- Chris McDonald
American rock group. It was formed in 1967 as the Big Thing, renamed Chicago Transit Authority the following year, and Chicago in 1970. Its original members included Peter Cetera (b Chicago, IL, 13 Sept 1944; bass guitar and vocals), Terry Kath (b Chicago, 31 Jan 1946; d Los Angeles, CA, 23 Jan 1978; guitar and vocals), Robert Lamm (b Brooklyn, NY, 13 Oct 1944; keyboards and vocals), Danny Seraphine (b Chicago, 28 Aug 1948; drums), Walter Parazaider (b Chicago, 14 March 1945; clarinet and saxophone), Lee Laughnane (b Chicago, 21 Oct 1946; trumpet), and James Pankow (b St. Louis, 20 Aug 1947; trombone).
Chicago was conceived as a rock band with a horn section and its early work was musically experimental and emphatically countercultural. The band identified itself as a collective with no individual personality standing out; lead vocals were shared among several members and album covers featured only the band’s logo. Their lengthy songs contained extended instrumental passages, and nearly all of their first seven albums were released as double LPs. Signature early tracks include “Beginnings,” “25 or 6 to 4,” and “Color My World,” which was popular on FM and college radio. By the mid-1970s, however, the band’s profile was slick, urbane, and polished, with radio hits comprising Cetera’s romantic love ballads, notably “Baby What a Big Surprise.”...