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Chicago X

Chicago X is the tenth album by American rock band Chicago and was released in 1976. The album is notable for its soulfulness, and it ended up being a turning point in the band's career thanks to one song.

After recording Chicago VIII in a state of tiredness, Chicago didn't return to record until the spring of 1976, feeling refreshed after a substantial break away. While making Chicago X, the band felt satisfied that they were making a solid record, yet the feeling - especially with producer James William Guercio - was that there may be a paucity of hits on the album. Robert Lamm's "Another Rainy Day in New York City", Terry Kath's "Once Or Twice" and James Pankow's "You Are On My Mind" were strong enough to be singles, but Guercio was keen to include Peter Cetera's outstanding new composition, "If You Leave Me Now" on Chicago X. Although the others really liked the song, they felt that it was completely out of place in style as a romantic ballad with strings (a correct observation, according to most reviewers) and should not be allotted a place on the album. The song was one of the very last to be completed, and according to reports, was very nearly left off the final product. Band member Walter Parazaider has been quoted as saying he heard the song on the radio while cleaning his pool, and initially thought "it sounded like McCartney," not realizing it was his own band's work.

However, as producer, Guercio overruled them and included it and when it became the band's first #1 hit in the US and UK, it completely changed the public's perception of Chicago, leading to more demand to feature Cetera and the ballads. Lamm and Kath, in particular, were uncomfortable with this turn of events, and it led to a growing dissatisfaction with Guercio's control over the band, contributing to his impending 1977 dismissal.

Chicago X was released in June 1976 to a receptive audience, especially after "If You Leave Me Now" had become such a big worldwide hit, giving Chicago their first UK chart album in years, reaching #21, though, oddly, it missed #1 in the US, resting at #3. The album is also notable for the lead vocal debut of trombonist James Pankow. Different band singers tried "You Are On My Mind" but Pankow felt they weren't nailing it the way he heard it, so producer Guercio said, "You sing it," and his effort landed on the album as you hear it now. Trumpet player Lee Lougnane also contributed a lead vocal for his song "Together Again," and both Pankow and Loughnane would contribute lead vocals for the Chicago XI follow-up.

In early 1977, Chicago X would win three Grammy awards; two for "If You Leave Me Now" and one for John Berg's trademark artwork, which resembled a Hershey bar this time out.

In 2002, Chicago X was remastered and reissued by Rhino Records with an early rendition of Chicago XIV's "I'd Rather Be Rich" by Lamm, in addition to Kath's "Your Love's An Attitude" - both cut in 1975 - as bonus tracks.

For the summer 2007 tour, the band included "You Are on My Mind" with Pankow again on vocals- the first time this song has been performed live since 1976-1977.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Once or Twice" (Terry Kath) – 3:01
  2. "You Are on My Mind" (James Pankow) – 3:24
    • Pankow's lead vocal debut.
  3. "Skin Tight" (James Pankow) – 3:20
  4. "If You Leave Me Now" (Peter Cetera) – 3:58
  5. "Together Again" (Lee Loughnane) – 3:53
  6. "Another Rainy Day in New York City" (Robert Lamm) – 3:03

Side two

  1. "Mama Mama" (Peter Cetera) – 3:31
  2. "Scrapbook" (Robert Lamm) – 3:28
  3. "Gently I'll Wake You" (Robert Lamm) – 3:36
  4. "You Get It Up" (Robert Lamm) – 3:34
    • Sung by the entire band in unison -- thus the atypical crediting of Seraphine, Parazaider & deOliveira with "vocals".
  5. "Hope for Love" (Terry Kath) – 3:04

Chicago X (Columbia 34200) reached #3 in the US during a chart stay of 44 weeks. It also peaked at #21 in the UK.

Personnel

Additional personnel

  • David J. Wolinski - piano and mellotron on "Hope For Love"
  • James William Guercio - acoustic guitar and bass on "If You Leave Me Now"; guitar on "Hope For Love"
  • Othello Molineaux - steel drums on "Another Rainy Day in New York City"
  • Leroy Williams - steel drums on "Another Rainy Day in New York City"
  • Jimmie Haskell - string and french horn orchestration on "If You Leave Me Now"; string conductor on "Gently I'll Wake You"

Charts

Album - Billboard (North America)
Year Chart Position
1976 Pop Albums 3

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1976 Another Rainy Day in New York City Pop Singles 32
1976 Another Rainy Day in New York City Adult Contemporary 2
1976 If You Leave Me Now Pop Singles 1
1976 If You Leave Me Now Adult Contemporary 1
1977 You Are on My Mind Pop Singles 49

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