Music inspiration: Chicago

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It hasn’t been quite a decade since I picked up my first Chicago record, but they’re owed a spot on the blog. Here I share why there’s a special place in my heart for Chicago.

Previously I’ve written a short series of decade-long musical obsessions, starting with Jamiroquai, Radiohead and Black Flag. I can follow chapters of my life by those musicians, some of which have become part of a circle, re-entering my life in new and different ways.

Chicago is one of them.

My initial interest in Chicago is probably due to my parents. I’ve got to hand it to my mom for listening to music by James Taylor, Carly Simon, Carole King, and Helen Ready (who we’ll be seeing in NYC this March). Chicago wasn’t one of the primary artists she listened to, but it was frequented on the radio stations and I was easily drawn in.

Chicago is a favorite of mine for obvious reasons – the brass and full-band sound is important to me. Even though I grew up learning to play piano and later flute in the school’s concert band, it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized how much this resonated with me. And that’s because of Bek.

Bek brought her record player when we moved in to Hines Hall together. She inherited her music sense from her father Les, and also some of his records. While Bek was more interested in Genesis and Joan of Arc, we both learned from each other and Chicago was this middle ground that we knew well and enjoyed.

It wasn’t until about 2-3 years ago that I really started to backtrack to these musical milestones that were essential parts of my life, and I owe that to services like Spotify and Pandora. I used to purchase, download and store gigs and gigs of music to harddrives that just kept crashing and failing. Sometime I’ll tell you about when I broke down and hyperventilated over an external harddrive. Really. But now that music is more accessible, I’ve picked back up on things I don’t have copies of anymore, like jazz music and all of these other obsessions that are coming back into my life.

We also have a record player now. When I visited the library book sale last month I purchased a handful of records for 50 cents:

  • Chicago IX – Chicago’s Greatest Hits, 1975
  • Sounds of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel, 1966
  • From Here to Eternity – Giorgio Moroder, 1977
  • Tapestry – Carole King, 1971
  • Business as Usual – Men at Work, 1981
  • Golden Hits Part One – Dionne Warwick, 1967
  • Original Cast Record – Sesame Street, 1970

On a random trip to Indy CD & Vinyl to catch a local performer, I found their “budget vinyl” section with various artists priced from 50 cents to a few bucks. I’m heading back this weekend to check out the jazz section. Vinyl just sounds so good…

So anyway, that’s how I feel about Chicago. I think I’m going through a nostalgic phase, and it feels good to share this with others in hopes that you’re inspired to pull out that long-lost record and sing the lyrics that never were never really lost in the first place.


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  • Kalamity Kelli

    Such a great post! Music is the soundtrack of our lives and all those artists you mentioned as your mom’s favorite, were mine too – the first time around! :) I gave my daughter a love for Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, JT, and Carole King – Chicago is one of our faves as well. I remember clearly being in my cousin’s bedroom hearing this Chicago Transit Authority for the first time. Just a bunch a band geeks (I played piano and clarinet in marching and concertband) who went to college and made a little record……then became famous! My husband and I have a record player but we also frame our records and use them as art throughout our house. I have “themes” as well as specific artists that we put up ever month or so – I’m looking forward to my Halloween theme which includes “Dark Shadows” and Monster Mash albums – anything that looks scary! :) My favorite is the Stevie Nicks collection though……….ahhhhhhhhhhh……… I’m just rambling! :) Such a wonderful post and thanks for bringing back great memories!

    • solidgoldeats

      I LOVE how you theme your interior design around the covers! What a great idea! I want to try that now that you bring it up, haha. Glad I could bring back some warm memories :)

  • Wade Wingler

    Chicago was the soundtrack for much of my high school years! I saw them the summer between my junior and senior year in high school. It was an awesome show! Bela Fleck opened up for them which helped me find him, another of my favorites. I was fortunate enough to meet Bela after one of his concerts a few years ago and told him how I discovered him when he was opening for Chicago “back in the day”. He looked at me and said “Dude, I remember that show in Indy. We’re both old!”

    • solidgoldeats

      I would like to see them someday! Haha you’re not old, Wade. But I’ll never forget the train ride in DC when we were “visiting to look at colleges….” bahahahaha.

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