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The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning

Released: Jul 2, 2002; Recording Dates: January 27, 1969 till late January 1995; Produced by James William Guercio, Phil Ramone, Chicago, David Foster, Chas Sandford, Ron Nevison, Bruce Fairbairn

Original Chicago Members:

Robert Lamm - Lead and Backing Vocals; Keyboards; Percussion (all tracks)
Terry Kath - Lead and Backing Vocals; Guitars; Bass on tracks 15 and 17 (disc 1); Percussion (from 1967 till 1978)
Peter Cetera - Lead and Backing Vocals; Bass (from 1967 till 1985)
James Pankow - Trombone; Percussion; Backing Vocals (all tracks)
Lee Loughname - Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Percussion; Backing Vocals (all tracks)
Walter Parazaider - Woodwind; Percussion; Backing Vocals (all tracks)
Daniel Seraphine - Drums, Percussion; Backing Vocals (from 1967 till 1990)

Other members:

Laudir De Oliveira - Percussion, Conga; Backing Vocals (from 1973 till 1980)
Donnie Dacus - Guitars, Lead and Backing Vocals (from 1978 till 1980)
Chris Pinnick - Guitars (from 1980 till 1984)
Bill Champlin - Lead and Backing Vocals; Keyboards; Guitar (after 1981)
Jason Scheff - Lead and Backing Vocals; Bass (after 1985)
Dawayne Bailey - Guitars; Backing Vocals (from 1986 till 1994)
Tris Imboden - Drums; Harmonica (after 1990)
Bruce Gaitsch - Lead and Rythm Guitars (after 1994)
Keith Howland - Lead Guitar (after 1995)

There are also other session musicians who play on the different songs.




Disc 1      
1)   Make Me Smile   (James Pankow) Terry Kath 1970 10.0
2)   25 or 6 to 4    (Robert Lamm) Peter Cetera 1970 10.0
3)   Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  (Robert Lamm) Robert Lamm 1969 10.0
4)   Beginnings    (Robert Lamm) Robert Lamm 1969    9.0
5)   Questions 67 and 68    (Robert Lamm) Peter and Robert 1969 10.0
6)   I'm A Man     (Jimmy Miller/Steve Winwood) Terry, Peter and Robert 1969    9.1
7)   Colour My World   (James Pankow) Terry Kath 1970 10.0
8)   Free   (Robert Lamm)   Terry Kath 1971    8.5
9)   Lowdown   (Peter Cetera/Danny Seraphine) Peter Cetera 1971    7.8
10) Saturday in the Park    (Robert Lamm) Robert Lamm 1972 10.0
11) Dialogue (Part I & II)    (Robert Lamm)   Terry and Peter 1972    8.0
12) Just You 'N' Me     (James Pankow) Peter Cetera 1973 10.0
13) Feelin' Stronger Every Day  (Peter Cetera/James Pankow) Peter and Terry 1973 10.0
14) (I've Been) Searchin' So Long    (James Pankow) Peter Cetera 1974    8.6
15) Wishing You Were Here   (Peter Cetera) Terry and Peter 1974    8.8
16) Call on Me   (Lee Loughnane)  Peter Cetera 1974      8.4  
17) Happy Man   (Peter Cetera)  Peter Cetera 1974     8.4 
18) Another Rainy Day in New York City   (Robert Lamm)  Peter Cetera 1976    7.0
19) If You Leave Me Now   (Peter Cetera)  Peter Cetera 1976 10.0
Disc 1 Ave.     9.14
Disc 2      
1)   Old Days   (James Pankow)  Peter Cetera 1975 10.0
2)   Baby, What a Big Surprise   (Peter Cetera)  Peter Cetera 1977    7.6
3)   Take Me Back to Chicago  (Danny Seraphine/David Wolinski) Robert Lamm 1977    7.0
4)   Alive Again    (James Pankow) Peter Cetera 1978    7.0
5)   No Tell Lover  (Peter Cetera/Lee Loughnane/Danny Seraphine)  Peter and Donnie 1978    7.6
6)   Love Me Tomorrow   (Peter Cetera/David Foster) Peter Cetera 1982    7.0
7)   Hard To Say I'm Sorry/Get Away (Peter Cetera/David Foster/Robert Lamm) Peter and Bill 1982    8.0
8)   Stay The Night   (Peter Cetera/David Foster) Peter Cetera 1984    6.8
9)   Hard Habit to Break   (Steve Kipner/John Parker) Peter and Bill 1984    7.0 
10) You're The Inspiration   (Peter Cetera/David Foster) Peter Cetera 1984    7.1
11) Along Comes a Woman   (Peter Cetera/Mark Goldenberg) Peter Cetera 1984    6.8
12) Will You Still Love Me? (David Foster/Tom Keane/Richard Baskin) Jason Scheff 1986    7.0
13) If She Would Have Been Faithful (Randy Goodrum/Steve Kipner) Jason Scheff 1986    6.3
14) Look Away   (Diane Warren) Bill Champlin 1988    6.5
15) What Kind Of Man Would I Be (Jason Scheff/Bobby Caldwell/Chas Sandford) Jason Scheff 1988    6.4
16) I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love  (Diane Warren/Albert Hammond) Bill Champlin 1988    7.0
17) We Can Last Forever   (Jason Scheff/John Dexter) Jason Scheff 1988    6.5
18) You're Not Alone   (Jim Scott) Bill Champlin 1988    7.5
19) Chasin' The Wind   (Diane Warren) Jason Schef 1991     6.3 
20) Sing, Sing, Sing - with the Gipsy Kings   (Louis Prima) Gipsy Kings 1995     6.2 
Disc 2 Ave.        7.08
Disc 1 & 2  Ave.        8.08


