Chicago in 2004 (l–r): Howland, Pankow, Champlin, Parazaider, Imboden, Loughnane, Scheff and Lamm (behind Scheff)
|Also known as||The Big Thing, The Chicago Transit Authority|
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Genres||Progressive rock, jazz fusion, soft rock|
|Labels||Columbia, Full Moon, Rhino|
|Associated acts||The Beach Boys, Doobie Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sons of Champlin, Toto, America|
Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
|Past members||Danny Seraphine
Laudir de Oliveira
Daniel de los Reyes
Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. The self-described "rock and roll band with horns" began as a politically charged, sometimes experimental, rock band and later moved to a predominantly softer sound, generating several hit ballads. They had a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Second only to The Beach Boys in Billboard singles and albums chart success among American bands, Chicago is one of the longest-running and most successful rock groups in history.
According to Billboard, Chicago was the leading US singles charting group during the 1970s. They have sold over 38 million units in the US, with 22 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums. Over the course of their career they have had five number-one albums and 21 top-ten singles.
Group history 
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
Chicago Transit Authority and early success 
The original band membership consisted of saxophonist Walter Parazaider, guitarist Terry Kath, drummer Danny Seraphine, trombonist James Pankow, trumpet player Lee Loughnane, and keyboardist Robert Lamm. The group of six called themselves The Big Thing, and continued playing top-40 hits. Realizing the need for a tenor to complement baritone Lamm and Kath, they added local tenor and bassist Peter Cetera.
While gaining some success as a cover band, the group began working on original songs. In June 1968, they moved to Los Angeles, California under the guidance of their manager James William Guercio, and signed with Columbia Records. After signing with Guercio, The Big Thing changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority.
Their first record (April 1969), the eponymous The Chicago Transit Authority, was a double album, which is rare for a bands's first release. It sold over one million copies by 1970, and was awarded a platinum disc. The album included a number of pop-rock songs—"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Beginnings", and "Questions 67 and 68": they would later be released as singles.
The 1970s: 'Chicago' 
The band released a second album, titled Chicago (also known as Chicago II), which was another double-LP. The centerpiece track was a seven-part, 13-minute suite composed by James Pankow called "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon". The suite yielded two top ten hits: "Make Me Smile" (No. 9 U.S.) and "Colour My World", both sung by Kath. Among the other tracks on the album: Lamm's dynamic but cryptic "25 or 6 to 4" (Chicago's first Top 5 hit), which was a reference to a songwriter trying to write at 25 or 26 minutes to 4 in the morning, and was sung by Cetera with wah-wah guitar by Kath; the lengthy war-protest song "It Better End Soon"; and, at the end, Cetera's 1969 moon landing-inspired "Where Do We Go from Here?". The double-LP album's inner cover includes—in addition to the playlist—the entire lyrics to "It Better End Soon", and two declarations: "This album should be experienced sequentially", and, "With this album, we dedicate ourselves, our futures and our energies to the people of the revolution. And the revolution in all of its forms."
The band recorded and released LPs at a rate of at least one album per year from their third album in 1971 on through the 1970s. During this period, the group's album titles invariably consisted of the band's name followed by a Roman numeral, indicating the album's sequence in their canon. The exceptions to this scheme were the band's fourth album, a live boxed set entitled Chicago at Carnegie Hall, their twelfth album Hot Streets, and the Arabic-numbered Chicago 13. While the live album itself did not bear a number, each of the four discs within the set was numbered Volumes I through IV. Nick Fasciano designed the distinctive Chicago logo, which has graced every album cover (except No. 15, Greatest Hits Vol. 2) in one form or another. For example, as an American flag on III, a piece of wood on V, a U.S. dollar bill on VI, an embroidered patch on VIII, a chocolate bar on X, a fingerprint on XIV, a computer silicon chip on 16, and a mosaic on 18.
In 1971, the band released Chicago at Carnegie Hall Volumes I, II, III, and IV, consisting of live performances, mostly of music from their first three albums, from a week-long run at the famous venue. The packaging of the album also contained some rather strident political messaging about how "We [youth] can change The System," including massive wall posters and voter registration information. Nevertheless, Chicago at Carnegie Hall went on to become the best-selling box set by a rock act, and held that record for 15 years.
In 1972 the band released its first single-disc release, Chicago V, which reached number one on both the Billboard pop and jazz album charts. It featured "Saturday in the Park", which mixed everyday life and political yearning in a more subtle way. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1972. Chicago would long open their concerts with the hit song. Another Lamm-composed hit song therein was "Dialogue (Part I & II)", which featured a musical "debate" between a political activist (sung by Kath) and a blasé college student (sung by Cetera).
