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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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CHICAGO discography


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

4.08 | 267 ratings
The Chicago Transit Authority
1969
4.18 | 248 ratings
Chicago [Aka: Chicago II]
1970
3.64 | 133 ratings
Chicago III
1971
3.41 | 121 ratings
Chicago V
1972
2.63 | 95 ratings
Chicago VI
1973
4.11 | 128 ratings
Chicago VII
1974
2.97 | 75 ratings
Chicago VIII
1975
3.04 | 83 ratings
Chicago X
1976
2.93 | 76 ratings
Chicago XI
1977
2.14 | 59 ratings
Hot Streets
1978
1.80 | 51 ratings
Chicago 13
1979
1.89 | 46 ratings
Chicago XIV
1980
2.46 | 55 ratings
Chicago 16
1982
2.69 | 61 ratings
Chicago 17
1984
2.56 | 50 ratings
Chicago 18
1986
2.45 | 36 ratings
Chicago 19
1988
1.56 | 39 ratings
Twenty 1
1991
3.49 | 33 ratings
Night & Day - Big Band
1995
2.58 | 19 ratings
Chicago 25 [Aka: The Christmas Album]
1998
2.23 | 29 ratings
Chicago XXX
2006
3.65 | 45 ratings
XXXII - Stone Of Sisyphus
2008
2.00 | 13 ratings
Chicago XXXIII - O Christmas Three
2010
2.42 | 12 ratings
The Nashville Sessions
2013
3.07 | 32 ratings
Now - Chicago XXXVI
2014

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

4.10 | 61 ratings
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
1971
3.99 | 33 ratings
Live in Japan
1972
3.13 | 5 ratings
Beginnings (In Concert)
1978
3.93 | 11 ratings
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album
1999
3.75 | 8 ratings
Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75
2011

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

3.92 | 5 ratings
Soundstage Presents Chicago
2004
3.00 | 3 ratings
Chicago
2005

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

3.53 | 33 ratings
Chicago IX - Greatest Hits
1975
2.28 | 10 ratings
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
1981
2.00 | 3 ratings
Love Songs
1982
1.30 | 8 ratings
Greatest Hits 1982-1989
1989
1.00 | 1 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago
1989
2.78 | 9 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1997
1997
2.83 | 3 ratings
Chicago
1997
2.00 | 3 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1998 Volume II
1998
3.00 | 5 ratings
The Chicago Story: Complete Greatest Hits
2002
3.11 | 9 ratings
The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning
2002
4.57 | 7 ratings
The Box
2003
2.73 | 6 ratings
Love Songs (2005)
2005
3.50 | 6 ratings
The Best Of Chicago
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Collector's Edition
2009
4.92 | 3 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 III by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 133 ratings

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Chicago III
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Fercandio46

4 stars Chicago is one of the great enigmas in the history of music and after three brilliant albums and a super worthy fourth volume, in the middle of 1973 they turned their direction to more commercial waters, at a time when winds of condescension or leveling down had not yet blown. That special concoction made of rock, soul, funk, psychedelia, jazz, classical and contemporary American music plus the plus of three good and diverse voices made the first two volumes a revolution in a time full of revolutions everywhere. Chicago III further deepens that direction, where that special feeling that they did what they wanted regardless of the companies continues, and they do not one but three suites, where we remember classic American composers like Aaron Copland. Peter Cetera, Robert Lamm and Terry Kath they sing and their voices provide the roughness and the velvet according to each moment of the record. These guys knew how to write, the powerful horns layered with Kath's throbbing guitar jamming until the fingers drop...and the ears! Even a political position regarding Vietnam and also the issue "Progress?" where with the winds they simulate noise pollution, the constructions that make skyscrapers that precisely... Are they progress? Testimony of an era, how from an evocation of country airs a la Crosby, Stills and Nash in "Travel Suite - Flight 602", to something of an atonal nature in "Free", also from the Travel Suite. Above all I highlight the progress in the cohesion between one part and another, the composition of the bridges creating -as if it were chapters of a book- introduction, middle and outcome.
 Chicago VII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.11 | 128 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars There are only three Chicago albums that have remained on my rotation of play since their release and this is one of them. Don't get me wrong: I've always liked the band and their music--and many, many of their "hits"--but the albums as a whole didn't always retain my interest and/or enjoyment after the first year or two. (This did not, however, prevent me from going to see them in concert every opportunity I got.) Like their debut album, 1969's Chicago Transit Authority, this was an album that always received my full attention, full side plays, no matter which side was being played, each one being anchored by at least one stellar song: Side One by "Aire" and its prelude as well as the "Devil's Sweet" suite; Side Two by "Italian from New York" and "Happy Man"; Side Three by "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long" and "Byblos"; Side Four by "Wishing You Were Here" and "Call on Me." Chicago is also a band that has been re-gaining my attention and esteem due to the wonderful videos done by Leonid and Friends (Leonid Vorobyev): their attention to detail to the faithful replication of every nuance of Chicago's studio recordings help one to appreciate just how amazing each of the band members were as individual musicians as well as how well-crafted were the many-layered songs.

