Chicago, “Gone Long Gone” from ‘Hot Streets’ (1978): Saturdays in the Park

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Considering the circumstances under which it was recorded, it’s amazing 1978’s Hot Streets sounds as good as it does. My colleagues have discussed the effects of Terry Kath’s death and the hiring of Donnie Dacus on guitar, but this is also the first Chicago album not to have been produced by James William Guercio.

The band broke with their longtime producer and manager, citing musical and business differences, after the 1977’s Chicago XI and enlisted Phil Ramone for this one. They also moved from Guercio’s Caribou Ranch to Criteria Studios in Miami.

Themes of loss and renewal show up in several songs, including Peter Cetera’s “Gone Long Gone” which begins Side 2 of Hot Streets. At first, it may sound like he’s mourning the end of a relationship, but lines like “Hard facing another day/Just crying the night away/Said more than I meant to say/When I knew that you were gone” point to something more. Maybe this was his way of reacting to the death of his rhythm-section partner, or maybe he is saying a farewell to his old producer.

(Or maybe his dog ran away, or he wrecked his favorite car, or he saw Love Story on the late show and decided to write a song from the point of view of Ryan O’Neal’s character. Sometimes I wonder if musicians ever look at reviews and laugh at lyrical misinterpretations.)

In the wake of a traumatic event, people turn to what is familiar and comforting. That might explain why Cetera chose to arrange “Gone Long Gone” in the style of the Beatles, one of his favorite bands. You can hear echoes of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” in the acoustic and slide guitar introduction, and Robert Lamm’s piano solo could have fit on Rubber Soul or Revolver. Doesn’t it sound like a lost Rutles song?


‘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.

CelticGal

CelticGal

CelticGal grew up in northern Indiana and now lives on the back cover of the 'Chicago XI' album. A fan of Chicago (the Good Parts Version, e.g. the lineups with Peter Cetera) since 1978, she is the author of 'The Famous Becky's Island Chicago Reviews' and 'Becky's Island Music Trivia Quizzes,' found at www.beckysisland.com. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
CelticGal
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