In 1973, the group's manager, Guercio, produced and directed Electra Glide in Blue, a movie about an Arizona motorcycle policeman. The movie starred Robert Blake and featured Cetera, Kath, Loughnane, and Parazaider in supporting roles. The group also appeared prominently on the movie's soundtrack.
Other albums and singles followed in each of the succeeding years. 1973's Chicago VI was the first of several albums to include Brazilian jazz percussionist Laudir de Oliveira. Chicago VII, the band's double-disc 1974 release, their 1975 release, Chicago VIII, featured the political allegory "Harry Truman" and the nostalgic Pankow-composed "Old Days". Both hits reached the Top 15, with the latter reaching the top five. That summer also saw a joint tour across America with The Beach Boys, with both acts performing separately, then coming together for a finale.
They released Chicago X in 1976; Cetera's ballad "If You Leave Me Now" climbed to the top of the charts and remained there for two weeks. The song also won Chicago their only Grammy award, for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1977. Ironically, the tune almost did not make the cut for the album; "If You Leave Me Now" was recorded at the very last minute. The success of the song foreshadowed a later reliance on ballads.
The death of Terry Kath and transition 
The year 1978 began with a split with manager James William Guercio. On January 23 of that same year Kath died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
After auditioning over 30 potential replacements for Kath, Chicago decided upon guitarist/singer/songwriter Donnie Dacus, who joined the band in April 1978 just in time for the Hot Streets album (he was also being filmed for the musical Hair at the time). Its energetic lead-off single, "Alive Again", brought Chicago back to the Top 15; James Pankow wrote it "originally as a love song but ultimately as recognition of Kath's guiding spirit shining down from above."
The 1978 album Hot Streets, with producer Phil Ramone now at the helm, was Chicago's first album with a title rather than a number and was the band's first LP to have a picture of the band (shot by photographer Norman Seeff) featured prominently on the cover (with the ubiquitous logo downsized), two moves that were seen by many as a way to indicate the band had changed following Kath's death. To a degree, the band returned to the old naming scheme on its subsequent releases, although most titles would now bear Arabic numerals rather than Roman numerals. Hot Streets, the band's 12th album, peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard charts; it was Chicago's first release since their debut to fail to make the Top 10. The release also marked a move somewhat away from the jazz-rock direction favored by Kath and towards more pop songs and ballads. Dacus stayed with the band through the 1979 album Chicago 13 (Dacus is also featured in a promotional video on the DVD included in the Rhino Records Chicago box set from 2003). Again produced by Phil Ramone, was the group's first studio album not to contain a Top 40 hit.
The 1980s: changing sound, and the ballads 
Chicago XIV (1980), produced by Tom Dowd, relegated the horn section to the background on a number of tracks, and the album's two singles failed to make the Top 40. Chris Pinnick joined the band to handle the guitar duties, and the band were also augmented by saxophone player Marty Grebb on the subsequent tour. (He would remain with the band through 1985.) Believing the band to no longer be commercially viable, Columbia Records dropped them from its roster in 1981 and released a second "Greatest Hits" volume (also known as Chicago XV) later that year to fulfill its contractual obligation.
In late 1981 the band had a new producer (David Foster), a new label (Warner Brothers), and the addition of keyboardist/guitarist/singer Bill Champlin (Sons of Champlin), whilst percussionist Laudir de Oliveira also departed at this time along with Marty Grebb.
For the 1982 album Chicago 16, Foster brought in studio musicians for some of the tracks (including the core members of Toto), and used new technology (synthesizers, etc.) to "update" and streamline the sound, further pushing back the horn section, and even in some cases not even using them at all. Despite the radical change, the band did return to the charts with the ballad "Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away", which was featured in the soundtrack of the Daryl Hannah film Summer Lovers.
1984's Chicago 17 became the biggest selling album of the band's history, producing two more Top Ten singles – "You're the Inspiration" and "Hard Habit to Break" (both No.3 hits respectively), and two other singles: "Stay the Night" (No.16) and "Along Comes a Woman" (No.14). Peter's brother, Kenny Cetera, was brought into the group for the 17 tour to add percussion and high harmony vocals. The collaboration of Foster and Peter Cetera became beneficial, and by 1985 the band was embracing the newest medium, the music video channel MTV, by releasing music videos for all four songs, further expanding their fan base and even having some more success overseas.
The departure of Cetera 
Concurrently with Chicago's existing process, lead vocalist Peter Cetera had begun a solo career. Ultimately, there was friction between the two efforts, so Cetera left Chicago in the summer of 1985. Cetera eventually topped the charts with the theme song from the movie The Karate Kid, Part II, "Glory of Love", and with "The Next Time I Fall" (a duet with Amy Grant). Two more songs, a 1988 solo hit called "One Good Woman" (No. 4 U.S.) and a 1989 duet with Cher called "After All" (No. 6 U.S.) reached the Top Ten.
