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Posts from the ‘Chicago’ Category

26
Nov

Chicago – Chicago X (1976) – Lp

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. The group had a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

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Artist:  Chicago
Title:  Chicago X
Year:  1976
Format:  LP
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  86010

Chicago X is the eighth studio album, and tenth album overall, (hence the title) by the American band Chicago and was released on June 14, 1976. The album is notable for its soulfulness, and Chicago’s first number one hit, If You Leave Me Now. The album art depicts a partially unwrapped chocolate bar with the band’s logo on it.

Although it was their tenth release Chicago X (1976) was actually the band’s eighth studio effort — as Chicago IV (1972) had been a live set from Carnegie Hall and Chicago IX (1975), which precedes this disc, was their first best-of collection. Musically, the combo had effectively abandoned their extended free-form jazz leanings for more succinct pop songs. That is not to say that the band couldn’t rock, because they could as evidenced by the Terry Kath (guitar/vocals) full-tilt rave-up “Once or Twice,” which commences the album. The hot brass section bows deeply and respectfully to their Muscle Shoals counterparts as Kath does his best funky Otis Redding vocal. Showing his tremendous depth of field, Kath bookends the LP with the empowering and positive “Hope for Love.” In between those two extremes are some of Chicago‘s best-known works — such as Peter Cetera‘s (bass/vocals) chart-topping light rock epic “If You Leave Me Now” and Robert Lamm‘s (keyboards/vocals) “Another Rainy Night in New York City.” The latter side also reveals a minor motif, as it is a Latin-based song about the Big Apple. It follows in the footsteps of the improv-heavy “Italian from New York” from their previous studio effort, the fusion-filled Chicago VII (1974). Lamm contributes a few other tucked-away classics to Chicago X as well — such as the aggressive and sexy “You Get It Up.” There are also a pair from James Pankow(trombone/vocals) in the form of the syncopated “You Are on My Mind” — which crossed over onto both the adult contemporary as well as pop music charts. His other composition is the classy brass of “Skin Tight.” The upfront horn interjections and overall augmentation are akin to the sound made famous by their West Coast Tower of Power contemporaries. As a majority of their previous efforts had done — all sans their debut — Chicago X was a Top Ten album and “If You Leave Me Now” became a double Grammy winner, for both Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo Group or Chorus and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s). The latter award was actually not given to the band, but rather to noted string arranger Jimmie Haskell and the group’s longtime producer, James William Guercio. Another well-deserved Grammy was given to John Berg for his visually enticing cover art — depicting Chicago‘s logo on the wrapper of what otherwise appears to be a Hershey chocolate bar. As the disc was released in the summer of the U.S. bicentennial (1976), the all-American image was undoubtedly and duly noted.

 

Side one
1.  Once or Twice  (3:01)
2.  You Are on My Mind   (3:24)
3.  Skin Tight  (3:20)
4.  If You Leave Me Now  (3:58)
5.  Together Again  (3:53)
6.  Another Rainy Day in New York City  (3:03)

Side two
1.  Mama Mama  (3:31)
2.  Scrapbook  (3:28)
3.  Gently I’ll Wake You  (3:36)
4.  You Get It Up  (3:34)
5.  Hope for Love  (3:04)

http://www.ad-vinylrecords.com/product/chicago-chicago-x-lp/

26
Jun

Chicago – 17 (1984) – Lp

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.

chicago - 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist:  Chicago
Title:  17
Year:  1984
Format:  LP
Label:  Warner Bros. Records
Catalog# 925060-1

Chicago 16 finally gave Chicago a big hit after a four-year drought, thanks in large part to new producer David Foster, who steered the jazz-rock veterans toward a streamlined, crisply produced pop direction on that 1982 effort. Given that success, it’s no surprise that the septet teamed with Foster again for its next album, 1984’s Chicago 17 (apparently Roman numerals were left behind along with their progressive jazz-rock). It’s also no surprise that Foster took an even greater control of 17, steering the group further down the adult contemporary road and pushing Peter Cetera toward the front of the group, while pushing the horns toward the back. Indeed, it’s often possible to not notice the horns on 17; they either fade into the background or meld seamlessly with the synthesizers that are the primary instruments here, providing not just the fabric but foundation of nearly all the arrangements, as synth bass and drum machines replaced the rhythm section. This did not sit well with many longtime fans — and it may have also caused some tension within the group, since Cetera left after this album — but it did make for the biggest hit album in Chicago‘s history, going quadruple platinum and peaking at number four on the Billboard charts. A big reason for its success is the pair of hit ballads in “Hard Habit to Break” and “You’re the Inspiration,” two big and slick dramatic ballads that each peaked at number three on the charts and helped set the sound for adult contemporary pop for the rest of the decade; the likes of Michael Bolton and Richard Marx are unimaginable without these songs existing as a blueprint (in fact, Marx sang backup vocals on “We Can Stop the Hurtin'” on.

Ballads were a big part of 17 — in fact, these hits and album cuts like “Remember the Feeling” are among the first power ballads, ballads that were given arena rock flourishes and dramatic arrangements but never took the focus off the melody, so housewives and preteens alike could sing along with them. Power ballads later became the province of hair metal bands like Bon Jovi and Poison, but Foster‘s work with Chicago on 17 really helped set the stage for them, since he not only gave the ballads sweeping rock arrangements, but the harder, punchier tunes here play like ballads. Even when the band turns up the intensity here — “Stay the Night” has a spare, rather ominous beat that suggests they were trying for album-oriented rock; “Along Comes a Woman” has a stiff drum loop and a hiccupping synth bass that suggests dance-pop — the music is still slick, shiny, and soft, music that can appeal to the widest possible audience. 17 did indeed find the widest possible audience, as it ruled radio into late 1985, by which time there were plenty of imitators of Foster‘s style. There may have been plenty of imitators — soon, solo Cetera was one of them, making music that was indistinguishable from this — but nobody bettered Foster, and Chicago 17 is his pièce de résistance, a record that sounded so good it didn’t quite matter that some of the material didn’t stick as songs; as a production, it was the pinnacle of his craft and one of the best adult contemporary records of the ’80s, perhaps the best of them all. Certainly, it’s hard to think of another adult contemporary album quite as influential within its style as this — not only did it color the records that followed, but it’s hard not to think of Chicago 17 as the place where soft rock moved away from the warm, lush sounds that defined the style in the late ’70s and early ’80s and moved toward the crisp, meticulous, synthesized sound of adult contemporary pop, for better or worse, depending on your point of view

 

Side one
1.  Stay The Night  (3:48)
2.  We Can Stop The Hurtin’  (4:11)
3.  Hard Habit To Break  (4:43)
4.  Only You  (3:53)
5.  Remember The Feeling  (4:28)

Side two
1.  Along Comes A Woman  (4:14)
2.  You’re The Inspiration  (3:49)
3.  Please Hold On  (3:37)
4.  Prima Donna  (4:09)
5.  Once In A Lifetime  (4:12)

http://www.ad-vinylrecords.com/product/chicago-17-lp/

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