Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Ain’t It Blue?” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Ain’t It Blue?” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

“Ain’t It Blue” was written in the spirit of Chicago’s early work and would easily fit on any of their classic, pre-Caribou Ranch records.

Chicago, “Long Time No See” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Long Time No See” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Not traditionally Chicago in any way, “Long Time No See” proves that Robert Lamm could still come up with something unique when he was motivated.

Chicago, “Oh Thank You Great Spirit” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Oh Thank You Great Spirit” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago is typically associated with horns, but “Oh Thank You Great Spirit” makes it clear that the rhythm section was the band’s heart and soul.

Chicago, “The Christmas Song” from Chicago XXV (1998): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “The Christmas Song” from Chicago XXV (1998): Saturdays in the Park

This is the Chicago I long for. It’s nice to see it return every now and then.

Chicago, “O Come All Ye Faithful” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “O Come All Ye Faithful” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998): Saturdays in the Park

“O Come All Ye Faithful,” featuring restrained, yet thoughtfully modern production from Roy Bittan, is one of my favorite Chicago Christmas songs.

Chicago, “Bethlehem” from What’s It Gonna Be Santa? (2003): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Bethlehem” from What’s It Gonna Be Santa? (2003): Saturdays in the Park

Bill Champlin is said to have always pushed new music on the band. This is once case where Chicago should said no.

Chicago, “Feliz Navidad” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Feliz Navidad” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998): Saturdays in the Park

“Feliz Navidad” is an upbeat Latin-tinged Christmas carol from the legendary Jose Feliciano – or at least it was until Chicago got a hold of it.

Chicago, “Harry Truman” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Harry Truman” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

One of the more unusual things Chicago ever recorded, “Harry Truman” could be considered a novelty song – but that doesn’t take away any of my enjoyment.

Chicago, “Till We Meet Again” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Till We Meet Again” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago’s “Till We Meet Again” is barely over two minutes long, and kindly labeled “filler.” Well-arranged filler, but filler nevertheless.

Chicago, “Hideaway” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Hideaway” from Chicago VIII (1975): Saturdays in the Park

As Chicago’s “Hideaway” illustrates, Peter Cetera could and did rock. But was this the beginning of the end?

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