I’m so happy – I get to talk about a piece of music that has stayed with me.
I think my biggest problem with having to choose just one song to focus on is that I wind up having MANY different view on this topic. I love music.
I spent most of my childhood car rides with my parents listening to the local Adult Contemporary station, which was fine for them. When you’re a kid, you want to listen to whatever is popular now, and not what was popular ten years ago. Publicly, I listened to whatever was popular at the moment (I loved Alternative music in the mid-1990s). I didn’t always like listening to “older” music, but I listened because it was my parents’ car and car radios. When I was in my early teens, the Adult Contemporary station was playing 1970s, 1980s, and the music of the time (1990s). It still plays all of this, even though the “music of the time” is now the 2010s. Ever feel particularly old when an oldies station plays music you grew up with…except now it is playing 1980s music? Thankfully, this one radio station I listen to hasn’t managed to do that.
Music has been an all-compassing part of my personality, and I’ve loved it as far back as I can remember. I used to belt out “Got My Mind Set On You” by George Harrison when I was five years old, I’ve known Paul Simon’s song “You Can Call Me Al” just as long…and I’ve always associate blaring horn sections with the band Chicago.
I say all this because I’m discussing the group Chicago, which had (and still has) a heavy presence on the Adult Contemporary station in my area.
Chicago has always been a group that I’ve forever known, but have only recently (and by recently, I mean the last three years) come into appreciating some of the songs beyond the ones I heard on the radio growing up.
When I was a kid, I think I heard “Hard Habit to Break,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “You’re The Inspiration,” “Will You Still Love Me?,” and “Look Away” more than I heard their earlier classics. Once in a while, “Just You And Me,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Saturday in the Park” slips in there, as does “If You Leave Me Now” (though that seemed to be the most common Not 1980s Chicago song I heard growing up, aside from the occasional “Saturday In the Park”). Several years ago, when I discovered iHeart Radio, I also discovered more Chicago songs, including that “forgotten” extended part of “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” that radio stations never play (“Get Away”).
I also fell in love with the original version of “25 or 6 to 4” (and the 1986 version grew on me as well), “Beginnings” (which is amazing in concert, especially when Earth Wind and Wire accompany Chicago). And even then, I still hadn’t quite scratched the surface – the concert introduced me to “Old Days,” “Make Me Smile,” “Free,” and “I’m a Man.” I realized how I knew “Colour My World” (and how cliche it felt), and how amazing “25 or 6 to 4” sounds live AND extended.
More recently, I’ve concentrated on the 1970s songs, but have also looked at the post-Peter Cetera years, when the sound was reworked, but still kept the charm of what made the group great. Brass became rock, but nothing ever robbed this group of proper sound. Not even time!
I recently heard “Bigger Than Elvis,” a lost tune (and not an ego trip – it was actually written and performed by Jason Scheff, as a tribute to his dad, Elvis Presley bassist Jerry Scheff) that was meant to be released in 1994, but wasn’t released until 2008 (along with the lost album that was shelved). It turns out to be even more touching than the “wedding songs” they released.
I have one of the Christmas albums (because nothing screams “Christmas joy!” quite like blaring horns. I heard there are two more.
I could go on and on about the music, but I’m still working on my own playlist – it is ever expanding.
I share this link alot, but I wrote about my concert experience seeing Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire live during their final stop on their Heart and Soul Tour in 2015. And if you’d believed they were tired from touring, you’re so wrong. So very very wrong!
If you’d like to read more of my Chicago musings:
Will You Still Love Me Over On Retroist? (On Retroist, article has link)
When Retroist Gets There, Gonna Jump in the Air! (On Retroist, article has link)
Oh, and here’s a playlist!