I had this huge list of musical acts from Chicago that I worked off of when I built my M4 playlist the other day, so here are ten more musical acts from the Windy City and the surrounding communities.
- Peter Cetera, “One Good Woman” We covered Chicago the other day, and Peter was their bass player and one of their lead singers up until the mid-Eighties, when he decided to go solo. (It was a little more complicated than that, but let’s not go there.) This is from his third solo album, 1988’s One More Story.
- Richard Marx, “Right Here Waiting” This came as a bit of a surprise, but Richard is from north suburban Highland Park, Illinois. He was the first solo artist whose first seven singles landed in the Top 10. This was the sixth of the seven, from his 1989 album Repeat Offender, which hit #1 in August 1989.
- The Shadows of Knight, “Gloria” From Mount Prospect, Illinois, they were originally just The Shadows until they heard about the British band of the same name. A local record store owner suggested The Shadows of Knight, since the members had all attended Mount Prospect High School, home of the fightin’ Knights. They would have labored in obscurity but for the fact that they recorded a cover of Them’s “Gloria,” which radio stations were reluctant to play because of its risqué (for 1965) lyrics. Their cover was more acceptable for play on WLS, which made it into a hit.
- Ramsey Lewis, “Sun Goddess” Ramsey was a local jazz pianist who, with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, had several hit singles in the mid-Sixties, including “The In Crowd” (a cover of Dobie Gray’s single), “Hang On Sloopy” (a cover of the song by The McCoys), and the spiritual “Wade In The Water,” all of which earned the trio Gold records. He remains active on the Chicago music scene and hosted a morning show on smooth jazz station WNUA until it changed formats. He recorded “Sun Goddess” with another Chicago act, Earth Wind & Fire, and it’s a staple on smooth jazz and urban stations.
- Young-Holt Unlimited, “Soulful Strut” Drummer Isaac “Redd” Holt and bassist Eldee Young were part of the original Ramsey Lewis Trio. They left Lewis in 1966 and formed the Young-Holt Trio with pianist Don Walker. After a few minor hits, including the novelty “Wack Wack,” they renamed themselves Young-Holt Unlimited and replaced Walker with Ken Chaney. “Soulful Strut” was the backing track to Barbara Acklin’s “Am I The Same Girl” (later covered by Swing Out Sister) and earned the band a Gold record. Future releases failed to garner the same success, and by 1974 they had banded, with Young and Holt continuing to play with other Chicago combos.
- The Flamingos, “I Only Have Eyes For You” The Flamingos were a doo-wop group most popular in the mid- to late-Fifties, about which Billboard said “Universally hailed as one of the finest and most influential vocal groups in pop music history, the Flamingos defined doo wop at its most elegant and sophisticated.” They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame mostly on the strength of this single. They’re still going strong on the oldies circuit.
- Gene Chandler, “Duke of Earl” Yes, the Duke of Earl got his start in Chicago. He is known for this song and for his association with The Impressions and Curtis Mayfield. He’s been inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame twice, both as a performer and as a Pioneer.
- The Five Stairsteps, “O-o-h Child” A musical family group comprised of five of the six children of Betty and Clarence Burke. They were dubbed the “First Family of Soul” because of their success in the period 1966 to 1971. They had a bunch of releases that just barely missed the Top 10 on the R&B chart, including this, which cracked the Top 10 on the Hot 100 in 1970. I remember I had this record…
- Dee Clark, “Raindrops” I didn’t realize that Dee Clark was from Chicago. “Raindrops” was his biggest hit and one of my favorite songs. When Little Richard decided abruptly to abandon his musical career and enter the seminary, Dee replaced him on tour.
- Herbie Hancock, “Maiden Voyage” Another great jazz pianist from Chicago, he started with Donald Byrd and went on to back Miles Davis, where he redefined the role of the rhythm section in post-bop jazz. “Maiden Voyage” is one of his more famous compositions, along with “Watermelon Man” and “Cantaloupe Island.” He crosses over onto the pop charts fairly regularly, and recorded Possibilities in 2005, which was collaborations with pop artists such as Carlos Santana, Christina Aguilera, and Sting.
And that’s your Friday 5×2 for February 23, 2018.