I've never been a big fan of Jazz, Delta Blues, or any band that has a lot of horns in their music. Some horns in music are cool to me as long as they aren't overwhelming. The exception to this has always been the band Chicago. I'm not sure why I love the sound of the horns in this band, but I always did.

The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning, is one very long CD indeed! Disc one clocks in at over 79 minutes, with disc two right at 78 minutes, a total of 39 songs. For me, the first disc, along with the first two songs on the second disc, would had been enough for my ears in one sitting. Not that disc two is bad, just too many songs that sound the same on this one, unlike disc one. Also, on the last 9 songs on disc two, the lead vocals are all sung by the newer members of the band, and I did enjoy the original members singing more, guess I miss hearing them. So no question, as far as the vocals go, disc one has the best songs on it.

I rate ten songs a 10.0 on this CD, with nine of them found on disc one. Out of those my favorites are hard to pick, so many golden oldies on here, but I'll try. Robert Lamm's "Saturday in the Park" is my all time favorite Chicago song. It reminds me of this old park in Brooklyn, NY, that I used to go to as a preteen, right down to remembering an old man pushing a cart selling ice cream and singing Italian songs. Yes, this song really takes me back, just like it is suppose to.

Other top favorite songs of mine on this greatest hits package are "Colour My World", written by James Pankow, who wrote many of their early hits. Terry Kath who usually had a rougher voice, sings this one in a perfect and very mellow tone, with Walter Parazaider playing the excellent flute. Then we have "Make Me Smile",  a song that at first almost sounds like it will be a sad song, but becomes totally positive once past its opening lyrics. "25 or 6 to 4" is another one I dig a lot. The title is in reference to the early morning hour of the day when Pankow began to write the lyrics. "Just You 'N' Me" is a happy-go-lucky love song that you just have to dig, and "Old Days" is yet another tune that looks back on one's life.

Disc two does have several big hits on it, including the number one "Look Away", which I only rate a 6.5. So just because I don't rate this second disc too high, doesn't really mean anything. Obviously many fans do love all the songs found on it. Overall, this two and a half hour collection of songs is well worth the price!

- Keno 2010

To listen to some soundclips from The Very Best of Chicago, or to purchase it, click on:The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning

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