I still have a few more of these to go to meet my challenge. Took a few days off.
The band Chicago is one of the first bands that I embraced on my own without parental influences. They were also the first concert that I attended on my own, well, with a date. They also taught me, that music was more than just what you heard on the radio.
Chicago has kept it going now for over five decades. Granted, they have only three remaining members still performing with them yet, but the music still sounds great. But there is a history, a long history that goes with this band and the various memories and stories that make up this legacy. I completely encourage you to watch “Now More Than Every: The History Of Chicago.” As sappy as they were in the second half of their careers, they were not so innocent in their jammin’ and rockin’ early years.
Which brings me to another one of my formative albums, Chicago Transit Authority, CTA for short. Originally, the name of the album, and the band until a lawsuit by the actual Chicago Transit Authority of Chicago.
Released in 1969, it was a rare debut “double album”, for those two young to know what that means, there were four sides… aw hell, you are probably saying “sides to what” now. It was a lot of songs.
A lot of songs that introduced a powerful horn section into rock and roll. The album was a mixture of jazz and rock and roll. The length of the songs did not make it easy for the band to break through on the radio that wanted three minute songs, and CTA’s songs were all over four minutes (averaging over six minutes) with the exception of one song, that was not even released as a single oddly enough.
We would also be introduced to one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Terry Kath, whose life ended tragically. He was actually complimented by Jimmy Hendrix as being better than him. Kath’s guitar playing and soulful vocals were good, and got even better on the next several albums.
The great thing about Chicago, is the variety of instruments and all the different lead vocals on songs.
“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” was a great start to the album blasting the horns right from the get-go. Definitely a toe-tapper. Though the third track is titled “Beginnings” its lyrics are why it was not appropriate as the first track for their long career. This track highlighted a smooth guitar along with the horns and soothing voice of one of the founding members Robert Lamm.
But perhaps one of the best songs I think of the entirety of their career is Questions 67&68. It is also one of the few songs that I cannot sing along to from Chicago because of the high range of lead vocalist Peter Cetera.
Finally, one song that brings out at least one person at every concert yelling at the top of their voices, “I’m A Man” co-written by Spencer Davis Group’s Steve Winwood, both groups having recorded the song in contrasting styles. Of course, like I said, according to radio programmers, there was nothing really on the album meant for radio play, based solely on the length of the songs, yet the album still produced four great hits, and over forty albums over fifty years.
And that is why they finally and deservedly so, got into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.