Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Chicago, “Goodbye”

Today’s prompt (slightly rearranged) is “good, better, best, great.” Of all the songs I could think of, the one that stood out most in my mind was “Goodbye,” from Chicago’s 1972 album Chicago V. This was the album, I think I told you, where I risked life and limb by riding my bicycle on some pretty dangerous roads to buy the day it came out, which Wikipedia tells me was Monday, July 10, 1972.

I was ambivalent about this album. For one thing, it was a single LP; up to that point Chicago’s albums were all double LP sets. For another, I didn’t like a couple of the songs. On the other hand, there were some excellent songs, including “Goodbye,” the penultimate song. It was written by Robert Lamm, who wrote most of the songs on the album, and features some of the best playing by the band that I had heard. It also features a shift into 7/8 time for Lee Loughnane’s trumpet solo in the middle. That just about blew my mind…

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Flying high, touch the sky
Going to places I never knew
So goodbye
And hello, long ago

I can see history
Standing still, a mystery – if you will
Pardon me
I’m away for the day

Feels so good to be soaring
‘Cause L.A. was so boring
Goodbye
There must be room for growing
Somewhere else and I’m going
Goodbye

The days and nights have gone dry
The last three whole years have flashed by

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for July 5, 2020.

43 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Chicago, “Goodbye”

    1. At the time, when it was still the original seven, they certainly were. I’m not sure we can say the same now, as time and tide have taken their toll, but there’s enough of the original band around to make a good run at it.

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    1. In retrospect, the album was a change in direction for them, moving away from three-minute songs with 5-10 minute jam sessions in them to something a little less improvisational. The jamming was held to a minimum, though they still did some. The result was songs that were a little catchier and easier to relate to. “Saturday in the Park” might have been their first real hit.

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    1. Jim Pankow has arranged the horns the whole 50+ years the band has been around, and they’re the most distinctive part of their sound, so at least when the horns come in you know it. you know who it is. You can usually tell before that, though….

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      1. You can…they developed a style…the horns certainly is a huge part but yea…the guitar and vocal sound…it’s just Chicago…pure and simple.

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        1. Right. There was no mistaking the voices of Terry Kath, Pete Cetera, and Robert Lamm, and when you heard any of them (including Dan Seraphine’s drumming) you just knew it had to be them.

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  1. That was certainly a great day for you. I’m happy you made it in one piece! I always loved their use of brass as it set them apart from most other bands. Their music never disappointed me. Thanks for sharing this today John. πŸ™‚

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    1. They had tremendous continuity, especially when you compare them with Blood Sweat & Tears, who had personnel changes all the time. Chicago’s horn section has remained together all through, although Walt Parazaider (sax) has had to retire (bad heart).

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  2. I don’t remember this one. We did see them in concert once in 2006 and left early. Peter Cetera was not with them either and the two songs that Huey Lewis came out and sang with them were the best parts of the show.

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    1. I’ve heard that about Chicago, that they almost do better when they’re backing someone else. I’m hearing that a lot of folks are leaving halfway through their shows. Frankly, Leonid & Friends, a tribute band, are better than they are at this point.

      Hard to believe that Cetera’s been gone from Chicago 30 years now…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have heard this song many times on the radio, but I never knew the name of it and now I won’t forget that it is Goodbye. I never owned a Chicago album, but I liked a lot of their music.

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    1. I kind of lost interest after Terry Kath’s death. Lately I’ve been listening to Leonid & Friends, a tribute band from Russia, who I think sound more like Chicago than Chicago does today…

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  4. Nothing can go wrong with Chicago. I am more of an 80s Chicago fan and I can admit that I like their stuff even after Cetera. I am in love with Chicago 17.

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    1. I had been hearing horror stories about how there was so much pent-up demand that it was expected to sell out on the first day. Which of course never happened. I got to Montgomery Ward’s expecting the line to be all the way out the door, and there was no one there…

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          1. It was very difficult. Once I got that one, everyone’s wanted to give me one. I didn’t get a Sears but all our appliances are Kenmore. Our Sears closed so I guess we will be going elsewhere when we need new. 😊

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    1. Most of their shows today are about 90% from their first eleven albums. They’re still recording albums, most of which is Christmas albums and tributes to the Big Bands.

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  5. Chicago was a rare band for the time to carry such instrumental heavy pieces. Great song and I agree about this particular album, but this song is a great one.

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