Chicago was formed in 1967, featuring Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walt Parazaider, Jason Scheff, Tris Imboden, Keith Howland, Lou Pardini, and Walfredo Reyes, Jr. They have sold over 38 million units in the US, with 22 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums. Over the course of their career they have had five number-one albums and 21 top-ten singles. According to Billboard chart statistics, Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time, in terms of both albums and singles.
While gaining some success as a cover band, the group began working on original songs. In June 1968, they moved to Los Angeles, California under the guidance of their manager James William Guercio, and signed with Columbia Records. After signing with Guercio, The Big Thing changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority.
Their first record (April 1969), the eponymous The Chicago Transit Authority, was a double album, which is rare for a bands’s first release. It sold over one million copies by 1970, and was awarded a platinum disc. The album included a number of pop-rock songs: “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”, “Beginnings”, and “Questions 67 and 68”, which would later be released as singles. When the actual Chicago Transit Authority threatened legal action soon after the album’s release, the band’s name was shortened to Chicago.
In 2012, Chicago teamed up with the Doobie Brothers for a joint tour. Their songs are still easily recognized and enjoyed by millions of Americans.
- Were you at the Mabee Center Arena in Tulsa when Chicago was performing live? If so, we want to hear about it!
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- Do you have photos or memorabilia of Chicago or the concert? Consider donating them to the Mabee Center Museum here.