Chicago, “Hollywood” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago’s Robert Lamm isn’t the only songwriter who lamented the downside of rock stardom. Jackson Browne issued a whole album whining about how tough a star’s life is on Running on Empty, and Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and friends also tackled the subject on Hotel California.

Considering Lamm’s distaste for Hollywood, it’s a wonder he hung around so long. It may have been to his benefit if he had followed his instincts and left town sooner because, while he may have checked out mentally, he could never leave. (Thank you for that lyric, Mr. Henley.) The town’s lifestyle eventually consumed Chicago’s best composer. Fortunately, today, the keyboard player is a happy man and a straight arrow.

“Hollywood,” Lamm’s outstanding contribution from 1973’s Chicago VI, is another in a series of tunes in which he admits the town confounds him. Its subject matter is in direct contrast to the upbeat, jazz-rock arrangement featuring blasting, high wattage horns and a very fine, happy sounding vocal by the composer.

If you don’t listen to the lyrics closely, you’ll believe its quite an uplifting song, bolstered by what is probably Laudir de Oliveira’s excellent conga work in the background, and a nice James Pankow trombone solo over the horns during the coda. The result is a highlight on a very uneven album.

‘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.

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
  • Peter M

    Definitely a gem on this album…in my Top 20 Chicago songs of all time!