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CHICAGO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Chicago picture
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.

CHICAGO Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy CHICAGO Music


The Very Best of Chicago: Only the BeginningThe Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning
Rhino Records 2002
$11.88
$2.08 (used)
Chicago Transit Authority (50th Anniversary Remix) (1CD)Chicago Transit Authority (50th Anniversary Remix) (1CD)
Rhino Records 2019
$13.40
The Best Of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition (2CD)The Best Of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition (2CD)
Rhino Records 2007
$9.90
$4.66 (used)
Chicago's Greatest HitsChicago's Greatest Hits
Rhino Records 2005
$5.13
$2.01 (used)
Greatest Hits 1982-1989 (Vinyl)Greatest Hits 1982-1989 (Vinyl)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$11.90
$17.83 (used)
Chicago Story: Complete Greatest HitsChicago Story: Complete Greatest Hits
Wea International 2004
$14.21
$7.43 (used)
Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)
Rhino Records 2017
$10.21
$26.17 (used)
The Studio Albums 1969-1978 (Vol. 1)(10CD)The Studio Albums 1969-1978 (Vol. 1)(10CD)
Box set
Rhino Records 2012
$24.12
$36.59 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
BERLIOR SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE SOLTI CHICAGO SYMPHONY DECCA JB135 VINYL LP USD $12.13 Buy It Now
ASD 3443 Shostakovitch Symphony no. 5 Andre Previn Chicago Symphony NM/EX Quad USD $12.13 Buy It Now
ASD 3443 ED1 Shostakovitch Symphony 5 Andre Previn Chicago Symphony NM/EX Quad USD $18.21 Buy It Now
CHET BAKER/BRADLEY YOUNG TRIO - CHET IN CHICAGO NEW CD USD $17.17 Buy It Now
SXL 6946 Bruckner Symphony No.6 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sir Georg Solti USD $30.36 Buy It Now
FALL OUT BOY: THE BOYS OF ZUMMER TOUR - LIVE IN CHICAGO USED - VERY GOOD DVD USD $3.29 Buy It Now
Magic Sam - West Side Soul - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
Johnny B. Moore - Troubled World - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
Johnny B. Moore - Live At Blue Chicago - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
James Wheeler - Ready! - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
TAIL DRAGGER - My Head Is Bald - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
`Mcneely, Big Jay`-Roadhouse Boogie L.A. & Chicago VINYL LP NEW USD $28.79 Buy It Now
Lurrie Bell - Can't Shake This Feeling (CD) - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
Linsey Alexander - Two Cats (CD) - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
Lurrie Bell & The Bell Dynasty - Tribute To Carey Bell (CD) - Classic Chicago... USD $18.36 Buy It Now
Various - Chicago Ain't Nothin' But A Blues Band - Classic Chicago Blues USD $19.49 Buy It Now
Chicago-Columbia-Live at Carnegie Hall'71 VG+ original LOOK! SEE my OTHER ITEMS USD $7.99 [0 bids]
Various The House Sound Of Chicago Vol. II Chicago Trax CASSETTE 2x ALBUM USD $30.36 Buy It Now
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USED 8 TRACK TAPE UNTESTED CHICAGO AT CARNEGIE HALL VOL. III & IV SUPER CLEAN USD $10.00 Buy It Now
THE BENSON ORCHESTRA OF CHICAGO "My Sunny Tennessee" (EE+) HMV B-1294 [78 RPM] USD $9.65 Buy It Now
THE BENSON ORCHESTRA OF CHICAGO "Tea For Two" (E) HMV B-1978 [78 RPM] USD $9.65 Buy It Now
