With more than 50 years of performing under their belt and a string of 26 consecutive hit albums, Chicago is one of the most successful rock bands of all time. They put out some of the most recognized songs of the ’70s and ’80s including their early hits “25 or 6 to 4” (1970) and “Saturday in the Park” (1972). In fact, the band probably shipped more vinyl than any other American rock group during those decades.
Formed in 1967 in Chicago, the band scored their first No. 1 song with “If You Leave Me Now” in 1976. Chicago had already placed nine singles in the Billboard Top 10 by that time. They earned two more No. 1 hits in the post-1976 years with “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” (1982) and “Look Away” (1988), along with seven other Top 10 hits, including “Baby What a Big Surprise” (1977), “Hard Habit to Break” (1982) and “You’re the Inspiration” (1982).
The group has amassed more than $122 million in record sales and numerous awards. Some of their accolades include a Grammy Award, multiple American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Chicago street dedicated in their honor, and keys to and proclamations from an impressive list of U.S. cities. Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys in terms of Billboard singles and album chart success among American bands.
Despite a myriad of personnel changes over the years, Chicago continues to draw a crowd. As of 2010, four of the six founding members remain in the group: Robert Lamm (keyboards), James Pankow (trombone), Lee Loughnane (trumpet) and Walter Parazaider (woodwinds). Jason Scheff (bass), Tris Imboden (drums), Keith Howland (guitar), Lou Pardini (keyboards) and Walfredo Reyes Jr. (drums) round out the current lineup.
The group appeared on the finale of the ninth season of “American Idol” in 2010. Their Christmas album “Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Tree” was released in October 2011. Later that year, the two-disc set “Chicago XXXIV: Live in ’75” — and their 34th album overall — was released. Chicago spent most of 2012 on a joint tour with the Doobie Brothers and has continued to rock venues across the nation since.
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