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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.

Chicago official website

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Buy CHICAGO Music


The Very Best of Chicago: Only the BeginningThe Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning
Rhino 2002
Audio CD$10.56
$5.87 (used)
Chicago's Greatest HitsChicago's Greatest Hits
Rhino 2005
Audio CD$3.52
$2.91 (used)
"Now" - Chicago Xxxvi
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2014
Audio CD$6.85
$6.99 (used)
Chicago Transit AuthorityChicago Transit Authority
Rhino 2002
Audio CD$3.04
$2.04 (used)
Chicago II (Repackaged)Chicago II (Repackaged)
Rhino Records 2002
Audio CD$3.81
$3.01 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Chicago Mass Choir - Ultimate Chicago Mass Choir [CD New] US $9.55 Buy It Now 31m 11s
Junior Wells & Chicago Blues - Coming At You [CD New] US $10.62 Buy It Now 33m 13s
Boulez/Chicago Symphony Orch. - Symphony 9 [CD New] US $11.92 Buy It Now 33m 13s
JIM McPARTLAND'S CHICAGO ROMPERS+PAUL BARBARIN'S NEW ORLEANS STOMPERS DIXIELAND US $12.99 Buy It Now 34m 54s
CHICAGO - I'M A MAN (PROMO SLEEVE) - ORIGINAL 1969 7" VINYL SINGLE - VG/GOOD US $21.55 Buy It Now 35m 40s
CHICAGO .2 LP SET. NEAR MINT VINYL SWITH BOOKLET INSERT US $4.95 [0 bids]
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44m 33s
HISTORIC ORGANS OF CHICAGO / VARIOUS NEW CD US $54.38 Buy It Now 54m 15s
Chicago/ Twenty 1... US $14.99 Buy It Now 54m 52s
REV. GERALD THOMPSON - LIVE IN CHICAGO * [REV. GERALD THOMPSON] [CD] [1 - NEW CD US $12.89 Buy It Now 59m 34s
THE EL DORADOS - CHICAGO STREET CORNER BLUES & RHYTHM - NEW CD US $12.73 Buy It Now 1h
The CHENEY TALKING MACHINE Company, 12 Record Set, 1903-1908 Chicago, IL US $35.00 [0 bids]
1h 23m
CHICAGO-4 LP'S-CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY-2 EYE-HOT STREETS17-GREATEST HITS VOL 2 US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 24m
FRITZ REINER Chicago Symphony Orch. Strauss Waltz MINT DISC CD FREE U.S SHIPPING US $3.75 Buy It Now 1h 27m
1970'S Newspaper Advert 10x7 Chicago : Chicago VIII Album US $11.22 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Georg Solti - Bela Bartok: Music For Strings Percuss US $13.62 Buy It Now 1h 28m
FRANK SINATRA - Gold, Greatest Hits, Best of, Chicago, Nice N Easy, All The Way US $3.00 [0 bids]
US $4.00 Buy It Now
1h 28m
EDDIE BALLANTINE'S BAND-CHICAGO BEARS ORIGINAL FIGHT... US $35.99 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Art of the State by Quatre Tete (CD, Jan-2009, Chicago Independent) PROMO US $1.50 [0 bids]
US $5.00 Buy It Now
1h 32m
Chicago Pop Music, Album #PC 33900, Columbia Records, 1975, Exc. Condition US $4.50 [0 bids]
US $5.85 Buy It Now
1h 33m
TAYLOR KOKO - LIVE FROM CHICAGO:AN AUDIENCE - ALCD4754 US $18.91 Buy It Now 1h 37m
Chicago 17 1984 QUIEX Audiophile 1st Press VG ULTRASONIC CLEANED US $16.00 Buy It Now 1h 37m
1970'S Newspaper Advert 8x12 Genesis : Sweet Home Chicago box set US $12.82 Buy It Now 1h 38m
BILL HALEY - LATER ALLIGATOR (CD, 1994, CHICAGO MUSIC) *BRAND NEW! - 9 TRACKS US $1.75 Buy It Now 1h 46m