FALL OUT BOY: THE BOYS OF ZUMMER TOUR - LIVE IN CHICAGO NEW DVD USD $8.81 Buy It Now
1975 Benny Bell "Shaving Cream - The Girl From Chicago" 45 RPM Record USD $4.99 Buy It Now
PEARL JAM Live In Chicago, March 28Th, 1992 Dol Records Vinyl Lp - NEW / SEALED USD $14.51 Buy It Now
Chicago [The Miramax Motion Picture Soundtrack] by Various Artists (CD,... USD $5.99 Buy It Now
JAMESIE AND ALL STARS - Jamesie And All Stars, Live At Chicago World Music Mint USD $79.75 Buy It Now
CHARLIE PARKER one night in chicago VINYL LP - USA 1980 / SAVOY / JAZZ / EX+ NM USD $7.27 Buy It Now
Chicago - If You Leave Me Now - CBS Records CBS-4603 Ex Condition USD $4.46 Buy It Now
Chicago Original Motion Picture Soundtrack USD $2.43 [0 bids]
Chicago - If You Leave Me Now - CBS 4603 - 7-inch Vinyl Record USD $6.06 Buy It Now
45< USD $8.00 Buy It Now
DG 2531 319 - BRUCKNER - Symphony in D Minor BARENBOIM Chicago SO - Ex LP Record USD $9.70 Buy It Now
WOODY HERMAN - LIVE IN CHICAGO USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $11.59 Buy It Now
"Lewis, Ramsey Trio"-Trio In Chicago Stretching Out CD NEW USD $11.79 Buy It Now
Chicago "Chicago X" 33 RPM 12" Vinyl Lp Columbia Records 1976 USD $14.25 Buy It Now
A Private Collection The First Bank of Chicago(CD) USD $8.57 Buy It Now
A Private Collection The First Bank of Chicago(CD) USD $8.57 Buy It Now
FRANK MELROSE, CASSINO SIMPSON Chicago Piano LP Chicago Piano 12-001 VG+ 3B/Q USD $13.99 Buy It Now
Chicago Symphony Orchestra : Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, etc CD Great Value USD $8.34 Buy It Now
Chicago - 17 - 925 060-1 - LP Vinyl Record USD $12.13 Buy It Now
Dave Hole/Ticket To Chicago/1997 CD Album USD $9.70 Buy It Now
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CHICAGO HOT STREETS LP CBS UK DEMO WHITE LABEL VINYL FAST DISPATCH USD $16.99 Buy It Now
B52'S - Live On Studio Jam - Wsai Fm Chicago 1 Jan 1978 (live Fm Radio VG USD $58.95 Buy It Now
Chicago symphony orchestra: From The Archives Vol 3 Fritz Reiner USD $100.00 Buy It Now
CHICAGO VINYL JAPAN LP used Record LP 638 USD $1.98 [1 bids]
GRATEFUL DEAD -FARE THEE WELL:CELEBRATING 50 YEARS -LIVE CHICAGO 2015 (2 CD SET) USD $8.49 [0 bids]
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RCA Victor Soria Fritz Reiner Chicago Symphony Strauss "DON QUIXOTE" LDS2384 USD $34.99 Buy It Now
Oldies CD w/15 Tracks Bill Withers Chicago Hollies Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin USD $5.29 Buy It Now
Sting ?- Moonwalking - LIVE CHICAGO 1991 RARE ITALY PRESS CD ! USD $17.00 Buy It Now
Chicago,"Hard To Say I'm Sorry" 7" Vinyl USD $2.42 Buy It Now
Chicago - Chicago X [CD] USD $8.01 Buy It Now
CLASH CITY ROCKERS / 2LP LIVE IN CHICAGO 9/14/79 USD $149.99 Buy It Now
PROMO ONLY / FREEDOM ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO BYG RECORDS 1970 USD $99.99 Buy It Now
Lot of 9 Chicago 45 RPM singles Columbia Records Vinyl VG Condition USD $1.99 [0 bids]
USD $5.99 Buy It Now
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Fleetwood Mac Blues Jam In Chicago  vol's 1&2 barely handled USD $10.00 [0 bids]
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Chicago Blues - The Absolutely - Various Artists (NEW 3 x CD) USD $8.49 Buy It Now
CHARLIE PARKER AT THE PERSHING BALLROOM CHICAGO 1950 ZIM RECORDS RARE LP USD $30.00 Buy It Now
