Tag: Chicago the Band

Presty the DJ for Dec. 27

Today in 1963, the London Times’ music critics named John Lennon and Paul McCartney Outstanding Composers of 1963. Two days later, Sunday Times music critic Richard Buckle named Lennon and McCartney “the greatest composers since Beethoven.”

The number one album today in 1969 was “Led Zeppelin II” …

… the same day that the number one single was this group’s last:

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Presty the DJ for Dec. 20

The number one British album today in 1969 was the Rolling Stones’ “Let It Bleed”:

The number one British single today in 1980 came 12 days after its singer’s death:

The number one song today in 1986:

The number one album today in 1975 for the second consecutive week was “Chicago IX,” which was actually “Chicago’s Greatest Hits”:

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Presty the DJ for Dec. 13

Today in 1961, this was the first country song to sell more than $1 million:

The number one single today in 1962:

The number one single today in 1970 (which sounded like it had been recorded using 1770 technology):

The number one album today in 1975 was “Chicago IX,” which was actually “Chicago’s Greatest Hits”:

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Presty the DJ for Oct. 13

The number one British album today in 1973 was the Rolling Stones’ “Goats Head Soup,” despite (or perhaps because of) the BBC’s ban of one of its songs, “Star Star”:

Who shares a birthday with my brother (who celebrated his sixth birthday, on a Friday the 13th, by getting chicken pox from me)? Start with Paul Simon:

Robert Lamm plays keyboards — or more accurately, the keytar — for Chicago:

Sammy Hagar:

Craig McGregor of Foghat:

John Ford Coley, formerly a duet with England Dan Seals:

Rob Marche played guitar for the Jo Boxers, who …

One death of note: Ed Sullivan, whose Sunday night CBS-TV show showed off rock and roll (plus Topo Gigio and Senor Wences) to millions, died today in 1974:

Presty the DJ for Sept. 13

Today in Great Britain in the first half of the 1960s was a day for oddities.

Today in 1960, a campaign began to ban the Ray Peterson song “Tell Laura I Love Her” (previously mentioned here) on the grounds that it was likely to inspire a “glorious death cult” among teens. (The song was about a love-smitten boy who decides to enter a car race to earn money to buy a wedding ring for her girlfriend.  To sum up, that was his first and last race.)

The anti-“Tell Laura” campaign apparently was not based on improving traffic safety. We conclude this from the fact that three years later, Graham Nash of the Hollies leaned against a van door at 40 mph after a performance in Scotland to determine if the door was locked. Nash determined it wasn’t locked on the way to the pavement.

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Presty the DJ for Sept. 11

Today in 1956, London police were called to break up a crowd of teenagers after the showing of the film “Rock around the Clock” at the Trocadero Cinema.

That prompted a letter to the editor in the Sept. 12, 1956 London Times:

The hypnotic rhythm and the wild gestures have a maddening effect on a rhythm loving age group and the result of its impact is the relaxing of all self control.

The British demonstrated their lack of First Amendment by banning the film in several cities.

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 30

Today in 1959, Bertolt Brecht‘s “Threepenny Opera” reached the U.S. charts in a way Brecht …

… could not have fathomed:

T0day in 1968, Apple Records released its first single by — surprise! — the Beatles:

Today in 1969, this spent three weeks on top of the British charts, on top of six weeks on top of the U.S. charts, making them perhaps the ultimate one-number-one-hit-wonder:

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“Beautiful Chicago“ (or Chicago in an elevator)

Those who grew up in the 1970s might remember, in the relatively early days of FM radio, that some FM stations programmed a format called “beautiful music.”

Others less impressed called it “elevator music.” It was essentially orchestral instrumental arrangements of popular songs of the day. Those stations more often than not were automated, meaning that there were no live voices on the station, except possibly during news segments.

Madison was cursed — I mean Madison had — four of those stations within its market. While WISM played Top 40 at 1480 on your AM dial, WISM-FM played this, uh, music at 98.1 FM, before WISM’s owners changed the format to hot adult contemporary and the station to Magic 98. (Which still exists today and is one of Madison’s top rated radio stations. At the same approximate time, though, WISM-AM went away to become a news–talk station, which was the fate of many AM music stations.)

This format — sometimes called “Muzak” for the company that sold piped-in inoffensive music for elevators and other places — also could be found at 94.9 FM, which then had the call letters WLVE and was called “Love Stereo.” Then as now, thanks apparently to its transmitter location on the Baraboo Bluffs, 94.9 had a freakishly large signal — from the Stevens Point area clear to the Wisconsin–Illinois state line, and from the Platteville Mound to the suburbs of Milwaukee. Stations in Monroe and Fort Atkinson also played “beautiful music.”

I cannot tell you in mere words how much I hated this so-called music. My father, who remember was in southern Wisconsin’s first rock and roll band and had generally good musical taste, would force all of us to listen to this crap on occasion within our first car with an FM radio, the beloved 1975 Chevrolet Caprice.
Happily, the “beautiful music” format is almost dead. The late WLVE became WOLX, the area’s first oldies (now “classic hits”) station, as did the Monroe station. The Fort Atkinson station now plays adult contemporary.

But thanks to YouTube, the format is not in fact dead. A Chicago Facebook page came up with this:

For everyone who thinks Chicago has always only played ballads, there is something worse than ballads. Let’s do some compare-and-contrast between original and Muzaked:


(If for some reason the instrumental tracks don’t work, Kostelanetz’s “Make Me Smile is at 6:28, “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is” is at 9:00, “Questions 67 and 68” is at 12:00. “Beginnings” is at 17:30, and “25 or 6 to 4” is at 21:00.)

One irony is that Chicago did play instrumentals on several of its albums. Evidently Kostelanetz couldn’t figure out how to adapt “Free Form Guitar” or “Liberation” to strings. All of these songs include trumpet and trombone, and a lot of rock acts have included strings in their songs, including Chicago.

But … wow. This is painful to listen to. Imagine someone saying that “Colour My World” or “If You Leave Me Now” was too loud.