|Studio album by|
|Released||March 11, 1974|
|Recorded||August – December 1973, Caribou Ranch, Nederland, Colorado|
|Genre||Jazz fusion, soft rock, Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock|
|Producer||James William Guercio|
|Singles from Chicago VII|
|Rolling Stone||(not rated)|
Chicago VII is the sixth studio album by American rock band Chicago and was released in 1974. It is notable for being their first double album of new material since 1971's Chicago III, and remains their final studio release in that format. It also features session percussionist Laudir de Oliveira, who had become a full-fledged band member.
While touring in support of Chicago VI in 1973, the band began getting restless and started integrating some lengthy jazz instrumentals into their sets. While audiences' reactions varied, Chicago greatly enjoyed the experience, decided (after years of talking about it) to record a pure jazz-influenced set of tracks, and headed straight to producer James William Guercio's Caribou Ranch studios to cut their ambitious new album.
While the sessions began well, there was soon dissension within the group about the jazz project, with, reportedly, Peter Cetera and Guercio both wary of the commercial risk of such an undertaking. While the band reasoned that some of the jazzy material was too good to throw away, the others finally relented and accepted including the more pop and rock-oriented songs that the band had composed in the meantime. Almost by accident, Chicago had another double album on their hands.
Of the more conventional material, Chicago once again turned in a varied set of songs, with Terry Kath's "Byblos", named after a club that Chicago had played in Osaka, Japan, ranking among his best efforts. Robert Lamm, who was recording a solo album entitled Skinny Boy at the time, turned in several new songs, even donating his solo album's title track, featuring The Pointer Sisters on backing vocals. James Pankow came through with another success, "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long" (#9), and trumpeter Lee Loughnane succeeded on his first try at songwriting with the hit "Call on Me" (#6). Peter Cetera made the biggest strides on Chicago VII, composing "Happy Man" and "Wishing You Were Here" (#11), a lush ballad (signs of the future) that features three of The Beach Boys on backing vocals and which became a big hit in late 1974. "Happy Man" was subsequently covered by Tony Orlando and Dawn on their album To Be With You.
Chicago VII is notable for having writing contributions from all (and only) the members of the band, and for having most of the members stretching out in new ways: Loughnane sang lead ("Song of the Evergreens") and wrote a song, Pankow sang backup, Kath played bass, Cetera played guitar, and Walter Parazaider and Danny Seraphine composed.
Released in March 1974, Chicago VII - despite its first disc being almost exclusively jazz instrumentals - debuted at #1 in the US, becoming another big success for the band.
The album was mixed and released in both stereo and quadraphonic. In 2002, Chicago VII was remastered and reissued on one CD by Rhino Records with one bonus track: an early rehearsal of Kath's "Byblos". Initial pressings of this edition contained an edited version of the track "Happy Man" that had appeared on Greatest Hits, Volume II, which omitted the "false start" and studio countdown heard on the original Chicago VII LP.
|1.||"Prelude to Aire"||Danny Seraphine||Instrumental||2:47|
|2.||"Aire"||Seraphine/Walter Parazaider/James Pankow||Instrumental||6:27|
|4.||"Italian from New York"||Robert Lamm||Instrumental||4:14|
|7.||"Happy Man"||Peter Cetera||Cetera||3:34|
|8.||"(I've Been) Searchin' So Long"||Pankow||Cetera||4:29|
|9.||"Mongonucleosis"||Pankow||Cetera/Lamm/Pankow (briefly at the beginning)||3:26|
|10.||"Song of the Evergreens"||Terry Kath||Lee Loughnane||5:20|
|12.||"Wishing You Were Here"||Cetera||Kath/Cetera||4:37|
|13.||"Call on Me"||Loughnane||Cetera||4:02|
|14.||"Woman Don't Want to Love Me"||Lamm||Cetera||4:35|
|1974||Billboard Pop Albums||1|
|1974||"(I've Been) Searchin' So Long"||Billboard Pop Singles||9|
|1974||"Call on Me"||Billboard Adult Contemporary||1|
|1974||"Call on Me"||Billboard Pop Singles||6|
|1974||"Wishing You Were Here"||Billboard Adult Contemporary||1|
|1974||"Wishing You Were Here"||Billboard Pop Singles||11|
|RIAA – USA||Gold||March 18, 1974|
|RIAA – USA||Platinum||November 21, 1986|