78 RPM LP Bluebird Records Vinyl Tampa Red And The Chicago Five B-6532 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
Seems Like Old Times- The Chicago Mob And Orchestra- Palette LP Record USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Pearl Jam - Chicago Wrigley Field Large Pendant, Away Shows Aug 18th 20th 2018 USD $12.13 [0 bids]
VARIOUS-The Chicago Blues Box - The MCM Records Story (8CD) CD NEW USD $58.65 Buy It Now 54s
Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5 (Chicago So) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $14.42 Buy It Now 4m 34s
LED ZEPPELIN 1973 CHICAGO SOUNDCHECK CD USD $32.00 Buy It Now 5m 17s
Maurice Loved & Let Down SEALED ultra rare Chicago modern soul R&B private USD $12.00 Buy It Now 7m 9s
REID,TOMEKA-HAIRY WHO & THE CHICAGO IMAGISTS CD NEW USD $16.38 Buy It Now 10m 29s
Mozart Grieg Chicago Symphony Serenade No. 11 Four Lyric Sheffield Lab LAB 22 USD $34.73 Buy It Now 10m 48s
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Liszt, Sir Georg Solti, Chicago SO, A Faust Symphony, Full Silver, W Germany USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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12m 27s
JIMMY DAWKINS - Chicago Blues Nights Vol. 2 - ~~ CD - **Excellent Condition** USD $62.49 Buy It Now 13m 57s
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THE NORTHERN SOUL OF CHICAGO - Volume #1 - 28 VA Tracks USD $17.45 Buy It Now 20m 17s
African Suite, Petite Suite De Concert (Chicago Sinfonietta) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.09 Buy It Now 21m 12s
CHICAGO-LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL VINYL LP NEW USD $42.74 Buy It Now 22m 21s
The Big Three Trio &-Chicago Harmonisers Their Greatest Recor CD NEW USD $17.49 Buy It Now 22m 31s
Ira Sullivan and the Chicago Jazz Quintet Bird Lives 1963 Mono LP VG+ USD $17.99 Buy It Now 25m 6s
Harry James & His Or-Live In Chicago 1973 2Cd CD NEW USD $37.09 Buy It Now 30m 55s
The Benson Orchestra of Chicago - Bimini Bay / Just Like A Rainbow 78 rpm B1309 USD $6.06 Buy It Now 31m 49s
FRITZ REINER / CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Rimsky-korsakov - Scheherazade LP V USD $5.09 Buy It Now 32m 29s
Tom Paxton & Bob Gibson - Navy Pier Auditorium, Chicago, August 1980 (CD) NEW USD $7.59 Buy It Now 37m 50s
Various - Chicago House 86-91 - Various CD 1SVG The Fast Free Shipping USD $76.88 Buy It Now 38m 35s
Louis Armstrong - In Chicago 1962 - Louis Armstrong CD APVG The Fast Free USD $5.88 Buy It Now 38m 37s
(700I) The Uglysuit, Chicago - DJ CD USD $3.63 Buy It Now 45m 14s
Live In Chicago 12.19.98 at The United Center USD $4.12 Buy It Now 45m 15s
2707 116 Bruckner Symphony No.7 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Barenboim 2LP Box Set USD $24.27 Buy It Now 46m 19s
414 396-1 Handel Messiah Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sir Georg Solti 3LP Box Set USD $24.27 Buy It Now 46m 19s
ALP 1334 Brahms Violin Concerto Jascha Heifetz Chicago Sym Orch Fritz Reiner R/G USD $36.43 Buy It Now 46m 22s
D221D 2 Bruckner Symphony No.5 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sir Georg Solti 2LP USD $24.27 Buy It Now 47m 51s
LITTLE JOHNNY JONES And The CHICAGO HOUND DOGS "I MAY BE WRONG" R USD $9.70 Buy It Now 48m 37s
Chicago 17 by Chicago (Cassette, 1984) USD $2.50 Buy It Now 49m 54s
SS-45007 Janacek Sinfonietta Chicago Orc Sym Seiji Ozawa Angel 45 RPM Audiophile USD $24.27 Buy It Now 50m 15s