For the final Foster-produced 1986 album Chicago 18, Cetera was replaced in September 1985 by bassist/singer/songwriter Jason Scheff, son of Elvis Presley's bassist Jerry Scheff. The album became another winner, including the No.3 single "Will You Still Love Me?", a Top 5 Adult Contemporary and Top 20 Pop song ("If She Would Have Been Faithful..."), and also an updated version of "25 or 6 to 4" with a video that got airplay on MTV. Soon after the album was recorded, the band hired guitarist Dawayne Bailey from Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band. Bailey and Scheff had previously played in bands together, so Scheff introduced Bailey to the band in time for the Chicago 18 tour.
With the 1988 release Chicago 19, the band by then had replaced producer Foster with co-producers Ron Nevison and Chas Sanford, and they topped the charts again with the Diane Warren-composed single "Look Away." The album also yielded two more Top 10 hits, both with Bill Champlin singing solo lead for the first time and released a Top 5 single titled "What Kind Of Man Would I Be?" that would officially become a release from the forthcoming greatest hits record.
"19" was followed in short order by their twentieth album Greatest Hits 1982–1989, which included a slightly remixed version from the previous album the No. 5 hit "What Kind Of Man Would I Be?", sung by Scheff. The album's other Top Ten hit, "You're Not Alone", reached No. 10 in early 1989.
In closing out the decade on an all-time four album hit-making high, Chicago decided to do a duet tour with The Beach Boys through the summer and fall of 1989.
The 1990s: more changes and Stone Of Sisyphus 
The beginning of the 1990s brought yet another personnel change: founding member Danny Seraphine was succeeded in 1990 by drummer Tris Imboden, who was the longtime drummer for Kenny Loggins. He made his first appearance on the 1991 album Twenty 1. The album made a short appearance on the chart peaking only at No. 66, although the song "Chasin' The Wind" (#39) taken from Twenty 1 did become a minor hit. This would also be their last released album of original music for fifteen years. The band was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 23, 1992.
In 1993, Chicago wrote and recorded their 22nd album (which, due to circumstances beyond their control, eventually became their 32nd release) Stone of Sisyphus, and was to have been their return to their traditional sound of the 1970s, featuring major horn accompaniment and much more solid writing. However, the record executives at Reprise Records (now part of the newly-formed Warner Music Group) felt the album was "unreleasable" and shelved the entire project, where the completed album remained in its vaults unheard for over a decade. This led to both the band and the label parting ways. The label (as well as the band's) failure to issue any official press releases regarding the album's shelving and subsequent departure of guitarist Dawayne Bailey left their fans in the dark, leading to many years of debates and conjectures about the events surrounding the recordings. It was also suggested some years later that the band's management was negotiating with the label regarding a licensing of the extensive Chicago back catalog, and when those talks stalled, the label apparently retaliated by scrapping the project. The album eventually did see an expanded release on Rhino Records in June 2008 to very favorable reviews from both fans and critics and made it to No. 122 on the album charts.
After finishing their 1994 tour, and after signing with the Warner Brothers' imprint label Giant Records, they released their 1995 album Night & Day Big Band, consisting of covers of songs originally recorded by Sarah Vaughan, Glenn Miller, and Duke Ellington. Session guitarist Bruce Gaitsch handled the guitar work, and the album featured guest appearances by Paul Shaffer of "David Letterman" fame, and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. In 1998, Chicago released Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album and a live album in 1999, Chicago XXVI.
The 2000s 
In 2000, the band licensed their entire recorded output to Rhino Records, after having recorded it at Columbia Records and Warner Brothers. In 2002, Rhino released a two-disc compilation, The Very Best of Chicago: Only The Beginning, which spans the band's career. The compilation made the Top 40 and sold over 2 million copies in the US. Rhino also began releasing remastered versions of all of the band's Columbia-era albums.
Chicago continued to appear worldwide, touring with the band Earth, Wind & Fire in 2004 to 2005.
On March 21, 2006, their first all-new studio album since Twenty 1 arrived with Chicago XXX. It also marked the first time the band's music was available as a digital download online for fans. The album peaked at No. 41 in the US, spawning two minor adult contemporary hits: "Feel" and "Love Will Come Back." Two songs from this album, "Feel" and "Caroline", were performed live during Chicago's fall 2005 tour.
They toured the summer of 2007 with the band America.
On October 2, 2007, Rhino Records released the two-disc The Best of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition ("Chicago XXXI"), a new greatest hits compilation spanning their entire forty years, similar to The Very Best of: Only the Beginning, released four years earlier.
In 2008, the now-legendary lost album Stone of Sisyphus — once known as the aborted Chicago XXII, now listed officially as Chicago XXXII — was released with an expanded format.
In 2009, Chicago again toured with Earth, Wind & Fire.
