Ever since their formation in 1967, Chicago has delivered countless musical innovations throughout the decade. Originally called the Chicago Transit Authority, the band took it to new levels in merging rock and roll with jazz. As they did, they had ushered a new face of music genre.
Guitars, both acoustic and electric, are known staples in rock and roll bands. But Chicago came to terms with using horns. Though horns weren’t new in the rock and roll music genre, it was the band that had a horn section that really worked it.
Chicago didn’t attain recognition with their debut album, Chicago Transit Authority, in 1969. However, they were able to do so in their second, Chicago, in 1970. Their second album had 3 tracks that nabbed Top 10 spots.
Despite undergoing changes, such as the death of Terry Kath and Peter Cetera’s departure, Chicago never stopped rocking. Their fanbase is as loyal as ever. The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning is the collection of the best hits of the band.
Read on to see Chicago’s songs from fantastic to sublime in The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning album:
39. Stay the Night
A Peter Cetera and David Foster composition that took the route to a harder rock genre. Cetera’s vocals sound more like strenuous barking around at the end of the song. The guitar works seem to have done in excess and even garish. Still, Cetera pulls it off with confidence.
“Free” exhibits the more unconventional side of Chicago. This song is the best example of jazz-rock that perfectly preserves the essence of rock and roll.
37. Baby, What A Big Surprise
A power ballad that became one of Chicago’s performance pieces. It is still one of the band’s biggest hits up to this day.
36. Just You ‘n’ Me
A romantic song that was written by James Pankow. The song is a mix of first and second styles of the band with some spontaneous aspects. A song with a brilliant easy-listening touch.
35. Happy Man
A crucial addition to Chicago’s arsenal of jazz music. Cetera’s vocals and soothing lyrics that make this track a piece to reminisce.
34. Alive Again
Upbeat and exuberant, “Alive Again” is an uplifting song that never fails to put a smile on everyone’s face.
33. Take Me Back to Chicago
Fantastic back-up vocals and thrilling bass by Cetera. The song doesn’t lack energy with its groovy style.
32. Wishing You Were Here
Terry Kath and Peter Cetera switch instruments for this song. Cetera played the guitar while Kath on bass. The song has creativity that makes it one of Chicago’s notable songs.
31. Another Rainy Day in New York City
A track that bears the signature of Chicago’s melodies. A light and carefree tune blended with Cetera’s wonderful voice.
Widely known as one of Chicago’s best hits. The melody is cheerful, lively, and with a fantastic amount of guitar play. Cetera, Kath, and Seraphine provided the best rhythms ever produced by the band.
29. You’re Not Alone
Melodious and romantic, but it doesn’t forget it’s rock and roll roots.
28. If She Would Have Been Faithful…
This single scored the No. 17 spot in the Billboard Hot 100. A love song with an ironic meaning behind its lyrics, it has a special place in Chicago fans’ hearts.
27. No Tell Lover
The bass and the horns coordinate well in this track. A melody that expresses a clear amount of emotion.
26. Along Comes A Woman
A song that talks about a common theme in Chicago’s music in the ‘80s: finding the right woman. A track that mixes pop rock and hard rock into one. It’s a song that reflects most of the ‘80s: funky and fun.
25. Sing, Sing, Sing
A song heavily attributed to the swing era, Chicago and the Gipsy Kings give an outstanding performance. Originally created by Benny Goodman in 1936, Chicago and Gipsy decided to spice it up a bit with the right amount vocals, drums, and horns.
24. Hard Habit to Break
Though fans wanted to hear more of the horn ensemble of the band, they were instead greeted with a more key-driven ballad. That sparked a bit of disappointment. It may have contributed to the fact that this song wasn’t written by members.
Written by Steve Kipner and Jon Parker, the track climbed to the No. 3 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. A song that has a story on its own, “Hard Habit to Break” is catchy and light-hearted tune despite its theme.
23. What Kind of Man Would I Be?
An upbeat track that features more brass instruments than any other singles. A lyrical song that is seemingly ageless.
22. Call on Me
Reaching the No. 6 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 and the top spot in the Easy Listening chart, “Call on Me” was composed by Lee Loughnane. The song features the more jazz-influenced works of the band.
21. I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love
A dramatic yet classic soft rock song that revolves on a straightforward theme: the agony of love.
20. Old Days
A rock song and made for easy-listening, Pankow composes with memories from childhood. It captured the nostalgia of carefree times and it’s beautiful nostalgia.