Chicago(7" Vinyl)Hard Habit To Break-Warner-W9214-Ex/Ex US $4.79 Buy It Now 1h 57m
78 rpm-CHUCK FOSTER I used to work in Chicago/Gotta get me someone to love US $1.99 [0 bids]
1h 58m
Kenny Wayne Shepherd- Live! In Chicago - RR77422 US $17.74 Buy It Now 1h 59m
MICHAEL POSS,NEW CD Single,Christmas in Chicago US $1.99 Buy It Now 1h 59m
Chicago Symphony Orchestra(Vinyl LP)The Wonderful Waltzes Of Tchaikovsky-RCA Cam US $15.79 Buy It Now 2h
Acoustic Chicago US $3.99 Buy It Now 2h
Fred Holstein Chicago and Other Ports 1977 Stereo LP VG++ w insert US $15.99 Buy It Now 2h 3m
LOT of (8) CHICAGO vinyl LP's / VERY GOOD COND. US $49.99 Buy It Now 2h 5m
The House Girl-Bessie Smith 12"-FARLEY JACKMASTER FUNK-CHICAGO HOUSE RARITY!!!!! US $11.20 Buy It Now 2h 8m
CHICAGO 'HARD HABIT TO BREAK' UK PICTURE SLEEVE 7" SINGLE #2 US $1.59 Buy It Now 2h 10m
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CHICAGO 'HARD HABIT TO BREAK' US IMPORT 7" SINGLE US $3.19 Buy It Now 2h 10m
CHICAGO 'IF SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL' US IMPORT 7" SINGLE US $3.19 Buy It Now 2h 10m
CHICAGO 'HARD TO SAY I'M SORRY' UK 7" SINGLE #3 US $1.59 Buy It Now 2h 10m
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CHICAGO 'HARD HABIT TO BREAK' UK 7" SINGLE US $2.39 Buy It Now 2h 10m
CHICAGO 'ANOTHER RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK CITY' UK 7" SINGLE PROMO COPY US $4.79 Buy It Now 2h 10m
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Chicago - Chicago - NM US $18.99 [0 bids]
2h 13m
THE ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO-THE THIRD DECADE-JAPAN SHM-CD Ltd/Ed D20 US $20.99 Buy It Now 2h 17m
Chicago(Vinyl LP Gatefold)Wilmette Evanston-CBS-CBS 86031-US-Ex/Ex US $19.99 Buy It Now 2h 19m
Chicago - Greatest Hits Vol. 2 - NM US $15.99 [0 bids]
2h 21m
TCHAIKOVSKY:SYMPHONY NO.6"PATHETIQUE"/SOLTI/CHICAGO SYMPHONY~V.RARE JAP PROMO CD US $48.05 Buy It Now 2h 29m
Live At The Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 1981 0801213055395, Vinyl Album, NEW US $57.09 Buy It Now 2h 31m
33 RPM RECORD/10) CHICAGO ( 2 RECORD SET ) US $4.99 [0 bids]
2h 33m
Pathetique / Beethoven, Tchaikovsky / Daniel Barenboim Piano Conductor Chicago O US $5.29 Buy It Now 2h 37m
CHICAGO XI LP 1977 34860 US $8.00 Buy It Now 2h 38m
Cliff Jordan & John Gilmore ?- Blowing In From Chicago - Blue Note MICROGROOVE US $35.88 [10 bids]
2h 44m
Chicago 2 record set 1970 Columbia C2 30110 33 RPM Rock 12" good cond US $4.00 [0 bids]
2h 49m
Chicago 2 record set 1970 Columbia KGP 24 33 RPM Rock 12" good cond 25 or 6 to 4 US $4.00 [0 bids]
2h 50m
CHICAGO 16, CASSETTE TAPE US $16.77 Buy It Now 2h 50m
CHICAGO CASSETTE TAPE US $11.03 Buy It Now 2h 50m
SONIC YOUTH - Hold That Tiger - RARE CD - 10.14.87 Chicago US $22.00 Buy It Now 2h 51m
THE RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO IN CHICAGO #LP671 VG++/EX ARGO RECORDS US $22.99 Buy It Now 2h 51m
CHICAGO CHICAGO II FACTORY Sealed AUDIOPHILE 2 LP SET OUT OF PRINT + HITS LP US $99.99 Buy It Now 2h 53m
CHICAGO HOT STREETS LP ORIG '78 COLUMBIA POP CLASSIC ROCK R&B PETER CETERA NM- US $3.99 [0 bids]
US $5.99 Buy It Now
2h 57m
CD ESSENTIAL BLUES CHICAGO STYLE BB KING MUDDY WATERS US $12.80 Buy It Now 3h 7m
