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iOldies Music Store Home > Artist Biographies > Chicago


Artists - Chicago

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Artist Biographies: The Chicago Story


Chicago is a band that formed in 1967 in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is a rock and roll band that that has softened their music as they have aged and are now known as having a soft sound with ballads. The Chicago story explains, the band's peak of popularity was during the 1970s and 1980s when they were on tour and released their most popular album.


Chicago is only second to the Beach Boys when it comes to Billboard hits among American bands. They are also one of the longest running bands to produce hits in multiple decades as rock artists.  Their albums have combined to sell a total of 22 gold records and 18 platinum records. Eight of their albums have been certified as multi-platinum. With those albums they have garnered 21 top ten singles and five albums that have landed on the number one spot on the charts.  Sales of their albums have been very successful and launched them to the top of the ranks of American bands with over 38 million copies sold around the world.


Chicago was initially formed when a few students from DePaul University and a couple of their friends were playing in clubs. They decided to meet at the apartment of a saxophonist Walter Parazaider. Six of them were in attendance that night and they called themselves The Big Thing. They began playing cover tunes together at local hot spots and writing some of their own music on the side. After performing for a while they realized they needed another voice to round out the mix and give them a balanced sound. Peter Cetera was added to the group and the rest is history as his voice became the sound that Chicago is known for. 


In 1968, they moved to Los Angeles and signed with Columbia Records. They also changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority and began work on their very first album. The first album was the same name as their band and released in 1969. There was a mix of instrumental songs and different beats on this unique record. It sold one million copies within the first year.


With their popularity they also shortened their name to just Chicago. They were also threatened by a lawsuit from the real Chicago Transit Authority and did not want an ugly legal battle on their hands. Chicago continued writing music and touring with their albums, that came out in rapid succession each year after their tours. They are still on tour in smaller venues and reach a younger audience. They have released music in 6 different decades, but it hasn’t hit the top of the charts like it did in their early days when they were newer and edgier sounding.



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