Chicago's First Album Inducted Into Grammy Hall of Fame

It's listed as one of the 1001 albums you must hear before you die and although the band can't get a nod from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy's are paying tribute to Chicago.

Courtesy Chicago Chicago in concert in Sept. 2011. The group is the first American band to have five back-to-back decades of top 40 albums. Various lineups have toured and recorded as "Chicago" over the past 46 years. 

Ask any Chicago fan about the biggest thorn in their side and you'll probably hear laments about the group's snub by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, now going on 19 years. (They became eligible in 1994.) They're missing, once again, from a list that includes Kurt Cobain's groundbreaking Nirvana (the first to get on the ballot in its first year of eligibility) and the bands, singing groups and solo artists Kiss, Hall and Oates, Deep Purple, Linda Ronstadt, N.W.A. and The Replacements. All made the 2014 nominees cut. (See the full roundup of hopefuls here.)

In the '70s and '80s, Chicago was an untouchable, huge, crowd pleasing, big concert, long-form album rock band. They have released eight multi-platinum albums (they're second to the West Coast's Beach Boys for Billboard hits) and, collectively, have sold over 100 million records. Recall a sample of early tunes: Just You ‘n’ Me, Feelin’ Stronger Every Day, Old Days, 25 or 6 To 4, Saturday In The Park

But although the band packing a fierce horn section has been, figuratively, waiting for the break of day with Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner's Cleveland museum, the Grammy-award winning pop-rock group has landed a big round with that other hall of distinction: The Recording Academy, better known for giving out the Grammy statues.

Chicago's first album, the self-titled 1969 Chicago Transit Authority, put them on the map with a string of hits and has been inducted into the 2014 Grammy Hall of Fame. (Because of a legal dispute, the band's name was shortened to just "Chicago.")

Photo courtesy Chicago Chicago band members in a 1973 promotional photo. The Chicago Transit Authority album is one of 27 recordings inducted in the 40th anniversary of the Grammy Hall of Fame. Albums and recordings must be at least 25 years old for consideration.

That seminal album introduced the distinctive sound of seven Chicago guys. Tracks that have become staples on classic rock – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Beginnings, I'm a Man – were released as singles from the double album.

They are one of the longest running and most successful bands in history and started that streak with Walter Parazaider on sax, guitarist Terry Kath (deceased), James Pankow on trombone, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, Danny Seraphine on drum kit (the four met at DePaul University in 1967), Robert Lamm on keyboards and Peter Cetera was brought onboard to sing lead and play bass. (Cetera left in 1985 to pursue a solo career.)

Multiple incarnations and lineups followed. Chicago produced an astounding 34 albums (25 certified platinum) and recently dropped the Chicago World Tour 2011 DVD. 

The 56th Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on Jan. 26, 2014.

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