Tschaikowsky* - Chicago Symphony Orchestra*, Barenboim ?- Ouverture "1812 MINT US $9.60 Buy It Now 3h 8m
Chicago - The Heart Of Chicago (1994 CD Album) 15 Trax. Pop/Jazz/Easy Listening US $1.59 [0 bids]
3h 8m
CHICAGO'S KEYS! PROMO COPY! Robert Lamm "Skinny Boy" 1974 Rock LP, VG+, Vinyl US $15.50 Buy It Now 3h 11m
Mahler - Symphony No 3 - New & Sealed - Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Haitink US $4.79 [4 bids]
3h 16m
Triplett Twins Weekend Madness Funk Soul rare Chicago 12" US $8.81 [0 bids]
3h 17m
CHICAGO LOOK AWAY / I DON'T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE REPRISE NM 45 VINYL 7 US $17.99 Buy It Now 3h 17m
Chicago: Baby, What A Big Surprise / Takin' It On Uptown 45 NM 3-10620 1977 HEAR US $9.00 Buy It Now 3h 21m
SHOCK STARS - END OF CHICAGO 12" RECORD / VINYL - MENAGE MUSIC - MEN-005 US $5.59 Buy It Now 3h 25m
Chicago - V ( 5 ) Japan only 5.1 hybrid SACD JAPAN CD ALBUM NEW AND SEALED US $64.07 Buy It Now 3h 26m
Chicago Blues-The (R)Evolution Continue CD NEW US $20.88 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Blind John Davis, Sunnyland...-Heavy Timbre Chicago Boogie Piano CD NEW US $20.46 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Barrelhouse Chuck, Detroit ...-8 Hands on 88 Keys Chicago Blues Pian... CD NEW US $20.46 Buy It Now 3h 27m
VARIOUS-CHICAGO BLUES: A LIVING HISTORY CD NEW US $20.39 Buy It Now 3h 27m
DAVIS,KATHERINE & CHICAGO B...-ROCK THIS HOUSE: LIVE CD NEW US $16.28 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Rhythm Control 12" My House on Catch A Beat Rare Chicago House LP US $17.45 Buy It Now 3h 31m
CHICAGO A MINI COLLECTION OF 6 ORIGINAL SINGLES FROM CHICAGO US $5.61 Buy It Now 3h 36m
Les Miserables CD - New & Sealed - 13 selected tracks - Chicago Musical Revue!!! US $7.99 Buy It Now 3h 37m
Chicago 17-1984 rare half target/golden series germany cd"like new" US $20.00 Buy It Now 3h 38m
Blues From Chicago Cherry Red Records 1973 CR-5104 Goldberg Mandel Musselwhite US $24.90 Buy It Now 3h 38m
VINYL LP - CHICAGO - CHICAGO X - 86010 US $16.01 Buy It Now 3h 43m
CHICAGO - CHICAGO 13 (LP) US $8.00 Buy It Now 3h 43m
Faces of Emotion (F.O.E.) "Hot Love" late 1980s Chicago Hard Rock SEALED +SCARCE US $18.43 Buy It Now 3h 43m
Less Than Jake - Live From Chicago Promo 7" US $1.50 [4 bids]
3h 44m
FRANK SINATRA Witchraft / Chicago STAR LINE CAPITOL RECORDS NEW 45 US $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 47m
Chicago, Colour My World, Make Me Smile, Columbia 4S-45127 US $4.00 Buy It Now 3h 47m
OTIS RUSH - WEST CHICAGO BLUES [DIGIPAK] * - NEW CD US $9.88 Buy It Now 3h 53m
CHICAGO - CHICAGO VI (LP) US $8.00 Buy It Now 3h 54m
ERIC ALEXANDER**CHICAGO FIRE**CD US $19.50 Buy It Now 3h 54m
New Duncan Imperials, Tiny Tim, Live in Chicago Audio CD US $8.89 [0 bids]
3h 58m
LOT OF 5 CHICAGO RECORDS, +4 BIG POSTERS, SEE LIST,NO RESERVE, US $4.99 [0 bids]
3h 58m
Chicago - Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits (NEW 12" VINYL LP) US $28.82 Buy It Now 3h 59m
CHICAGO - CHICAGO X (LP) US $8.00 Buy It Now 4h
Chicago(7" Vinyl P/S)Hard To Say I'm Sorry-Wea-K 79301-UK-VG+/NM US $11.99 Buy It Now 4h 2m

