I just got Chicago IX Chicago's Greatest Hits CD and am listening to it as I write this post. These eleven hits are from the band's earlier days. I love their music, and I finally get why.
I was in college when Chicago Transit Authority (or CTA) hit it big with Make Me Smile, but the song title says it all. It was 1970 or so, and most of the music getting airplay was depressing. Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town and Galveston, for example, were anti-war songs. One Tin Soldier had become the generation's anthem (downer!), and we had our fill of songs like Eve of Destruction. Simon and Garfunkle and Bob Dylan seemed incapable of recording a happy song. Then came Chicago (they shortened their name after their first hit).
Oh happy day! Rock and roll meets brass orchestra pop. It was pure pleasure, and it made me smile. When you look back at the music of that era, you can't deny that Chicago's music was a turning point for the generation. Chicago paved the way for other upbeat artists, like Elton John and Billy Joel (who had a few depressing tunes but most are positive), ABBA, Paul McCartney and Wings and eventually disco. Even if you hated disco, you couldn't stand still for it. It was happy, fun, foot-tapping music.
So excuse me while I return to my nostalgic trip with Chicago. It's a harmless escape, one I highly recommend.