For a brief period before they shortened their name to Chicago and became boring -- and for my money it was very brief, and they became very boring -- this big group with an ever-changing but hardly memorable line-up were a tanked-up rock band. Their debut album in '69 was a double, they had a political edge as befitted the volatile times they had formed in '67 in, yes, Chicago and moved to LA in '68 and Jimi Hendrix was a great admirer of Terry Kath's guitar work which was sometimes saturated in feedback. They were one of the era's great "jamming" bands and extended out versions of their chosen material covers like I'm A Man, or originals. This prog-rock treatment more rock than prog of the Spencer Davis Group's hit was one of the highpoints of that impressive debut album. Then they became simply Chicago and they started springing radio-friendly hits and it became easy to lose interest in a band with an ever-changing line-up -- and which simply numbered its albums rather than named them.
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Chicago Transit Authority is the self-titled debut album by the Chicago-based rock band Chicago Transit Authority, later known as Chicago. It was recorded and released in Skeptical, as the band had no track record, Columbia only agreed to the concept if the group would take a royalty cut. Meanwhile, FM radio, with its album-oriented format, helped push sales along. Buoyed by the success of their later albums, Chicago Transit Authority had stayed on the charts for weeks as of June ,  setting the then record for a rock album's chart longevity by October at weeks,  and was certified gold and later platinum and double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America RIAA. While the band toured the album, legal action was threatened by the actual Chicago Transit Authority , forcing the group to reduce their name to simply Chicago. Keyboardist Robert Lamm , guitarist Terry Kath and bassist Peter Cetera shared lead vocals, while James Pankow , Lee Loughnane and Walter Parazaider handled all brass and woodwinds trombone , trumpet and saxophone , clarinet and flute respectively and Danny Seraphine played drums.
Chicago Transit Authority showed some pretty big balls for a debut album. The idea of recording extended songs with complex arrangements on an introductory project is unheard of now — and was probably frowned upon back in when the album came out, as well. Robert Lamm, not to be outdone, chimes in with a fiery Hammond organ part which recalls the original Steve Winwood arrangement, but in no way attempts to copy it. Kath and, for that matter, Cetera and Lamm acquits himself well next to a vocal very much in the style of that provided by a young Steve Winwood.
The original recording was a fast, Hammond organ -driven blues rock track released as a single by the Spencer Davis Group in early , reaching number nine in the UK Singles Chart   and number 10 in the U. It was the last hit single by the band before the brothers Steve and Muff Winwood left to pursue their own separate careers. Although the recording is said to be late , this date is in fact controversial. Tapani Karhu, clearly states that the date of the show was 19 March When the band's popularity surged after their second album, "I'm a Man" was released as the B-side to a re-release of " Questions 67 and 68 ". Radio stations ended up playing both sides, and "I'm a Man" reached 49 on the U.