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CHICAGO shows & tickets


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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)

3.97 | 121 ratings
The Chicago Transit Authority
1969
4.12 | 103 ratings
Chicago (aka Chicago II)
1970
3.64 | 61 ratings
Chicago III
1971
3.24 | 54 ratings
Chicago V
1972
2.52 | 44 ratings
Chicago VI
1973
3.91 | 56 ratings
Chicago VII
1974
2.72 | 34 ratings
Chicago VIII
1975
2.84 | 39 ratings
Chicago X
1976
2.92 | 37 ratings
Chicago XI
1977
2.06 | 28 ratings
Hot Streets
1978
1.75 | 26 ratings
Chicago 13
1979
1.73 | 20 ratings
Chicago XIV
1980
2.45 | 24 ratings
Chicago 16
1982
2.55 | 27 ratings
Chicago 17
1984
2.62 | 22 ratings
Chicago 18
1986
2.50 | 16 ratings
Chicago 19
1988
1.43 | 19 ratings
Twenty 1
1991
3.88 | 13 ratings
Night and Day: Big-Band
1995
2.85 | 7 ratings
Chicago 25 - The Christmas Album / What's It Gonna Be Santa
1998
2.32 | 15 ratings
Chicago XXX
2006
3.81 | 21 ratings
Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII)
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chicago XXXV: The Nashville Sessions
2013
3.00 | 5 ratings
Chicago XXXVI: Now
2014

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

4.01 | 29 ratings
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
1971
4.05 | 16 ratings
Live in Japan
1972
3.04 | 5 ratings
Beginnings (In Concert)
1978
4.00 | 8 ratings
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album
1999
3.00 | 2 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)

3.51 | 20 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
4.50 | 2 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)

4.75 | 4 ratings
I'm A Man
1969
4.80 | 5 ratings
25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here
1970
4.25 | 4 ratings
Make Me Smile / Colour My World
1970
3.00 | 2 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
3.50 | 4 ratings
Feelin' Stronger Every Day
1973
3.50 | 2 ratings
Just You 'N' Me / Critic's Choice
1973
3.00 | 2 ratings
Call On Me
1974
3.67 | 3 ratings
Wishing You Were Here
1974
1.18 | 6 ratings
If You Leave Me Now
1976
2.00 | 3 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / If You Leave Me Now
1977
1.00 | 1 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / Takin' It On Uptown
1977
1.00 | 3 ratings
No Tell Lover / Take A Chance
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Street Player
1979

CHICAGO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Chicago XXXVI: Now by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 5 ratings

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Chicago XXXVI: Now
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

3 stars We discover pieces of eternity all the time and now I have discovered Chicago! They are from the big town Chicago in the United States and they has been playing and recording since 1969 which makes them musical veterans. For this forum htey are famous for their earlier jazz rock but even today they have apparently kept something of their genuineness. Prog Archives lists "Chicago XXXVI:Now" as their twentyfourth studio album but English Wikipedia claims it's their twentythird. Well it doesn't matter. You can guess it is their thirtysixth one!

The record released this year are very checkered in black and white boxes with the traditional Chicago emblem in the middle. The musicians present here are Robert Lamm, Walter Parazaider, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Jason Scheff, Keith Howland, Tris Imboden, Lou Pardini and Walfredo Reyes Junior and together they play a lot of instruments such as keyboards, horns, saxophones, trumpets, flugelhorns, trombones, basses, guitars, pianos, drums, organ, vocals and percussionss. They also use a lot of guest musicians.

The music is amazingly produced and the quality is indisputable. Then is it a matter of taste, as usual with music and art. Chicago plays a grown up rock with jazz and brass ingredients and it's very American. The title track "Now" (8/10) is a wonderful example of their musicality. With horns and different vocal parts. You feel you experience the American seventies or eighties in music. That is a feeling you keep during the whle listening session. "America" is a love song to the land or the continent. it is full of clichÚs and buzzwords but nevertheless it's very pleasant(7/10). "Something's coming I know"(7/10) is the third of the album's best songs and I'd call it very enjoyable. The other songs are well composed and performed and give you something of everything: great musicianship, beautiful instruments and harmonies.

