From the Vault...


"Chicago IX-Chicago's Greatest Hits"

© Columbia Records


track listing
  • 25 Or 6 To 4
  • Does Anybody Really
    Know What Time
    It Is
  • Colour My World
  • Just You N Me
  • Saturday In The Park
  • Feelin' Stronger Every Day
  • Make Me Smile
  • Wishing You Were Here
  • Call On Me
  • (I've Been)
    Searchin' So Long
  • Beginnings

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Chicago related sites:
    Chicago Website
    Previous Review: #1411
    Shadoe Stevens--American Top 40: February 16, 1992
    Next Review: #1413
    Gene Vincent--Capitol Collectors Series
    "Chicago IX-Chicago's Greatest Hits"

    1967 to 1978 were the core years of the band Chicago. The reason why, was the superior guitarist/singer Terry Kath. His powerful voice, and amazing guitar playing, added to the exceptional horn section of Chicago produced perfection music through these years. We can only imagine what Terry Kath would have become, as he was playing Russian Roulette at a party (and drinking), and telling his friends "the gun isn't loaded," picked it up, placed it to his head, and the gun went off, killing him on January 23, 1978. (He had an interest in guns, as he would always have one, and enjoy playing with them.) At the time of his death, he was known to have an abuse with drugs and alcohol. He was known not be suicidal, as his death was ruled an accident.

    Chicago's album output with Kath were 10 (X) albums. Like most bands, their future was undetermined; as most bands would disband. But Chicago continued onwards, producing more incredible music in the 1980s decade. Chicago IX-Chicago's Greatest Hits (some considered this as the first greatest hits compilation) would be the best tracks featuring Terry Kath as vocalist and guitarist.

    The superior hits are here, and for any Rock music fan, these songs are easily remembered and enjoyed: "25 Or 6 To 4", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," "Colour My World," "Just You N Me," "Saturday In The Park," "Feelin' Stronger Every Day," "Make Me Smile," "Wishing You Were Here," "Beginnings." The only songs (that I didn't remember) were "Call On Me" and "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long." The "short versions" of "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," and ""Make Me Smile" are here, although the "long versions" of "25 Or 6 To 4" and "Beginnings" are included. Terry Kath, Peter Cetera and Robert Lamm provided lead vocals on the this compilation.

    Ever wonder what the meaning of "25 Or 6 To 4" is? From the song's Wikipedia page: Speculation that the song's lyrics are drug related has been largely dismissed. (songwriter Robert) Lamm himself says that the title is "just a reference to the time of day" and that "the song is about writing a song. It's not mystical." The time of day in reference is 3:35 AM (or 3:34 AM), which would then be 25 (or 26) minutes to 4 AM.

    Here's another "what is he saying?" : There is a spoken word sequence in "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is" -- especially listening on headphones. Of course, it just be a little difficult to hear, with the music over it: "People runnin' everywhere, Don't know the way to go, Don't know where I am, Can't see past the next step, Don't have to think past the last mile, Have no time to look around, Just run around, run around and think why. Does anybody really know what time it is (I don't), Does anybody really care (care), If so I can't imagine why (about time), We've all got time enough to die (Oh no, no).

    We always often wondered if artists who passed away from tragic accidents would have accomplished. Terry Kath had the opportunity to meet Jimi Hendrix, and Hendrix stated that Kath was the best guitarist he ever heard. What a compliment! Hendrix would no doubt, be one of Rock's greatest guitarists of all time. Kath was no exception: He was another accomplished guitar player (and singer). His guitar work on Chicago's debut album truly stands out -- Check out his feedback on the album's "Free Form Guitar." I'm sure Hendrix was easily impressed of this particular track.

    At the time of his death, many were saying he wasn't happy: Not happy with Chicago's music? That could have been a possibility, as he was planning a solo album. His demons with drugs and alcohol were also there. A solo career may have launched another venture in his career, and the question of him returning to Chicago in the upcoming decade would be determined. We will never know. In the year 2012, his daughter Michelle announced that there will be a documentary of her father's life, due to be released in 2015.

    It is just a surprise, that not a lot of songs with Terry Kath did not reach #1 in the 1970s. "If You Leave Me Now" hit #1 in 1976. (This song is not on the Chicago IX-Greatest Hits compilation.) "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" would be their second #1, in 1982. "Look Away" hit #1 in 1988, with lead singer Jason Scheff (son of Elvis Presley's bassist, Jerry). However, Chicago did reach #1 on the Billboard Albums chart: Chicago V (1972), Chicago VI (1973), Chicago VII (1974). More hits followed in the 1980s. They still continue to record and tour.

    Another surprise, is that the band Chicago is not yet to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hame Fame. Hopefully soon, this will be a reality.
    UPDATE: Chicago was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

    Chicago IX-Chicago's Greatest Hits is a great compilation, consisting of songs with Terry Kath. Their first album Chicago Transit Authority is another must to have, as the songs there traveled in more Jazz/Rock. Many claim the voice of Chicago is/was Peter Cetera, with the love themed based songs. Terry Kath started it all, and was the driving force of a Jazz/Rock group. Another close comparison to Chicago, was Blood, Sweat & Tears, with vocalist David Clayton-Thomas. BS&T also traveled into Jazz and Rock. Imagine a group of Terry and David had Terry lived. Or both bands touring together.

    To many, Terry Kath was Chicago. To others, Terry Kath still is Chicago. Long live Terry Kath.

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    Previous Review: #1411
    Shadoe Stevens--American Top 40: February 16, 1992
    Next Review: #1413
    Gene Vincent--Capitol Collectors Series