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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)

4.07 | 206 ratings
The Chicago Transit Authority
1969
4.14 | 192 ratings
Chicago [Aka: Chicago II]
1970
3.61 | 97 ratings
Chicago III
1971
3.31 | 85 ratings
Chicago V
1972
2.58 | 68 ratings
Chicago VI
1973
4.01 | 89 ratings
Chicago VII
1974
2.94 | 53 ratings
Chicago VIII
1975
3.03 | 62 ratings
Chicago X
1976
2.93 | 55 ratings
Chicago XI
1977
2.09 | 43 ratings
Hot Streets
1978
1.78 | 35 ratings
Chicago 13
1979
1.76 | 30 ratings
Chicago XIV
1980
2.44 | 40 ratings
Chicago 16
1982
2.69 | 46 ratings
Chicago 17
1984
2.63 | 35 ratings
Chicago 18
1986
2.50 | 24 ratings
Chicago 19
1988
1.54 | 27 ratings
Twenty 1
1991
3.66 | 22 ratings
Night & Day - Big Band
1995
2.75 | 13 ratings
Chicago 25 [Aka: The Christmas Album]
1998
2.38 | 23 ratings
Chicago XXX
2006
3.76 | 34 ratings
XXXII - Stone Of Sisyphus
2008
2.86 | 7 ratings
Chicago XXXIII - O Christmas Three
2010
3.14 | 7 ratings
The Nashville Sessions
2013
3.28 | 23 ratings
Now - Chicago XXXVI
2014

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

4.06 | 48 ratings
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
1971
3.94 | 27 ratings
Live in Japan
1972
3.13 | 5 ratings
Beginnings (In Concert)
1978
4.04 | 10 ratings
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album
1999
3.67 | 6 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)

3.51 | 25 ratings
Chicago IX - Greatest Hits
1975
2.20 | 6 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
3.11 | 8 ratings
The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning
2002
4.60 | 5 ratings
The Box
2003
2.86 | 5 ratings
Love Songs (2005)
2005
4.00 | 4 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)

4.75 | 5 ratings
I'm A Man
1969
3.36 | 7 ratings
25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here
1970
4.25 | 5 ratings
Make Me Smile / Colour My World
1970
3.50 | 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
3.50 | 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
1.24 | 8 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
 The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning by CHICAGO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
3.11 | 8 ratings

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

Review by patrickq

3 stars I'll bet the distinction between "greatest-hits" and "best-of" albums has been debated endlessly. By title, this is the "very best of Chicago," but in content, marketing, and pricing, Rhino seems to view this as a greatest-hits package.

Between July 1969 and January 1991, Chicago had 35 different singles hit the Billboard top 40 (from what I can tell, this also includes all of their Australian, Canadian, and UK top-40 singles). The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning contains all of these buy "Harry Truman," a #13 hit from 1975. It also contains five other songs, two of which charted in the lower reaches of the Hot 100, and two which didn't. So it certainly succeeds as a greatest-hits album. 

So how else can a greatest-hits album be evaluated? Some such albums have one or two new or unusual tracks, but that's not the case here. There's a nice, but not extraordinary, sixteen-page booklet with a brief history of the band and pretty detailed recording information and credits. Also - - the songs are mostly presented chronologically by album, which I appreciate.

Another aspect of greatest-hits packages which can affect their value relates to which versions the compilers choose to include. As seems fitting, ten of the 39 songs appear in their single edits, and two others appear in edits from prior greatest-hits releases. But three of the first six songs are newly edited versions here. "Make Me Smile" still has "Now More Than Ever" as a coda, but adds a minute and a half of the original album version back in. Similarly, the new edit of "I'm a Man" restores more than two minutes of the album version to the original single edit. "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" is a new stereo version which otherwise duplicates the original (mono) single edit. It's also worth noting that the full album version of "Hard to Say I'm Sorry / Get Away" is included, rather than the single edit, which omitted "Get Away."

And then there's the sound. Apparently most or all of the Chicago catalog was remastered in the early 2000s, including everything on The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning. It all songs good to me, although the 2016 Steven Wilson remixes of "Make Me Smile" and "25 or 6 to 4" (from Chicago II) are noticeably better.