The record is in a few words nice and undemanding. Without being pretentious or too artistic Chicago here has created intelligent pop music. I'd call this record good but not essential. It give's me inspiration to go backwords and explore this band further. Three solid stars! Best song: "Now"

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 Live in Japan by CHICAGO album cover Live, 1972
4.05 | 16 ratings

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Live in Japan
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, here I go again, ranting about my distaste of live albums. "Distaste" might be a bit harsh, really. Let's just say I do not think that they are essential part of my collection. Let's just leave it at that. I would like to add, though, that some live albums really are wonderful. This one is, for sure.

Chicago is a band i grew up with. My father loved them and played their albums on occasion. When I say "their albums" I mean some of the later stuff, when the music grew a bit more sophisticated and pop oriented, although with a strong jazz-rock feel to it. I, for one, have always hailed their second album as their greatest achievement. I would even call that album the greatest jazz-rock album of all time. It is that good. Apart from that, Chicago was between 1969-1972 a real force to be reckoned with, playing adventurous and hard jazz-rock wth a real gritty and raw edge. They were phenomenal.

This live album really sounds like they did in the studio, albeit a bit more free flowing and loose. It is impossible to reproduce every single aspect of a studio recording, so here they play the songs with all the talent possible in a live setting, which in parts boils the material down to their bare necessities. It is really hard rocking stuff, capable of destroying a small country. The musicianship is extremely tight and I cannot be anything but amazed at the marvelous performance.

Favorite tracks are "State of the union", "Dialogue Pt. 1 & 2" and "25 or 6 to 4". These are amazing renditions. The remainder of the album is impressive as well. Too bad this album seems to be an anonymous one. It deserves to be listened to, no matter your feelings towards live albums.

No live album is essential in my book, except for Rick Wakeman's "Journey to the centre of the Earth" which really is more than a live album. This one, however, lifts my spirits and is a great testimony to one of the greatest jazz rock bands of all time and that band's most progressive and impressive period. Top stuff.

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 The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning by CHICAGO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
3.16 | 6 ratings

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The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A rarity - a "best of" worth owning

Generally I agree with Sheavy that "best of" compilations for progressive rock bands are a joke. They are neither satisfying nor able to represent bands with long discogs of lengthy songs. This could also be the case for Chicago for many fans but not this one. I was a never a fan of Chicago's albums or their more serious work that got them on this site. As a young kid in the 70s Chicago for me were a "hits" band. They were on pop radio and album rock radio constantly and thus their singles became part of the soundtrack of my youth. And they wrote such excellent, memorable pop music. Some people find their singles cheesy but I really don't. I think they had a unique sound and were always high quality. As such I'd been looking for some time for a good collection of their popular songs. This is the best one I've found. Without getting into box sets and big dollars, "Only the Beginning" manages to collect all of the songs I wanted to have on two discs.

Disc one covers the early 70s and features all of their best known songs from the first album through one my favorite obscurities "If you leave me now", which brings me right back to being a little kid with my transistor radio. Disc two begins with two more of my favorite gems "Old Days" and "Baby what a big surprise", which again, are period markers for someone my age. Disc two soon takes a sharp turn into their hugely successful 80s era when the band hit their second boom in popularity. All of those MTV era hits are there such as "Stay the Night", "Hard habit to break", and "Along comes a woman." I stopped paying attention by this point and so the late 80s tracks that finish disc two mean little to me. But for the first disc and one-half of the second, this collection fit the bill perfectly. If you are a "hits" type fan of Chicago as I am, take a look at the track list and see if this doesn't cover it nicely for you. If you're a fan of their longer jams and full albums then obviously you have no need for this.

Comes with a nice and informative booklet, with bio and detailed credits.

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 Chicago (aka Chicago  II) by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.12 | 103 ratings

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Chicago (aka Chicago II)
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Though best known for their slick jazz infused pop/rock later into their career, the first three albums (in particular) shows off a band hell bent on progressing music, beyond the realms and boundaries of common perception. The fusion of jazz and rock may not have been invented by Chicago but they did take it way past most of their contemporaries on this, their second album, fuzing brass rock, jazz rock or whatever you want to call it and adding not so small a dose of progressive elements. All that combined produced an album of extreme value and importance. I have called it THE jazz rock album of all time and I think i am in my right to do so. Simply because I am right.

I will not go into the album track by track but I will say this, the music on this album fuses together as with any great progressive album. This makes the experience somewhat otherworldly. It is like listening to an opera or any classical piece, whether it is made by Mozart or the prog greats. It is an amazing accomplishment.

