Chicago Band Biography

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ChicagoChicago is an American rock band that became popular in the 70’s and the 80’s. They were formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1967, hence their name. They were formed by a group of DePaul University students who began playing on and off campus. They were composed of a versatile line-up of instrumentalists that eventually grew and became a seven-member group.

As a professional band, Chicago was composed of guitarist Terry Kath, keyboardist Robert Lamm, drummer Danny Seraphine, and bassist Peter Cetera along with three other instrumentalists- saxophonist Walter Parazaider, trombonist James Pankow, and trumpet player Lee Loughnane. The band was then known as The Big Thing.

The band gained some success as a cover band, continually working on original material along the way. By 1968, the band moved to LA where they were able to sign up with Columbia Records. The band then took on a new name, Chicago Transit Authority. In 1969, they were able to release their self titled debut album.

This album was special in that it was a sprawling double album containing songs with jazzy instrumentals and other unique features when it comes to musical styles. It was quite an ambitious attempt of an album debut for a new band. It did well and eventually became a hit in both the US and the UK. During this time, the band shortened their name to Chicago when the real Chicago Transit Authority threatened legal action against the use of the name.

The band had their breakthrough with the release of their second album, Chicago in 1970. The album went on to produce several top 40 hits for the band which included the 13-minute classically inspired song, "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon". Other successful albums and singles followed.

The band kept busy through the 70’s which was capped by their album Chicago X in 1976 which contained their first number one single, "If You Leave Me Now". The hit single also earned for the band their only Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1977. The success of this album eventually led Chicago to rely on power ballads for their subsequent albums.

The band went on to several ups and downs until the beginning of the 80’s. In 1981, the bans saw a resurgence of their career with a new label in Warner Brothers as well as some line-up changes (the first one brought about by the accidental death of erstwhile band leader, Terry Kath). Their album, Chicago 17 in 1984, became the band’s biggest selling album. It reached six times platinum in sales in the US alone and contained the hits "Hard Habit to Break" and "You’re the Inspiration".

The band had gone through a number of personnel changes and currently still keeps active, a good four decades after the band was formed. The band is known as one of a few major rock bands that had never broken up or taken a hiatus from performing. The band continues on to perform in both small and big venues all over the world, dishing out their own style of jazz, pop and rock influenced music.

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