A-/Five stars; a masterpiece of somewhat pop-oriented jazz rock fusion which shows a band at the very peak of their collaborative powers. Despite their ability to create Top 10 hits with relative ease, this is a band whose compositional creativity and virtuosic instrumental prowesses deserve more attention and appreciation from prog lovers.

P.S. Thanks to MortSahlfan for the prompt to write up a review for this album.

 Chicago VII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.11 | 128 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by MortSahlFan

4 stars I think this is the best Chicago album. I know Guercio and Cetera weren't having fun, but I actually like the mixture. Side 1 is great. "Aire", especially, because it's one of Terry Kath's best guitar solos - it's too bad he didn't have more jazzier solos. Side 2 goes from prog to a bit of fusion, and on to the funky "Lifesaver" before ending on "Happy Man" (check out the Extended version on YouTube - very funny improv by Cetera).

Side 3 and 4 are my favorites. I don't see the problem with ballads, especially this one about self-discovery, with parts, and musically excellent. I'll always harbor resentment for Lee Loughnane (for being a horrible live player) but also for singing Terry's song. It's great, but his vocals never do it, even back-up. Maybe someone will find a missing demo? Great song anyway. The guitar work is a heck of a jam. "Byblos" - like every other Terry Kath song - is pure truth, since he added in an interview, "I can't write fantasy songs. Maybe one day". Of course, it never came, but even more reason to read his lyrics. There's a rehearsal version of this song which is more traditional, the drums and such, but it seems to have had the "Happy Man" effect, of more percussion, and some nice synthesizer, usually doubling up on Terry's bass playing (he plays bass on at least 4 songs). Peter was the "real good friend of mine" who somehow landed with Terry's girl in Japan. Check out the lyrics.

Side 4 is excellent. Beautiful start with the waves, and those eerie shapes of D on the acoustic, what I consider Cetera's best song. Luckily, he wrote it in LA and by the time they got to Carribou, he couldn't sing the verses that low, and so Terry Kath sings it, and it's much better for it. Great bridge. Very tender vocals by Terry Kath. Both guys were huge fans of The Beach Boys (calling them and The Beatles their favorite bands). "Call On Me" might have been Lee's first song, but here's a clipping from the box set.

According to Cetera, though, he needed some help. "I tried to help Lee Loughnane with a song," Cetera says, "and that song turned out to be 'Call On Me.' Lee had written a song. It wasn't called, 'Call On Me,' it was called something else, and it in fact was terrible. I talked to him at the ranch one day, and he was all bent out of shape. He said that he had played the song for the guys, and they had told him in fact to get the heck out of there with the song. I said, 'Well, come on, let's have a go.' So Lee and I went and re-wrote the lyrics and re-wrote the melody and came up with the song called, 'Call On Me,' which was a big hit for him." Loughnane remembers it a little differently. "Peter changed a couple of the words and the way he sang the melody in order for him to be able to play the bass and sing the melody at the same time because that's the way he felt it." Loughnane added, "I appreciate his efforts, and we did make the song a hit."..... Had Lee sang this, it would not have been as good.

Robert Lamm, like usual, seemed to give his best stuff for others to sing, always the encouraging, diplomatic, and thoughtful member of the band. "Women Don't Want To Love Me" is so funky, and the rhythm reverse is very cool on record, although I would have loved to have heard it played "straight" live, and a little faster, to better a live performance.

Definitely an album to listen to from start to finish, no interruptions. Sometimes an album like this can take a few listens before you fully appreciate it.

4.5/5

 Chicago 18 by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.56 | 50 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
2.69 | 61 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
2.46 | 55 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
1.89 | 46 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
1.80 | 51 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
2.14 | 59 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
2.93 | 76 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.

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

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