Chicago, “Never Been In Love Before” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

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Unfortunately, Robert Lamm was mostly pushed aside by the rest of the band after Chicago V for commercial reasons. Of course, that totally ignored the fact that Chicago was making a fabulous living on the hits he wrote for them.

Fortunately, Lamm’s writing skills remained, even as his influence on the band was withering away. If he was still writing the type of songs that helped make Chicago a household name, he kept them to himself and largely steered his vehicle down the same pop-rock road that James Guercio, Peter Cetera, and James Pankow were taking.

This change in Robert Lamm’s work gave us “Never Been In Love Before,” a fine example of the band’s new direction – and, in this case, their attempt at the mainstream was successful.

Lamm didn’t write straight love songs very often, but he did here. The typically good, double-tracked Cetera vocal and the sextet’s great horn section make it a satisfying listen, if not a memorable one. “Never Been In Love Before” is commercial enough to have been a hit, and it’s a lot better than most of what followed on their next album a year later.

Chicago VIII kick-started the band’s fall as a great alternative rock outfit, but at least “Never Been In Love Before” is a decent song. I’d probably like it more if wasn’t an indication of what Chicago was becoming.

‘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 reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Charlie Ricci
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