19. Dialogue Part 1 & 2
A two-part song that was composed by Lamm which Kath and Cetera provided the vocals. Both instruments and the lyrics reflect the problems of the current state of their society in their era.
18. I’m a Man
A classic Chicago song with fantastic upbeat drum and guitar riffs. The song was initially composed by The Spencer Davis Group. Chicago made their own cover with Kath and Cetera for their debut album.
17. Colour My World
A song that was closely tied to Terry Kath. After his death, this song wasn’t played for several years. When Bill Champlin joined the band in 1981, it was being performed by the band once again.
16. Chasin’ the Wind
A single released in 1991, “Chasin’ the Wind” took the No. 39 spot in Billboard Hot 100 and No. 13 in the Adult Contemporary chart.
15. Look Away
Another successful power ballad in the late ‘80s. Written by Diane Warren, it became a top hit not only in the US but overseas as well.
Landing on the No. 1 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988. It also reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 10, in the Netherlands, No. 15 in Sweden, and finally No. 20 in Belgium. The track reached No. 1 in the 1989 Billboard Year-End singles.
14. Will You Still Love Me?
Considered by fans as one of the best love rock songs, “Will You Still Love Me?” reached the No. 3 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987.
It’s one of the tracks that’s a trademark of Chicago’s style: ballad rock, profound lyrics on love, and Cetera’s vocals.
13. We Can Last Forever
Released as a single in 1989, We Can Last Forever stands as a romantic rock song. Though Cetera is no longer part of the band, Chicago could still deliver the best love songs.
12. (I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long
Reaching the 9th spot in the Billboards Hot 100, this Chicago track is one of its best-composed songs.
11. Love Me Tomorrow
Cetera once again delivers a fantastic vocal performance in this hit single. With Cetera’s powerful yet natural vocals combined with emotional lyrics, “Love Me Tomorrow” took the No. 22 spot in the Billboard Hot 100.
10. Questions 67 and 68
The song comes with a variety of vocals, led by Cetera and Lamm. This was the band’s first hit single in 1969. It reached the top 71 in the US.
An easy-listening song that failed to chart at its first release in 1969. It was released in 1971 which climbed to the 7th spot in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles.
8. Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?
A jazz fusion track that boasts of deep lyrics one can ponder one. This track also provided a new experience for the band. Chicago had been performing live and for Does Anybody Know What Time It Is? the band recorded together.
7. 25 or 6 to 4
A mix of jazz-rock and hard rock. A brilliant cacophony of horns along with Cetera’s vocals gives that upbeat and energized melody.
6. Feelin’ Stronger Every Day
A Top 10 hit that is simply irresistible. It shows the band’s other genre of a more pop-centered prospect, but without leaving behind their rock and jazz roots.
5. Make Me Smile
Originally part of a 13-minute suite called “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon”, the record company fragmented the song. This made “Make Me Smile” into a single and was transferred to the AM radio stations. The band had mixed feelings about this one: the record company chopped off their work, but the single made it to the Top 9 spot in 1970 and became one of the Chicago’s most admired songs.
4. Saturday in the Park
Robert Lamm composed the song in the eve of 4th of July in 1971, “Saturday in the Park” it has become Chicago’s highest-charting single. Though the song didn’t chart in the UK, it took the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100. Interestingly, the tune may sound familiar to Beatles fans since Lamm based it off “You Won’t See Me”.
Based on what Lamm saw in New York’s Central Park, the song is all about love and peace and enjoying the presence of friends and families. It’s a track that almost anyone can relate to.
3. If You Leave Me Now
Written by Peter Cetera and released in 1976, this soft rock ballad had become a staple in popular culture and media. The song has been played in several popular movies such as Happy Feet, Shaun of the Dead, and South Park. The song has also appeared in video games such as Grand Theft Auto V.
2. You’re the Inspiration
This emotionally charged ballad that has spawned an amazing fan following and reference in popular culture. The lyrics have this sentimental and romantic depth that tugs the hearts and ears of listeners. Even in modern days, it’s still quite popular with couples and weddings.
1. Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away
One of Chicago’s most performed songs, a comeback hit after being dropped by Columbia Records. With Hard to Say, the band got the No. 1 spot in the Billboard in September 1982 and was selected for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance.
The track used minimal brass instruments, but mostly used guitar distortion and layered synthesizers. The song has that refined and contemporary style to it. This is easily recognized and has since then become the band’s trademark tracks.