Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
I have always loved songs with horns in them and no one featured them quite the way the band Chicago did. From their debut album in 1969 through all the ones which followed in the 1970’s, their distinctive sound set them apart from the usual radio fare. That is until their first #1 hit in 1976, “If You Leave Me Now”. The softer more AM radio sound prompted the hit songwriter, bassist Peter Cetera, to push the band away from their FM oriented music.
One of the group members most disturbed by this change was co-founder & guitarist Terry Kath. He was called a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix by Hendrix himself when Chicago opened for him at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in the late 1960’s. And Kath’s deep baritone voice, which was often compared to Ray Charles, was behind some of the band’s most recognizable songs including “Colour My World”, “I’m A Man”, “Wishing You Were Here” and today’s track. Kath wanted to stay true to the groups rock & jazz infused style rather than veer off into pop music.
Like many musicians of the decade, Kath struggled with drug & alcohol abuse. That combined with his love of firearms created the perfect storm of a tragic situation when Kath accidently shot himself to death on January 23, 1978. The loss obviously stunned the band who seriously contemplated a break up after the loss. They reconsidered and dedicated the song “Alive Again” to Kath later that year. Ironically though Kath’s death & a new producer led the band into the soft pop sounds they created in the 1980’s.
January 31 marked his 75th birth anniversary and like him I consider Chicago’s rock roots to be their best. Today’s song showcases both Kath’s vocal ability & musicianship skill perfectly and the horns are absolutely resplendent. He was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2016 with the rest of the band where his only child, Michelle Kath Sinclair, accepted her father’s award. The same year she released the documentary, “The Terry Kath Experience” about his life, influence & legacy.
“Living life is just a game so they say
All the games we used to play fade away
We may now enjoy the dreams we shared so long ago“.
Top: The band Chicago circa 1975. Terry Kath is on the end far right. Bottom: Kath circa 1972. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)
Chicago: “Make Me Smile” (1970, written by James Pankow).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.