Chicago’s “At the Sunrise” is a song I always forget about. It’s a pretty, well-performed tracks, with standard “I miss my baby” lyrics that really don’t have anything to do with travel, but has been shoehorned into the “Travel Suite” on 1971’s Chicago III. The arrangement is Beatles-esque, but doesn’t bring to mind any particular Beatles song. It’s also a bit of a relief to hear a standard pop song after the harshness of “Free” and the weirdness of “Free Country.”
So why is it overlooked? Maybe because the Chicago III album has so many great songs, and this one just falls through the cracks? The song isn’t particularly memorable, and isn’t well-known outside the Chicago fan base, but I believe almost anyone who likes good pop songs would enjoy it.
My favorite aspect of “At the Sunrise” is that great Robert Lamm-Peter Cetera vocal trade-off. They’ve used this device before, in “Questions 67 and 68,” “Poem for the People,” and “Wake Up Sunshine,” and will go back to it for one of Chicago’s most memorable chart hits coming up on the next studio album. I can definitely dig it, yes I can, and wonder why they stopped singing together?
And I wonder, if many years later, Vince Neil and his crue used “At the Sunrise” as the inspiration for another travel-related song? Probably not, but the piano part at the beginning certainly sounds like a shout-out. Who knows what they were listening to on that bus? After all, Vince did record his own cover of “25 or 6 to 4.”
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- Chicago, “At the Sunrise” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park - October 22, 2016