Chicago, “Goodbye” from Chicago V (1972): Saturdays in the Park

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The story goes that Peter Cetera doesn’t like jazz. If it’s true, his distaste for the genre known as America’s classical music isn’t apparent on “Goodbye,” the final Robert Lamm gem on Chicago V.

This jazz-rock track is mostly the former and while Cetera’s singing is not jazz in the purest sense it fits the arrangement very well. It’s one of the finer vocals he laid down during Chicago’s experimental, pre-Caribou years, with no sweetness or pretentiousness added.

James Pankow’s pleasant horn chart is more conventional than most of the others he wrote for this record and Lee Loughnane’s trumpet solo adds a nice color.

Lyrically, Lamm is a bit cryptic – it feels like he is trying to be a self-absorbed singer-songwriter here – but the message he conveyed is one of astonishment at how much of the world the band has seen over the last three years while being grateful he’s getting out of Los Angeles, a place he doesn’t appear to enjoy at all:

I’m away for the day
Feels so good to be soaring
‘Cause L.A. was so boring
There must be room for growing
Somewhere else and I’m going
The days and nights have gone dry
The last three whole years have flashed by.

Good job, Mr. Lamm. It’s too bad your dominance over the song writing would soon come to an end.

Charlie Ricci

Charlie Ricci

Charlie Ricci maintains Bloggerhythms, where he talks about music, concerts, and a wide range of other musical topics. In August 2008, his site placed at No. 87 on a list of the Top 100 music-related blogs according to Alexa, a web ranking service. Contact Something Else! at
Charlie Ricci
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  • l.nichelle

    first time I heard this song I thought it was 3 different songs – the tempo changes several times! it’s one of my faves off V. PC does sound really good – vocally and bass-ically. love JP’s trombone on the “…..feels so good to be soaring…..” part. sad to realize this album was their “goodbye” to their incredible original jazz/rock sound. thanks for this Chicago segment – I’m absolutely loving it!