Chicago: Chicago songs that are totally underrated today
With a career spanning more than 40 years, Chicago is one of those bands referred to as “an institution.” And with more than 30 million albums sold, perhaps one of the biggest slights (aside from not being inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame) in music has to do with belittling the many ballads produced by Chicago. Hardcore fans had hoped that Chicago songs, prior to Peter Cetera’s 1976 smash hit ‘If You Leave Me Now’, would be rocking out with horn-laden numbers in the style of ’25 or 6 to 4 ‘.
And while Chicago continued to rock hard with fast-paced numbers like ‘Get Away’ and ‘Along Comes A Woman’, producer David Foster’s masterful touch created a symphonic approach to big numbers like ‘Hard to Say I’m Sorry’ and ‘ You are the inspiration. ‘ Consequently, the majority of CTA (Chicago Transit Authority, the band’s nickname in the early ’70s) were quickly alienated by the big, sweeping styles and decidedly in love (especially with songs that relegated the trumpet section to a background texture).
But honestly, some of these incredible pieces, with the incredible production keys and arrangements of maestro David Foster, are the best of Chicago. Chicago songs can span the gamut of styles beginning in 1967, but Peter Cetera’s voice never sounded bigger or better than on great ballads like ‘Hard Habit to Break’ and the aforementioned ‘Hard to Say I’m Sorry ‘.
Following Cetera’s departure in the mid-’80s, Jason Scheff took over and incredible (and underrated) songs like ‘Will You Still Love Me?’ and ‘What kind of man would I be?’ came out, blending the kind of orchestral style that marked David Foster’s production so well … and fitted perfectly with Chicago’s incredible lineup (including the world-class horn section). Bill Champlin gave Chicago a huge hit with ‘Look Away’ before the ’90s and grunge relegated the great precision of the melody to a thing of the past.
And while Chicago today favors the band’s early work during their 80s heyday, there’s no denying that songs like ‘Will You Still Love Me?’, ‘You’re the Inspiration’ and ‘Hard to Say I’ I’m sorry ‘may now be one of the most underrated works produced by Chicago. Chicago songs cover a wide spectrum, but the Foster / Chicago collaborations have to rank as some of the best recordings the band has ever made.