Chicago, “Wake Up Sunshine” from Chicago II (1970): Saturdays in the Park

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In the early era of Chicago, Robert Lamm could do no wrong. He had a plethora of tunes ready for the first three albums, and could pivot from style to style.

“Wake Up Sunshine,” from 1970’s Chicago II, initially seems like an unlikely Lamm contribution, with its pop friendly song structure, non-political lyrics and compact yet jaunty solos. However, this song shows what an effective craftsman Robert Lamm was in Chicago’s early stages. The chorus / chorus bridge song structure is seamless, and the trombone solo by James Pankow is a pure delight.

Lamm has always been more comfortable with his lower register and leaves the higher parts to Peter Cetera early on, while Danny Seraphine provides a backbeat which is deliciously sophisticated. This is one deep cut that I never get tired of – and it seems the band still enjoys it too, since “Wake Up Sunshine” is an enduring concert chestnut.

‘Saturdays in the Park’ is a multi-writer, song-by-song examination of the music of Chicago. Find it here at Something Else! each weekend.

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