Chicago is one of the most successful American rock bands in U.S. history. Born out of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, the band's lyrics were initially very politically charged and featured new and experimental tones that set them apart from other acts. Although they are best remembered for their hit ballads in the '70s and '80s, Chicago only trails the Beach Boys in terms of albums and sales numbers. As one of the Top 10 best-selling groups in rock history, Chicago has built a cult like following among fans and is widely appreciated for avoiding the celebrity spotlight and concentrating on their craft.
One of the chief differences between Chicago and other acts of their day was their inclusion of a horns section to back up the standard drums, guitar and bass combo. In 1969, the band released their first album, Chicago Transit Authority, which was an eclectic mix of jazz, blues and rock tunes and was notable for its use of protesters' chants from the most recent Democratic National Convention.
The 1970s were kind to Chicago, as their albums hovered around gold and platinum status and they were a consistent presence on both rock and adult contemporary radio. Hits like "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Saturday in the Park," and "Feeling Stronger Every Day," all broke into the Top 10 of the pop charts and solidified their status as rock heavyweights.
The 1980s would prove to be even more successful for the band, with a bevy of hits that would break into the Billboard Top 5. "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," "Hard Habit to Break," "You're the Inspiration," "Will You Still Love Me?" and many other big hits. The band also performed a number of successful duets with famous singers of the day. "The Next Time I Fall" with Amy Grant and "After All" with Cher allowed the band to reach a much broader audience and exhibited Chicago's versatility to work in a wide variety of genres.
In light of their 30th anniversary in 1997, Chicago released a compilation album and a group of new songs. The band released Chicago XXX in 2006 and continues to tour extensively every few years. As one of the titans of rock, Chicago has built a reputation for their experimentation with the classic American rock sound and setting themselves apart from the crowd.