Drew Hester joined the band in January 2009 to fill in for an ill Tris Imboden, and continued with the band as a percussionist on Imboden's return later in the year. In August 2009, Champlin left the band to focus on his solo career. His new lineup counterpart became keyboardist Lou Pardini.
2010 to present 
In 2010 Chicago toured with the Doobie Brothers. A performance in Chicago, Illinois, became a video for the HDNet cable channel that featured the Doobies joining Chicago for two encore tunes. The band also appeared on the season nine finale of American Idol.
With Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three, the band re-teamed with producer Phil Ramone (he had previously released the new tracks for the expanded Christmas re-release What's It Gonna Be, Santa?) to record a new Christmas album. It was released in October 2011.
In the meantime, Rhino released Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75, a two-disc set containing two hours of previously unreleased performances recorded June 24–26, 1975 at the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland, featuring the original members of Chicago performing some of their greatest hits up to that point.
In 2012, Chicago again teamed up with the Doobie Brothers for a joint tour. That same year, Drew Hester left the group to be succeeded, first by percussionist Daniel de los Reyes, then by Daniel's brother and former long-term Santana member, Walfredo Reyes, Jr..
On May 1, 2013, it was announced that Chicago would be performing the opening night concert at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the world's biggest aviation "fly-in".
Chicago has innovated with using the Internet to modernize the band's public relations, by maintaining an active news weblog with fan commentary, by providing free public previews of musical works in progress, and by actively encouraging audiences to record their live concert performances for selective publishing on the band's official web site. As of 2013[update] Chicago is currently recording a new album.
As of May 2013[update], four of the six surviving founding members (major songwriters Lamm and Pankow, plus Loughnane and Parazaider) have remained, providing continuity since the beginning; while Jason Scheff has been with the band for 26 years, Tris Imboden for 21 years, Keith Howland for 16 years, Lou Pardini for 4 years, and Walfredo Reyes, Jr. for 1 year.
Touring musicians 
Notre Dame connection 
In 1995, the band played a benefit concert at the Joyce Center to raise money for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, which is seeking a cure for Niemann–Pick disease, type C. Since then Chicago has donated a portion of ticket sales to the foundation. The band also donates an additional portion to help raise money for the Hannah & Friends Foundation, which works to improve the quality of life for children and adults with special needs. One of the resident homes is named Chicago. Hannah & Friends is the personal mission of Maura Weis and her husband, Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame head coach.
In November 2011, the band helped dedicate Notre Dame's new two-rink hockey facility, the Compton Family Ice Arena, with the Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular skating to Chicago's music.
Studio albums 
- The Chicago Transit Authority (1969)
- Chicago (1970)
- Chicago III (1971)
- Chicago V (1972)
- Chicago VI (1973)
- Chicago VII (1974)
- Chicago VIII (1975)
- Chicago X (1976)
- Chicago XI (1977)
- Hot Streets (1978)
- Chicago 13 (1979)
- Chicago XIV (1980)
- Chicago 16 (1982)
- Chicago 17 (1984)
- Chicago 18 (1986)
- Chicago 19 (1988)
- Twenty 1 (1991)
- Night & Day Big Band (1995)
- Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998)
- Chicago XXX (2006)
- Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus (2008)
- Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three (2011)
See also 
- Best selling music artists (worldwide)
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2008)|
- Ruhlmann, William. Chicago. Biography, Allmusic. Retrieved on: 2009-06-23.
- "Gold and Platinum – Top Selling Artists". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- "Gold and Platinum – Artist Tallies". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- [dead link]
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 255–256. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002). All music guide to rock : the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books. pp. 208–09. ISBN 978-0-87930-653-3. OCLC 317555621.
- Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard book of number 1 hits : the inside story behind every number one single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the present (5th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 446. ISBN 978-0-8230-7677-2. OCLC 229271613.
- "The Box", Chicago's 2003 5-CD / 1-DVD "greatest hits" compilation
- "Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire reunite for summer tour". CNN. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- "Chicago (the band) Official Store – Chicago Store". Chicagotheband.net. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- "Musician Bill Champlin leaves Chicago". CNN. August 11, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- Berman, Craig (May 27, 2010). "'Idol’ voters make DeWyze choice". Retrieved May 28, 2010.
- "Chicago and Doobie Brothers Announce 2012 Tour". Ultimateclassicrock.com. June 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- "Walfredo Reyes, Jr.". Chicago. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Walfredo Reyes, Jr.". Walfredo Reyes, Jr. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- "Chicago is Back, Ready to Rock Opening Night Concert -- 'Jazz-infused' rock legends' concert on July 29 presented by Ford Motor Company". AirVenture. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- "Chicago's weblog". Chicago. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- "All Time Lineups -- 1950-1969". CBS. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- "Summerfest". Retrieved November 5, 2012.[dead link]
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