It is one of the great mysteries of rock and roll history as to why it took until 2016 to put Chicago in the rock and roll hall of fame. They should’ve been in on the basis of their first two double albums if nothing else. It just makes no sense. There must have been a huge amount of blow back because of all those power ballads in the 80s, which were different than the early records. And somehow they survived both the unexpected loss of Terry Kath their great guitar player and leader, and then the loss of their chief tenor voice— Peter Cetera. And yet somehow they are still rocking today, and doing fun tours with Earth, Wind, and Fire and REO Speedwagon.
I saw this band in its original format and lineup in Winston Salem in a hall that had horrible acoustics. Somehow, they were still good. This must have been about 1970. They’ve gone through a lot of changes, and some of their recent albums are pretty darn good. There were only three bands really with horn sections like that—- Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, and the less well known but really excellent British band If. Of these three Chicago had both the most hits, and the longevity. For my money the best vocalist of the three bands was David Clayton Thomas of BST, but Robert Lamm and Peter Cetera were great as well. There is such a contrast between a band like Chicago and an awful lot of what passes for music these days: 1) these guys could actually read music; 2) these guys could actually write their own songs; 3) these guys played real musical instruments and did not depend on synthesizer generated filler, or sampling, or endless four letter words and too much rhythmic talking. You get my drift— they were real musicians with real musical skills beyond singing or talking. In any case, justice has finally been done, and they have their place in Cleveland. It’s about time, but then the band always did say— ‘Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care? If so I can’t imagine why….’