The music in itself is a mix of jazz, rock, classical, brass, hard rock, prog and then some. Chicago produced an album of hard hitting, precise though not sterile, vibrant, progressive music which possibly left them gasping for air afterwards. They never sounded like this again. Never would the mighty Chicago produce anything as grand as this again. Every track oozes progressive jazz rock and the songs are in themselves gems. Combined the album is a crown worthy of royalty, littered with glistening jewels.

If you are searching for a progressive jazz rock album, look no further. This is all you need. Amazingly enough, considering their coming history. Chicago II is without a doubt worth every single star I give them.

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 Chicago VII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.91 | 56 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you've followed the history of the band Chicago, very few would argue that their more ''accepted'' albums came in their earlier career when they were a rock band with heavy influence from jazz, particularly their first two records. As the years drudged on, Chicago began drifting into safer writing territories, poppier songs that aimed to hit the Billboard and condensed albums. That last stat is saying something from the only rock band in history to have their first three studio albums doubles.

Then CHICAGO VII comes along and something funny happens; not only does the first half indulge in jazz, but the jazz is more fusion than they have ever done. And it's mostly instrumental to boot it all. ''Aire'' adds to the plethora of memorable horn quotes from Chicago's catalogue, but the progsters would rejoice in the fact that the majority of the number is in 7/8 time. ''Italian From New York'' (written about guest Laudir de Oliviera who would later officially join the band) channels what Herbie Hancock was doing with bleeping synths and made a simple jazz track out of it. And the jazz aficionados can eat their hearts out to the Coltrane-influenced ''Devil's Sweet''.

The second chunk of the album (all of the second LP and some bits of the first) falls into safer, chart-happy avenues that Chicago had been reaching for since V. Either the weight of the jazz tracks makes me hate these pop-rock tracks even less, or it might be that there are actually some great pop songs here that rival the first two albums. ''Wishing You Were Here'' is not one of those pleasant surprises; that balmy, Caribbean overtone makes me sick, and the guesting of the Wilson brothers from the Beach Boys isn't helping. Somehow, Terry Kath took that same style of music in ''Byblos'' and made THAT track a little better; maybe it's just Terry Kath, I don't know.

There's still a lot of worth here. Pankow's ''(I've Been) Searching For So Long'' sounds on the surface like the lamest slow dance number since ''Colour My World''. I don't know what gravitates me towards this song, but I actually can enjoy this. It helps that it segues straight into a Santana inspired instrumental ''Monognucleosis''. ''Women Don't Want To Love Me'' has a great funk groove to keep the listener off their chairs.

The real winner of this record is trumpeter Lee Loughnane. Up until now, he's never had a songwriting credit for Chicago, and his ''Call On Me'' was a pretty interesting top 20 single. He even sings on the best poppier song, ''Song of the Evergreens''. It's Kath's writing again, so that explain why it's good, but that cascading to a climax effect (the band singing ''snow'' a bunch of times) usually works magnanimously.

This is really the forgotten great Chicago album, and I would rank this second overall in great Chicago albums only trailing the debut. Yes, there are a few schmaltzy pop tracks (thank you Cetera) that sort of create a buzzkill, but there are many other great pop tracks that more than balance them out. Furthermore, the opening romp of jazz pieces is essential listening for any jazz fan, and even prog fans might want to try to stick their nose in this one.

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 Chicago VI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.52 | 44 ratings

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Chicago VI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The first nine Chicago albums all have their moments, some more than others. Whilst the first two, 1969's debut 'Chicago Transit Authority' and follow-up 'Chicago II', arguably showcase the group at both their most dynamic and experimental, latter albums would feature a different approach, with such seminal pop nuggets as 'If You Leave Me Now', as found on 'Chicago X', and this album's stirring ballad 'Feelin' Stronger Every Day' adding yet another dimension to Chicago's sound. 'Chicago VI' would be the outfit's second single-album after 'Chicago V', and, as illustrated, mark another step away from the 1960's influenced sound of their earlier material. Commercially, Chicago would now go through the roof, becoming one of the most popular American rock acts of the century, attracting a huge new fanbase uninterested in guitar solos and experimental jazz suites and slowly homogenising their sound as the 1980's approached. Whatever your feelings on their gradual change, there is no denying that despite the steady and impressive tide of slick hit singles being produced, their albums were now much less impressive for those fans who enjoyed the groups more esoteric early material. 'Chicago VI' is undoubtedly the weakest of their first seven albums - follow-up 'Chicago VI' would see a brief return to the style of their debut dusted with an even stronger jazz influence than usual - making for an uncharacteristically dull listen. The rather beautiful strains of 'Feelin Stronger Every Day' apart, this is an album with little that is new, and little that is exciting. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Chicago V by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.24 | 54 ratings

