In his recently released memoir The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis speaks rhapsodically about one band he signed to Columbia Records who went on “to be one of the best-selling bands of the seventies…[and] successful in every succeeding decade, selling millions of albums along the way.” The mogul added, “They’re still active, and every year their fans lobby relentlessly for them to be nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor the band very much deserves.” Davis is, of course, speaking of Chicago. The septet’s third album, and third consecutive 2-LP set, arrived on Columbia in 1971, and now Chicago III is returning to compact disc in an expanded edition from Friday Music set for release on March 12.
Though the group met with great success in the singles market thanks to melodic pop gems like “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” “Beginnings,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World” (all from the band’s remarkable first two albums), Chicago’s heart and soul initially seemed to be with extended musical suites that best displayed the group’s unmistakable fusion of rock, jazz and soul. Chicago III, produced as its predecessors had been by James William Guercio, was recorded in November 1970 at Columbia’s New York studios after a busy year for the band. It included three extended pieces: Terry Kath’s “An Hour in the Shower,” James Pankow’s “Elegy,” and “Travel Suite,” a collaborative effort with an emphasis on Robert Lamm’s songs. Four shorter tracks – well, relatively speaking! – began the sprawling album, but its most successful single (Lamm’s No. 2 hit “Free”) was, in fact, extracted from the “Travel Suite.” Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine’s “Lowdown” charted, too, hitting a peak of No. 35.
After the jump: details on the bonus tracks, a pre-order link, track listing and more!
Despite not having a Top 10 single (debut Chicago Transit Authority eventually notched two such hits in a slow rise up the charts, and follow-up Chicago had three!), Chicago II nonetheless managed to capitalize on the band’s popularity and reached the No. 2 spot on the Billboard album chart during a stay of 63 weeks. It built on the diversity of the first two albums, incorporating funk and even country to the heady rock-jazz brew, and many of its adventurous songs were rooted in a strong social consciousness. The album was the band’s first to use a Roman numeral in the title, beginning a long-standing tradition that continues to the present day and featured another striking cover depiction of the band’s logo.
The 23-track album from the original Chicago – Robert Lamm, Terry Kath, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Lee Loughnane, Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine – was most recently reissued on CD in 2002 by Rhino Records. Unlike most of the other titles in that comprehensive reissue series, it included no bonus material. That disc is now out-of-print. Friday Music is setting out to rectify this, and has promised rare tracks. Online retailers are currently showing the two bonus tracks as the mono single edit of Lamm’s “Free” and the Japanese stereo single version of Cetera and Seraphine’s “Lowdown.”
Friday Music’s expanded reissue of Chicago III will hit stores on March 12 and follows the label’s 2012 reissue of 1978’s Hot Streets (which contained the same bonus material as the Rhino reissue). You can pre-order Chicago III at the link below!
Chicago, Chicago III (Columbia LP C2-30110, 1971 – reissued Friday Music, 2013)
- Sing a Mean Tune, Kid
- Loneliness is Just a Word
- What Else Can I Say
- I Don’t Want Your Money
- Motorboat to Mars
- Free Country
- At the Sunrise
- Happy ‘Cause I’m Going Home
- A Hard Risin’ Morning Without Breakfast
- Off to Work
- Fallin’ Out
- Dreamin’ Home
- Morning Blues Again
- When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow
- Once Upon a Time…
- The Approaching Storm
- Man vs. Man: The End
- Free (Bonus Track) (Columbia single 4-45331, 1971 – Mono 45 Edit)
- Lowdown (Bonus Track) (Japanese Stereo 45)
Tracks 5-12: Travel Suite
Tracks 13-17: An Hour in the Shower
Tracks 18-23: Elegy