Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Italian From New York” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Italian From New York” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

You won’t find this on anyone’s list of Top 10 favorite Chicago songs, but “Italian from New York” proves just how versatile they were in the ’70s.

Chicago, “Devil’s Sweet” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Devil’s Sweet” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

Let’s start by saying jazz-fusion normally isn’t my cup of tea, so Chicago’s lengthy instrumental “Devil’s Sweet” came as a surprise.

Chicago, “Prelude to Aire / Aire” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Prelude to Aire / Aire” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago always denied being a jazz-fusion band. The opening songs on 1974’s underrated ‘Chicago VII’ say something different.

Chicago, “Beyond All Our Sorrows” (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Beyond All Our Sorrows” (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago’s Terry Kath delivers a raw, emotional performance not unlike John Lennon’s brilliant but bleak ‘Plastic Ono Band’ album.

Chicago, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

I don’t particularly like 1973’s ‘Chicago VI.’ There, I said it. Still, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” makes for an uplifting end.

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

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

Though Robert Lamm’s lyrics are usually straightforward, the quite cryptic “Rediscovery” is one of the coolest songs on 1973’s ‘Chicago VI.’

Chicago, “In Terms of Two” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “In Terms of Two” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Was “In Terms of Two” from 1973’s ‘Chicago VI’ the beginning of Peter Cetera’s eventual takeover of Chicago?

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

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

“Hollywood,” Robert Lamm’s outstanding contribution from 1973’s ‘Chicago VI,’ remains a highlight on a very uneven album.

Chicago, “Something in This City Changes People” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Something in This City Changes People” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

If more of 1973’s ‘Chicago VI’ had shown this kind of naked honesty, the album as a whole would be better regarded today.

Chicago, “What’s This World Comin’ To” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “What’s This World Comin’ To” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

One of the few social commentary songs on ‘Chicago VI,’ this funk workout was penned by James Pankow.