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Chicago V
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Somewhat incredibly the group's first single-disc release, 'Chicago V' had the difficult trick of following on from the mammoth four-disc set 'Chicago At Carnegie Hall' and the trio byzantine double-albums that preceded. So, it's no real surprise then to find that this 1972 album fails to live up to expectations. With the original line-up still in place 'Chicago V' is not, as some might suspect, the sound of a group in decline but instead the sound of a group heading slowly in a new direction. For the most, gone are the psychedelic Terry Kath guitar wig-outs that gave 'Chicago Transit Authority' and 'Chicago II' their impressive experimental edges, in comes simpler compositions, prettier melodies and the hit-making populist streak that would soon come - for better or worse - to characterize the group's career. However, that said, this is is still Chicago we're talking about. Yes, it's definitely less adventurous that its predecessors, yet there's still a strong selection of tunes on offer here, with such group classics as the soaring opener 'Hit By Varese', the two-part jazz-rock opus 'Dialogue' - a live favourite - and the breezy big band-themed ballad 'Saturday In The Park' standing out. One major point of interest: this is an album dominated by keyboardist-and-vocalist Robert Lamm who here pens eight out of the album's ten tracks. This, and the unusually short length does maybe hint towards an overall lack of available quality material, though whilst as a result of this 'Chicago V' may prove to be a minor work, this is still nevertheless a major group still more than capable of producing highly memorable music. Even Chicago's unessential albums have their gems, with 'Chicago V' a perfect example. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Chicago III by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 61 ratings

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Chicago III
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The last of Chicago's original trio of double-albums(another wouldn't be issued until 1974's 'Chicago VII'), this takes another small step towards the more commercially-driven sound of the group's hugely-successful later years, again blending complex jazz instrumentals with psych-tinged rock and poppy melodies. However, although the mixture proves less successful third time round, 'Chicago III' still has its fair share of excellent moments. There is a definite progression here from the raw energy and fuzzy experimental edges found on 'Chicago Transit Authority' to a smoother, less abrasive overall style, yet Chicago's sound was always rooted in the basic principles of popular jazz and blues, one of the major factors making up the group's widespread appeal. 'Chicago III' still features the classic original seven-man line-up, yet this time powerful rock odes such as the bluesy opener 'Sing A Mean Tune Kid' seem more polished. That said, this is still a challenging album, with - just like it's predecessor - three multi-part suites('Travel Suite', 'An Hour In The Shower' and 'Elegy') filling up a large chunk of the album. Whilst ultimately these pieces don't quite manage to chart the same dynamic heights so skilfully attained on 'Chicago II', tracks such as the positively eclectic 'What Else Can I Say?, which melds jazzy pop ballad beginnings into acid-licked rock 'n' roll and back again within the space of a few short minutes, does find Chicago successfully mining the spirit of their excellent debut. The brassy 'I Don't Want Your Money' attempts the same trick with less conviction, yet thankfully both the delightfully bouncy, keyboard-kissed 'Mother' and the closing sections of James Pankow's 'Elegy' showcase the classic Chicago style still very much in check. For some, this album would mark the end of Chicago's truly great period, yet talk of their demise being at this point is premature. There would be no 'Chicago IV' of course, the group instead releasing the mammoth four-disc set 'Chicago At Carnegie Hall', and both that album and its subsequent follow-up 'Chicago V' would find the group in a very healthy state. 'Chicago III' does however provide a kind of closure to the outfit's more experimental phase, and for that the album should be seen as an important release. Undoubtedly the first three Chicago albums are the most indispensable - and in that order - yet their 1970's output still features much that is impressive from one of the quintessential American rock groups. Not quite a classic then, but 'Chicago III' is still the work of masters. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Chicago (aka Chicago  II) by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.12 | 103 ratings

