Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Chicago - Chicago 17
Side one starts with “Stay The Night”, the album’s first single. This Cetera/Foster collaboration reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 7 on the Mainstream Rock charts.
“We Can Stop the Hurtin’” features a number of guest background vocalists including Donny Osmond and Richard Marx. The guitars on this one set up a cool and bouncy groove.
The second single, “Hard Habit to Break”, went to number 3 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts. It was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1984. I can remember fondly this one being a slow-dance favorite back in the day, with its gentle swaying tempo and sweet harmonies.
I like the echoing effect of the percussion on the mid-tempo “Only You”, a sound popular in some music at the time.
The side ends with the ballad “Remember the Feeling”, which showcases the harmony between Cetera and Bill Champlin, the co-writers of the track.
Side two opens with “Along Comes a Woman”, the fourth and final single. It went to number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 25 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and number 10 on the Mainstream Rock charts. I really like the rhythm on this one, very infectious and catchy.
“You’re the Inspiration”, the third single, went to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. There is no denying that the song is beautifully done, from the orchestration to the declaration of love in the lyrics.
“Please Hold On” was co-written by the band’s guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Champlin, Lionel Richie and Foster. Champlin takes the lead on this funkier groove. I like the swagger to the rhythm and the supporting horn sections.
“Prima Donna” appeared on the soundtrack for the motion picture Two of a Kind which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The song is an up-tempo number with rocking guitars.
The final track “Once in a Lifetime” was written by the band’s trombone player James Pankow. No surprise it features some great elements for his instrument too.
I was in my freshman year of college when Chicago 17 was released. While my music tastes were firmly entrenched in the new-wave/alternative and R&B/dance camps at the time, I still occasionally would revisit lighter Top 40 sounds for a break. It would be there and some night spots that I would occasionally hear the songs from this record. I definitely enjoyed Chicago a lot as my early days of music listening as a child and pre-teen fell into this category. There is no denying that Chicago made some amazing music that could be enjoyed by a large audience from various walks of life.