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The Very Best of Chicago - Only the Beginning

Chicago

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iTunes Review

Chicago transformed its brass-based sound into pure gold within a year of its 1969 recording debut. One of the most popular horn bands of their era, they fused the dynamics of big band jazz with the rhythmic drive of ‘60s rock. Initially, they delved into challenging musical suites and free-flowing jams. But, as this well-selected “best of” package makes clear, Chicago quickly found that tuneful midtempo numbers and romantic balladry were their true forte. In early hits like “Color My World,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” and “Saturday in the Park,” the band emphasizes smooth, plaintive vocals and tight, lustrous arrangements. Tunes like “Wishing You Were Here,” “If You Leave Me Now” and “Old Days” continue in a soft yet distinctive vein, boasting seamless ensemble work along with inescapable hooks. Weathering the loss of lead singer Peter Cetera in 1985, the band remains faithful to their core sound on such melodically-rich singles as “Look Away” and “What Kind of Man Would I Be?” Looking back, it’s not hard to see why this evergreen group enjoyed such a winning streak. Today, Chicago remains a pop music institution, as familiar and much-loved as its city namesake.

Customer Reviews

Chicago is the Best

I love Chicago. This album is almost a list of hits, and nearly all songs are instantly recognizable to anyone who knows anything about good music. I like their Peter Cetera stage much better, but Chicago has continued to consistently tour and represent their time period. The tragic loss of Terry Kath (The guitar soloist on 25 or 6 to 4) was huge for the band, and they almost broke up. However, they didn't, and that didn't stop them from starting up the hit machine again. One of the things that impresses me the most about Chicago is they are the only band I know that is/was popular that didn't give into the fame. You can't find anything out there that has the tell-tale Chicago symbol besides albums because they never signed any product contracts. You would think that would greatly decrease the probability of them ever being popular, but they were so genuis, it didn't matter. Lee Loughnane (Trumpet) is one of my inspirations, being a trumpet player, and I might even go as far as to say they are my favorite band. If you have sensible tastes musically, then have a listen and you won't be dissapointed. Key Tracks= #1-4, #7, #9-14, #16, #19-21, and #24.

My soundtrack

Unlike "Crap" and his review, I've actually listened to this album and there are more than two songs worth buying it for. Chicago was basically the soundtrack to my teenage years and just beyond. Saturday night cruising was never complete without Chicago, Meatloaf or Peter Frampton in the tape deck. One of the finest concerts I attended as a teenager was Chicago and I attended quite a few. Make no mistake about it, if you would like to pick up a CD with every decent hit that Chicago put out, this is the one.

Like listening to the decline of an era

Chicago's earliest tracks, like Make Me Smile, Does Anyone Really Know, and Beginnings are some of the most powerful, nostalgic, and rich songs of their era. They were a powerful part of my childhood and now, a good twenty years on, I still value their harmony and creativity. They stay in my play lists. This compilation is remarkable in providing a window into the decline of a brilliant band as it parallels the general rise of an increasingly powerful and unimaginative music industry. Pity each track doesn't provide the year of release, because by the time we hit Old Days (rich in irony) we hear the end of the band's greatness and the strain to become "hip" in the 1980s when the music was defined by the MTV generation. They settled into soft rock and pop when they were once a great horn band with poignant lyrics.

Biography

Formed: February 15, 1967 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

According to Billboard chart statistics, Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time, in terms of both albums and singles. Judged by album sales alone, as certified by the R.I.A.A., the band does not rank quite so high, but it is still among the Top Ten best-selling U.S. groups ever. If such statements of fact surprise, that's because Chicago has been singularly underrated since the beginning of its long career, both because of its musical ambitions...
Full Bio

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