Ultimately, though, it all comes down to the songs, doesn't it? Most reviewers on this site probably don't think much of the band's output since "Saturday in the Park," the first single from Chicago V (1972), and many, I would guess, strongly dislike their 1980s material, which accounts for thirteen of the tracks here. Personally, I like a fair amount of Chicago's poppier fare, like "If She Would've Been Faithful," "Along Comes a Woman," and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry / Get Away" from the mid-1980s and "Call on Me," and "No Tell Lover," and "Alive Again" from the second half of the 1970s. So there are plenty of good songs on this album, and a handful of very good ones.

Maybe I'd see things differently if I thought it were possible to rate a greatest-hits package like The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning only as a "progressive" album, but I can't. Three stars for a good collection of pop songs, some more progressive than others. 

 Chicago at Carnegie Hall by CHICAGO album cover Live, 1971
4.06 | 48 ratings

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Chicago at Carnegie Hall
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Glimpse

4 stars Chicago's first live album, Chicago At Carnegie Hall, from 1971 seems to have developed quite the reputation among fans of the group. With many people lambasting it as an overblown, being nearly three hours in duration, and having subpar sound quality. However, after recently picking up this box-set from a local vendor, I would have to disagree with these claims. The sound quality is far from poor, sure it isn't perfect but it is highly listenable even on the original vinyl release and it has also been improved on recent CD reissues.

As for the duration, it can be quite the endurance test for those not truly prepared to sit down for a whole four LP set, it does provide quite an immersive experience as it contains not only the songs the listener is already familiar with but tune-ups and even some crowd interactions as well. Of course, some people might find these sorts of things to be a tad on the excessive side, it does help to give you that full live show experience.

As for the set list on this album, it's about par the course for early 70s Chicago. You'll only find material from the groups first three albums here, with most of them being pulled from the groups first two albums. Most of the songs are faithful to their studio counterparts with some minor variation, but you'll also find a bit of improvisation and soloing here and there.

Overall it's an album that I feel gets a lot more hate than it really deserves, sure it's not quite as good as it could be, but that's not really the point here. Expecting perfection from a live album is always a silly prospect, as if that's what you want then just stick with the studio albums. While for those of you interested in an immersive and exensive live document you'll be certain to get what you're looking for here.

 Chicago [Aka: Chicago  II] by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.14 | 192 ratings

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Chicago [Aka: Chicago II]
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by javajeff

5 stars Listening to the Steven Wilson remix feels like a brand new album. This classic sports some of their best songs, and emerges as a jazz-rock aural treat. Colour My World and 25 Or 6 To 4 are two of my favorite tracks and I have put some serious mileage into them in my youth. While Chicago may have some poppy albums later in their career, the second and first albums remain classics in rock history. Chicago II is a long album with mellow interludes like Memories Of Love to heighten the more upbeat rocking tracks. I cannot see how anyone that loves prog would dismiss this album since it is loaded with tons of variety. The excellent musicianship and song-writing makes this a perfect album for all rock lovers. The Steven Wilson remix feels natural, vibrant, and new. It does not suffer from the loudness wars, and establishes excellent sound quality for the horns to really shine.
 Chicago Quadio by CHICAGO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Chicago Quadio
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tmay102436

5 stars I could write and write and write about this Quadio Box by Chicago, but instead will simply say: BUY THIS!!! Although the last couple of albums aren't "my cup of tea," the sound quality, surround work - very discrete, is stunning. And man oh man, had I forgotten what an incredible band this is / was - especially the early masterpieces. And I had never heard VII - what an incredible work. Terry Kath - a true rock guitarists of the highest order, and the rhythm section are superb, and to me, never got the praise they deserved.

I have become addicted to the surround experience, and I'm here to tell you, this is as good as most (and a lot better than some!) modern remixes - surround releases.

I am mainly an English progressive rock fanatic, but this release has really captured what wonderful composition, beautiful arrangements, and expert production accomplished by this legendary American ensemble.

 25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here by CHICAGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1970
3.36 | 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
2.58 | 68 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
2.93 | 55 ratings

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Chicago XI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
3.03 | 62 ratings

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Chicago X
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
2.94 | 53 ratings

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Chicago VIII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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!

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

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