Chicago, “Till the End of Time” from Chicago XI (1977): Saturdays in the Park

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Unlike its two immediate predecessors, and the very uneven 1974’s Chicago VII, there is no filler on 1977’s Chicago XI but every album has to have its weakest link and “Till the End of Time” wins that award here.

The song itself is a good one. As always, there is some nice work from the horn section courtesy of the tune’s composer, James Pankow. The arrangement includes a sleepy, mopey, but pleasant melody, and it’s finished off by another satisfying guitar solo by the great Terry Kath.

However, there is one big problem with “Till the End of Time.” Who told Pankow he can sing? Whoever made this decision should have listened to the final recording and stopped the horn section’s leader from embarrassing himself. I know James Pankow used to have legendary sing-offs among the three traditional vocalists to see whose work would best suit his song. Knowing that, can anyone envision a scenario in which Peter Cetera, Robert Lamm, or Kath couldn’t have sung this track better?

Chicago made its name in the early years by always emphasizing its strengths. One of the reasons they tarnished their legacy is that by this stage in their career they lost that ability and it easily shows itself here. I became a rabid fan of Chicago partly due to his major contributions to the band. Pankow is a great arranger and composer.

Why couldn’t he be satisfied with those talents?

‘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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