings

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Chicago XIV
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Much stronger that the previous two and even better than the previous 3 albums, Chicago reached the first bottom in 1979 to make a small comeback. Disco elements are gone and solid musicianship is on display. The opener "Manipulation" is one of the best openers of the recent albums - energetic and virtuosic - keyboards, horns. The ballads are pretty good and sung by Cetera, I like "Song for you" in particular.

"Hold on" is one of their best hard-rocking numbers, I like the edgy voice by Cetera, especially around the mid section.

The record fares well even in the course of time.

 Chicago 13 by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1979
1.71 | 40 ratings

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Chicago 13
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

1 stars 13 certainly wasn't the lucky number for Chicago but not exactly a disaster either. The disco fashion was raving and Chicago decided to embrace it with all they have. The first track "Street player" says it all - very dated and commercial track although a good melody and horn arrangements saving it from being a complete flop. For disco lovers - hit on the nail!

"Mama take" is one of the more late 70's Chicago songs without being too dated now. Hard rock is represented by "Must have been crazy" and even "Window dreamin'" with pretty convincing guitar. "Paradise Alley" is a filler, no single thing to praise here. "Aloha mama" seems like a nostalgia track and successfully escapes disco. "Loser with a broken heart" is the ballad of this album, soaring melody and organ in the background.

Not enough for a band of such calibre.

 Hot Streets by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.10 | 49 ratings

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Hot Streets
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The album can arguably divide listeners among those who like the liveliness and friendliness of the record and those who complain about listening to non-ambitious music by seasoned musicians with more potential. After the original guitar player's death, we have a new replacement who shows himself in the good light with some delicious guitar licks but never overshadowing the original members.

Cetera has now become the most prolific singer contributing to radio friendliness.

The good hits are "No tell lover" or "The greatest love" that have the contemporary beat but still pretty good horns. "Little Miss Lovin'" is a surprising choice given the new guitar player - it rocks harder than usual.

The highlights for more ambitious listeners is the technical "Hot streets" where all players exceed their usual standard on the record. Also the drummer sets a great non-regular rhythm and fill-ins. But also "Take a chance" is pretty good - tasty guitar and percussions/drums pleasing.

Chicago still have something to offer at this point.

 Chicago XI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.89 | 63 ratings

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Chicago XI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The last strong Chicago album of the 70's. Strong not meaning being jazz-rock or progressive but having enough music craftmanship for pop/rock tunes and executing them nicely. Some traces of funk thrown in like "Mississippi delta blues" compensated by hard-jazz-rock instrumental section."Baby what a big surprise" is a simple but effective ballad putting Cetera's vocal to the front.

"Take me back to Chicago" is a pop-rock song but has a prog-rock exercise a la late Genesis (listen to the drums and synth solo) and as usual marvellous horn arrangements. Noteworthy are instrumental tracks(after a long time): "The inner strugles of a man" and partly "Prelude" have a classical music stamp.

"Little one" has a nice vocal by Kath, soulful and one of his best.

 Chicago VIII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.96 | 62 ratings

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Chicago VIII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Taking a much more lightweight approach, this release feels like a breeze of air, relaxing music. The compositions are catchy and quite good although only 10% can be classified as jazz-rock or fusion. This is mostly a melodic soft rock with elements of funk, jazz soul, pop and even hard rock (Hideaway) with great guitar. Another standout is the promisingly titled "Brand new love affair pt.1 & 2" clocking at only 4 minutes but showing a great variety between jazz-rock to swinging rock. "Oh thank you good spirit" has a more focused songwriting.

Other tracks are OK but not developed/extended to the scope to keep the lasting impression. It was my first CD by Chicago I bought while still a teenager and I was quite impressed at that time. Nowadays I consider it an average Chicago album. 2.5 stars

 Chicago VII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.03 | 104 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The last swan - progressive and experimental release by Chicago. They must have been embarassed by the too poppy and straightforward previous release at the peak of fusion wave with their potential not utilised.

Not only we have an absolutely stunning first modern jazz part that bears traced of jazz-fusion, we also have quite good pop soft-rock quality songs in the second half.

The instrumental part is well constructed, with a lot of air, enough time to develop. "The prelude to Aire" is a fine exotic ouverture switching to a delicate mellow jazz "Aire" with dominating brass and guitar section. The guitar is at its finest when soloing. The rhythm section is tight and supporting the flow. "Devil's sweet" is a 10- minute packed piece with Canterbury and fusion moments. Sleepy beginning with saxophone/trombone and guitar switches to a nervous percussion/drum and a perfect experimental intensive battle with keyboard and excellent bass lines. This is the maximum depth to which Chicago explored fusion. The remaining two instrumental tracks are easier but still firmly in jazz.

Then come more streamlined songs. "Life Saver" has a very melodic almost anthemic brass lines. Easy jazz- pop tracks are represented by "Happy Man" or "Song of the evergreens". We have one more instrumental, very catchy "Mongonucleosis" - sounds like Chicago.

"Wishing you were here" is a melancholic ballad, so much rooted in pop that even brass instruments are non- present. The vocals and acoustic guitar make up for it. "Call on me" is a fine upbeat song with perfect brass arrangements. "Skinny boy" could easily be released by any funk band of that period.

Pretty solid album.

 Chicago VI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.57 | 77 ratings

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Chicago VI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars A massive withdrawal from epic albums to short commercial more melody-driven songwriting.

The first song is quite good despite simplified composition. Just you'n'me is a disaster for most die-hard Chicago fans, so straightforward and limited with brass section - a shame for 1973 which was one of the most fruitful for fusion and prog rock bands. Short saxophone solo saves it. In general, jazz-rock elements are subdued in favour of accessibility and short songs.

There are still good moments because these are mature musicians. But I would wish for more instrumental moments and more experiments.

It seems like the weakest Chicago album of the first half of the 70's.

Go for the next or any previous album.

Thanks to easy money for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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