In keeping with recent posts on bands with horns (no not Slipknot) this might be one of the greatest examples of distorted guitars and horns successfully working together. The song came from the second Chicago album recorded in 1969 and released in January 1970. Both single and album went to No.4 on the US charts, the single went to No.7 in the UK.
In this live version, the late Terry Kath plays a blistering solo that doesn’t quite find it’s place in the mix. Jimi Hendrix might tell you, that’s the difference between being in a seven-piece band compared to a three-piece band, although the brass section isn’t playing during the solo. Still, it’s a state of mind and you have to fit into the sonic picture of the band, Hendrix was free to dominate the sonic picture and his guitar tone was set up accordingly. As far as the solo itself, you might be able to see why Hendrix declared that Kath was a better guitarist than him in the style of the day. Kath accidentally shot himself in 1978 and although “It’s ok it’s not loaded” might not have been his exact last words, the sentiment is correct, as he placed a 9 mm pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.
Peter Cetera (the singer and bass player on this track) left the band in 1985, original drummer Danny Seraphine left in 1990, leaving the core brass section of Lee Loughnane on trumpet, Walter Parazaider on saxophone, James Pankow on trombone and Robert Lamm on keyboards. It was Lamm that wrote 25 or 6 to 4 as well as other famous early Chicago classics such as Saturday In The Park and Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?
Chicago’s experiments with brass and guitars, interesting compositions and lyrics would last for ten years and you will find some great music on their first eight albums. Later they became more balladeers with a schmaltzy sound. Most of their albums were given a number as a title and for better or worse, from their beginnings through their transitions they are now up to Chicago 38 – to date they have sold 100 million albums.
Go here for an In Deep Music Archive post about Terry Kath’s equipment: