Chicago was founded in 1967 by Walt Parazaider (woodwinds), James Pankow (trombone), Lee Loughnane (trumpet), Roert Lamm (keyboards and lead vocals), Terry Kath (guitar and lead vocals), and Danny Seraphine (drums). They called themselves The Big Thing. They added bassist-lead vocalist Peter Cetera and began working with their original producer-manager James William Guercio, subsequently becoming known as Chicago Transit Authority. Their self-titled 1969 debut release was an ambitious mix of free-form rock and horn-influenced jazz, the first of three double LPs that would start their career. The band dropped the "Transit Authority" and became known as simply "Chicago" on their second album in 1970, which was the first album to carry their trademark logo. Chicago II yielded some of the group's most enduring hits, which came from Pankow's suite "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon," emulating the form of the great classical composers from a pop perspective. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts. With the success of Chicago II, radio went back and discovered hits on the earlier Chicago Transit Authority album. Their 1971 release Chicago III peaked at #2, driven by the success of the tracks "Free" and "Lowdown." These three classic Chicago albums can now be experienced from a new perspective with remastered sound and expanded liner notes
Q - 10/02, p.1223 stars out of 5
- "...Yeilds intermittent rewards, most notably on the baroque psychedelia of 'Fancy Colors' and 'AM Mourning'..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 10/02, p.112
"...Crammed full of fine stuff..."
Chicago: Terry Kath (vocals, guitar); Robert Lamm (vocals, keyboards);
Peter Cetera (vocals, bass); Walter Parazaider (winds, background vocals); Lee Loughnane (trumpet, background vocals); James Pankow (trombone); Daniel Seraphine (drums).
Recorded at Columbia Studios, New York, New York; Columbia Studios, Hollywood, California in August 1969. Originally released on Columbia (KGP-24). Includes liner notes by David Wild.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Terry Kath (vocals, guitar); Walter Parazaider (vocals, woodwinds); Lee Loughnane (vocals, trumpet); Robert Lamm (vocals, keyboards); Peter Cetera (vocals); James Pankow (trombone); Daniel Seraphine (drums).
Audio Remasterer: David Donnelly.
Liner Note Author: David Wild.
Recording information: Columbia Recording Studios, New York, NY (08/1969).
Photographers: Herbert Greene; Hugh Brown .
CHICAGO II remains a classic album, encapsulating its time (1969) in all its tumult and glory. The Vietnam War (and the civil unrest it inspired) was still raging, the counterculture dream had not yet crashed and burned, and rock music could be taken seriously as an "art form" while still generating radio hits. Chicago, with their then-new fusion of jazz, rock, and pop, rose high on the charts, while taken seriously both in and beyond the rock-critic establishment. (Some jazz listeners respected and enjoyed Chicago as well.) Their approach had a freshness and vibrancy--"25 Or 6 To 4" was surging, dramatic, and slightly ominous; "Fancy Colours" and "Make Me Smile" were full of soulful optimism; a four-movement suite showed the band had ambition beyond the three- or four-minute pop song. To paraphrase one of Chicago's song titles, it was only the beginning.