Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chicago 17 (1984)

Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.  For you audiophiles, my copy is a Target CD pressed in Japan.

A perfect AOR/west coast/yacht rock storm of David Foster, Peter Cetera, and Bill Champlain, with a little Lionel Richie, Richard Marx, and Donny Osmond thrown in for good measure. This one was huge, the group's best-selling album ever, with 4 of the album's 6 tunes charting in the Top 40, 2 of those broke into the Top 10.

This is an album I hadn't heard in years when I bought the CD, but I must have listened to it all the time in 1984, because when I gave it a spin, I sang along with every song (which seemed to bother other people on the bus. Sourpusses.). I am partial to 16, but I'm glad I picked up this one.

Cetera left the band (or was run out of the band, depending on who is telling the story) after this album, but the band kept hitting with ballads, and while Champlain has a fine voice, they just weren't the same to me.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #4
Peak on the Billboard Pop CD chart*: #13
Peak on the Billboard Rock Album chart: #6
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #5
Peak on the CashBox CD chart*: #3
Peak on the Rolling Stone chart: #6

Tracks:  You know the hits (Stay the Night, Hard Habit To Break, Along Comes A Woman, and You're The Inspiration) but don't overlook We Can Stop The Hurtin' or Only You. The only skippable track is Prima Donna.

For more information on the brief life of the CD longbox,
go visit The Legend of the Longbox.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: The song Hard Habit To Break (co-written by Steve Kipner) reminds me of a beautiful young woman we'll call Susan because that was her name. I was 18, she was 17 and we tried to start an ill-fated long distance relationship in the summer of '84. In her daily letters, she would mention that Hard Habit To Break was "our song."  Why she thought a break-up song was appropriate for us, I'll never know. Self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps. 

I saw the band on their 1985 tour where they were promoting this album. I traveled from Commerce to Ft. Worth with several friends from the dorm I lived in, plus a few members of the university's women's basketball team (long story). I think there were ten of us in all. It was the only concert I ever attended that had a comedian for an opening act (Alan Kaye, maybe?). During the encore, the band sang their current hit, Stay The Night, and I can still hear 10,000 teenage girls yelling, "STAAAAAAY THE NIGHT!" along with Peter Cetera while the band played. I've never been able to properly enjoy that song since.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Only The Beginning: The Very Best Of Chicago (2002)
Greatest Hits 1982-1989 (1989)
Chicago 16 (1982)

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