Chicago III

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Chicago III
Studio album by Chicago
Released January 11, 1971
Recorded Late June – Early July, Late November – Early December 1970, Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York City
Genre Rock, jazz fusion
Length 71:29
Label Columbia
Producer James William Guercio
Chicago chronology
Chicago III
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
(1971)Chicago at Carnegie Hall1971
Singles from Chicago III
  1. "Free"
    Released: February 1971
  2. "Lowdown"
    Released: April 1971
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]

Chicago III is the third studio album by American rock band Chicago and was released in 1971. It was the band's third consecutive double album of new studio material in less than two years.


In the wake of the 1970 Chicago album's enormous worldwide success, Chicago spent almost all of 1970 on the road, an exhaustive undertaking. When the band came to record Chicago III in the middle of the year — which producer James William Guercio had already determined would be another double — they were physically drained.

Their long hours on the road gave the principal songwriters, Robert Lamm, Terry Kath and James Pankow, much food for thought, resulting in more serious subject matter, which contrasted with the positivity of their first two sets. Lamm documented his homesickness in the "Travel Suite", while Pankow bemoaned the winning battle of industry over nature in the instrumental "Elegy" suite (an issue Lamm also touches upon in "Mother"). While Kath's multi-part "An Hour in the Shower" provides a reprieve from the sobering explorations elsewhere, Chicago III was undeniably the result of a band who had seen the flip side of the world over the last several months.

Chicago III is also notable for its variety of musical genres, with the band relying slightly less on their trademark horns. Both "Sing a Mean Tune Kid" and "Free" feature the influence of funk, "What Else Can I Say" and "Flight 602" have a country feel, while abstract qualities are found in "Free Country" and "Progress?"

Released in January 1971, initially on Columbia Records, Chicago III — their first album to sport a Roman numeral in its title — sold well upon its release, yet its paucity of big hit singles and its more experimental nature meant that it didn't wear as well with the masses as The Chicago Transit Authority (1969) and Chicago (1970) did. "Free" was a Top 20 hit, and Peter Cetera's "Lowdown" reached the Top 40. And while Chicago III marked a dwindling in UK fortunes, reaching #9 in a brief chart run, it provided Chicago with their highest charting disc yet in the US, going to #2.

Included with the album was a poster of the band dressed in the uniforms of America's wars, standing in front of a field of crosses, representing those who had died in the still ongoing Vietnam War. It also gave the number of casualties from each war up until the time of the album's release.

In 1974, jazz bandleader Stan Kenton added a suite of songs from the album ("Canon", "Mother", "Once Upon a Time" and "Free") to his band's repertoire, releasing it on the album Stan Kenton Plays Chicago.

In 2002, Chicago III was remastered and reissued on one CD by Rhino Records. Chicago III (Columbia 30110) reached #2 in the US during a chart stay of 63 weeks. It also peaked at #9 in the UK.

Track listing[edit]

Side One
No. Title Writer(s) Vocals Length
1. "Sing a Mean Tune Kid" Robert Lamm Peter Cetera 9:13
2. "Loneliness Is Just a Word" Lamm Terry Kath 2:36
3. "What Else Can I Say" Peter Cetera Cetera 3:12
4. "I Don't Want Your Money" Kath Lamm 4:47
Side Two
No. Title Writer(s) Vocals Length
5. "Travel Suite"
  1. "Flight 602"
  2. "Motorboat to Mars"
  3. "Free"
  4. "Free Country"
  5. "At the Sunrise"
  6. "Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home"
Lamm/Danny Seraphine/Kath/Walter Parazaider

2:45 1:30 2:16 5:46 2:48

Side Three
No. Title Writer(s) Vocals Length
6. "Mother" Lamm Lamm 4:30
7. "Lowdown" Cetera/Seraphine Cetera 3:35
8. "An Hour in the Shower"
  1. "A Hard Risin' Morning Without Breakfast"
  2. "Off to Work"
  3. "Fallin' Out"
  4. "Dreamin' Home"
  5. "Morning Blues Again"
Kath Kath 5:30

1:52 0:45 0:53 0:49

Side Four
No. Title Writer(s) Vocals Length
9. "Elegy"
  1. "When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow"
  2. "Canon"
  3. "Once Upon a Time..."
  4. "Progress?"
  5. "The Approaching Storm"
  6. "Man vs. Man: The End"
James Pankow/James William Guercio/Kendrew Lascelles Lamm 15:27

1:03 1:05 2:34 2:34 6:26




  • Produced by James William Guercio
  • Engineered by Don Puluse and Sy Mitchell
  • Recorded by Lou Waxman and Willie Greer
  • Logo Design – Nick Fasciano
  • Album Design – John Berg
  • Flag Design – Natalie Williams
  • Photography – Sandy Speiser
  • Poster Photo – Steve Horn and Norm Griner
  • Lettering – Annette Kawecki and Melanie Marder for Poseidon Productions