Songs You May Have Missed #700

Chicago: “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon” (1970)

Chicago represents different things to different fans.

If you came to this band in the post-Terry Kath 1980’s you might think sappy ballads were their forte. And you wouldn’t be wrong.

But long before that time, boys and girls, there was a time when heavy rock, complex jazz and a diversity of musical styles were more their calling card.

And from that time of their “beginnings”–from their second album, to be exact–comes thie classically-inspired 13-minute progressive-jazz-and-pop masterwork.

Trombonist James Pankow wrote the suite originally as an attempt to win back his ex-fiancee who was attending West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia. I for one am glad he didn’t get the girl, ’cause as a result we got the song.

The 7-part epic song cycle includes two songs–“Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World”–that became top ten pop hits.

But those hits are framed wondrously by authentic jazz and jazz-rock sections sewn together to form a whole that calls to mind progressive rock suites such as Yes’ “Close to the Edge” or side two of Abbey Road.

This is rock from a time of remarkable ambition. And few bands exhibited more creative fertility than Chicago in their heyday.

  1. “Make Me Smile” (Lead vocals by Terry Kath)
  2. “So Much to Say, So Much to Give” (Lead vocals by Robert Lamm)
  3. “Anxiety’s Moment” (Instrumental)
  4. “West Virginia Fantasies” (Instrumental)
  5. “Colour My World” (Vocals by Terry Kath)
  6. “To Be Free” (Instrumental)
  7. “Now More Than Ever” (Lead vocals by Terry Kath)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #161 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #301 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

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