- Chicago XI
Chicago XI Studio album by Chicago Released September 12, 1977 Recorded April – June 1977, Caribou Ranch, Nederland, Colorado Genre Rock Length 44:33 Label Columbia Producer James William Guercio Chicago chronology Chicago X
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Chicago XI is the 11th album by American rock band Chicago and was released in 1977. As the successor to Chicago X, the album marked the end of an era for Chicago in more ways than one. This would be the last Chicago album to feature guitarist, and founding member, Terry Kath, and the last Chicago album to be produced by James William Guercio.
Chicago XI is notable for feeling like a collection of solo songs rather than the work of the ensemble whole Chicago had been earlier in the 1970s. Peter Cetera aimed to replicate the success of the Grammy-winning "If You Leave Me Now" with "Baby, What A Big Surprise", which proved to be the album's biggest hit, going to #4. This was his only writing contribution to the album and, quite atypically, the only song with him on lead vocals. Terry Kath revived his old live favorite "Mississippi Delta City Blues" for the album, while turning in a touching vocal on Danny Seraphine's "Little One". Seraphine also co-wrote "Take Me Back to Chicago", which charted at #63. (Kath's "Takin' It On Uptown"—which, besides some uncredited backup singers, possibly features only Kath himself—may have been intended as a solo album "preview" along the lines of Lamm's "Skinny Boy" on Chicago VII.) James Pankow sang lead on his own "Till The End Of Time", as did Lee Loughnane on his original, "This Time". The once-prolific Robert Lamm only managed two songs, the sympathetic "Policeman" and "Vote For Me".
While recording Chicago XI, longtime producer James William Guercio's smothering artistic control had reached its breaking point, with the band deciding to take their career into their own hands and strike out on their own after finishing the album with him. However, as big a change in their career as Guercio's dismissal would be for Chicago, it would be minor in comparison to the tragedy that awaited them.
On January 23, 1978, a few short months after Chicago XI's release, Terry Kath, regarded by many as the soul of Chicago, accidentally and fatally shot himself during a party at roadie Don Johnson's house. A gun enthusiast, Kath attempted to calm the guests' surprise when—while reportedly inebriated—he pulled out his gun to clean it by demonstrating that it was unloaded and promptly pointed the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, not realizing a bullet was in the chamber. The remaining members of Chicago were shocked and devastated by Kath's unintentional suicide, and even considered breaking up. After a few weeks of mourning, they decided to move on, thus beginning a new era in the band's history. They would recruit singer/guitarist Donnie Dacus for the follow-up, Hot Streets.
Upon its September 1977 release, Chicago XI (Columbia 34860) reached #6 in the US, stayed in the charts for 20 weeks and went platinum. It did not chart in the UK.
In 2002, Chicago XI was remastered and reissued by Rhino Records with rehearsal recordings of Pankow's "Wish I Could Fly" (backing track) and Lamm's "Paris" as bonus tracks.
- "Mississippi Delta City Blues" (Terry Kath) – 4:39
- "Baby, What a Big Surprise" (Peter Cetera) – 3:04
- "Till the End of Time" (James Pankow) – 4:49
- "Policeman" (Robert Lamm) – 4:02
- "Take Me Back to Chicago" (Danny Seraphine, David "Hawk" Wolinski) – 5:17
- "Vote for Me" (Lamm) – 3:47
- "Takin' It on Uptown" (Kagan, Kath) – 4:45
- "This Time" (Lee Loughnane) – 4:44
- "The Inner Struggles of a Man" (Dominic Frontiere) - 2:44
- "Prelude (Little One)" (Seraphine, Wolinski) - 0:52
- "Little One" (Seraphine, Wolinski) - 5:40
- Peter Cetera – bass, vocals
- Laudir de Oliveira – percussion
- Terry Kath – guitar, percussion, vocals
- Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals
- Lee Loughnane – trumpet, piccolo trumpet, vocals
- James Pankow – trombone, keyboards, percussion, vocals
- Walter Parazaider – woodwinds
- Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
- David "Hawk" Wolinski – ARP synthesizer on "Take Me Back to Chicago"; Fender Rhodes on "Little One'
- James William Guercio – acoustic guitars and bass on "Baby, What a Big Surprise"
- Tim Cetera – additional background vocals on "Baby, What a Big Surprise"
- Carl Wilson – additional background vocals on "Baby, What a Big Surprise"
- Chaka Khan – background vocals and incredible preach at end of "Take Me Back To Chicago"
- Dominic Frontiere – orchestral conception & orchestration on "Baby, What A Big Surprise"; orchestration for "The Inner Struggles of a Man"; string and orchestral arrangements for "Little One"
- The Voices of Inspiration – choir on "Vote for Me"
Year Chart Position 1977 Billboard Pop Albums 6
Year Single Chart Position 1977 "Baby, What a Big Surprise" Billboard Pop Singles 4 1978 "Little One" Billboard Pop Singles 44 1978 "Take Me Back to Chicago" Billboard Pop Singles 63
Chicago Studio albums
- The Chicago Transit Authority
- Chicago III
- Chicago V
- Chicago VI
- Chicago VII
- Chicago VIII
- Chicago X
- Chicago XI
- Hot Streets
- Chicago 13
- Chicago XIV
- Chicago 16
- Chicago 17
- Chicago 18
- Chicago 19
- Twenty 1
- Night & Day Big Band
- Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album
- Chicago XXX
- Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus
- Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three
Live albums Compilations
- Chicago IX - Chicago's Greatest Hits
- Greatest Hits, Volume II
- If You Leave Me Now
- Take Me Back to Chicago
- Greatest Hits 1982-1989
- Group Portrait
- The Heart of Chicago 1967-1997
- The Heart of Chicago 1967-1998 Volume II
- The Very Best of: Only the Beginning
- The Box
- Love Songs
- The Best of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition
- "Mississippi Delta City Blues" (Terry Kath) – 4:39
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