Rarely has the promise of a debut album been so decisively negated by its follow-ups than in the case of Chicago. Successfully courting commerciality, the group moved away from the exciting rawness and power of their first issue to focus on pretentious 'suites' and softcore ballads, a format to which they stuck for a further 26 years and 20 more albums.
Inaugurated under the name Chicago Transit Authority in 1968, the group surpassed rival jazz-rock outfits such as Blood, Sweat And Tears and The Electric Flag with a double album that was heavy on blasting brass, hollering vocals, and the turbulent psychedelic blues guitar of Terry Kath. This eponymous release retains the impressive clout it showed in 1969. Its successors are all the more disappointing by comparison.
Rating: 4 / 10