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Chicago (aka Chicago II)
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Considered by many to be the absolute highlight of Chicago's career, 'Chicago II' was, like its predecessor, a lengthy double-sided release that again mixed elements of jazz, pop, rock 'n' roll and psychedelia to impressive effect. Although the double-album format has, of course, seen mixed results over the years - some albums proved overblown and indulgent; others featured a dearth of quality material filling up the gaps - Chicago's were anything but, always a group with more than enough quality material to make the concept work. Both their 1969 debut 'Chicago Transit Authority' and this follow-up feature well over an hour of material with rarely a dull moment to be had, both albums showcasing Chicago at their most experimental. 'Chicago II' may well start in fairly mainstream territory with the upbeat 'Movin' In', yet the album is most notable for the three multi-part song suites - James Pankow's eight-minute 'Ballet For A Girl In Buchanon', the rather beautiful 'Memories Of Love' by Terry Kath and non-member Peter Matz and the strange, neo-classical strains of 'It Better End Soon' courtesy of Robert Lamm and Walter Parazaider - that take up almost half the running time. More interesting, however, is the addition of '25 On 6 To 4', a charging jazz-rock anthem that quickly became a fan favourite. Quoted by some as being 'deliberately mysterious', '25 On 6 To 4'describes in hazy fashion the effects of what seems to be a particularly memorable LSD trip, though the actual meaning of the lyrics has been the subject of great debate over the years. Whatever the view, '25 On 6 To 4' is an armour-plated Chicago classic and one of the group's rockiest songs, the placing of the song alongside the elegiac and delicate 'Memories Of Love' showcasing just what an eclectic album 'Chicago II' is. Whether it's a superior album to its predecessor is actually a moot point; both albums represent the very best of early Chicago. A technically-assured, complex and delightfully experimental blend of styles, this is progressive music in the truest sense of the word. A fantastic group, Chicago really were one of the finest of all American rock 'n' roll groups, this album a prime example. STEFAN TURNER, ANGEL, 2012

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 The Chicago Transit Authority by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.97 | 121 ratings

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The Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars So, this is where it all began. Issued under the unwieldy 'Chicago Transit Authority' moniker, Chicago's original release proved to be one of the first rock 'n' roll double-album debuts, marking a brave leap of faith both for the group and their label. It would, however, be a gamble that soon paid off. Although today the group are mainly known for issuing string of hit singles that includes such radio staples as 'If You Leave Me Now' and 'Feelin' Stronger Every Day', Chicago actually started out as a very different beast. Blending elements of jazz, blues and psychedelia and featuring a powerful brass section, the original seven-strong outfit's 1969 debut is in fact a surprisingly experimental album that covers a whole spectrum of sound and styles, an album that is as much a product of the 1960's as the likes of either Jefferson Airplane or Frank Zappa. Later albums would find Chicago softening their sound as their success grew, entering the realms of MOR pop as the decade neared its conclusion, yet during their initial burst of activity this was a group who constantly pushed and probed the musical envelope, creating music that was both accessible yet highly progressive. Both 'Chicago Transit Authority' and follow-up 'Chicago II' would be double-albums, showcasing the group's phenomenal song-writing and compositional abilities, whilst a trip to Carnegie Hall would see Chicago become one of the very first rock groups to take the stage at the hallowed venue, the results subsequently issued on the impressive quadruple live album 'Chicago At Carnegie Hall'. In the first five years of activity Chicago managed to produce an enormous volume of work, though of all their early albums it is their debut which finds them at their most inquisitive, 'Chicago Transit Authority' hosting an exuberant journey through four sides of what can be best described as electric brass-rock. The album features such group classics as the ballroom-spiced jazz-rock number 'Introduction', the joyous jazz-pop single 'Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is' and the lysergic psych-rock of both 'Freeform Guitar' and 'Southern California Purples', yet also finds time for jazzy instrumental numbers('Prologue'), fast-paced acid rock('Poem 58') and epic prog fusion workouts('Liberation'). A genuine melting-pot of ideas and styles, 'Chicago Transit Authority' ranks as Chicago's most individual release, laying the foundations of a fabulously-successful career. Whilst the 1980's would find a very different sounding Chicago in operation, virtually all the group's 1970's albums are worth exploring. However, this is Chicago at the rawest and toughest, blending the swagger of Led Zeppelin with the refined fusion pallette of Miles Davis and the funk-strut of Isaac Hayes. Its a fine album, a genuine classic and an example of just how good Chicago were in their heyday. STEFAN TURNER, ANGEL, 2012

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