On this day in music history: August 13, 1979 …

On this day in music history: August 13, 1979 – “Chicago 13”, the thirteenth album by Chicago is released. Produced by Phil Ramone and Chicago, it is recorded at Le Studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from May – June 1979. Following the platinum selling “Hot Streets” in 1978, Chicago once again work with producer Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand) to make their second album following the death of lead guitarist Terry Kath. It features guest appearances by trumpeter and bandleader Maynard Ferguson, Rufus keyboardist David “Hawk” Wolinski, and Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira. It is also the last to feature Kath’s replacement, guitarist Donnie Dacus who is fired from the band shortly after Chicago tours in support of it. The resulting album is not well received by fans and critics alike who are especially disdainful of the disco flavored second single “Street Player” (#91 R&B) (written by Wolinski and drummer Danny Seraphine) released in October of 1979. The backlash it causes against the band at the time is so great, that when Chicago regains the rights to their Columbia Records catalog in the 90’s, “Chicago 13” is one of the last of their original albums to be reissued. After its first CD release in 1991, it is remastered and re-released in 2003. In 1995, the song re-emerges in sampled form when DJ Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez appropriates part of “Street Player” for the huge club and radio hit “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)” under the name The Bucketheads. The song is also sampled on Pitbull’s 2009 hit “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)”. Revived interest in “Street Player” turns Chicago’s original version (at that point long out of print) into a much sought after and high priced collector’s item among DJ’s, especially the remixed 12” single version. The disco mix, which ironically is shorter than the original nine minute plus LP cut, is briefly reissued on vinyl in 1989, as part of CBS Records’ Mixed Masters 12" series. It too goes out of print shortly after its re-release. Demand for the record becomes so great after The Bucketheads record, that it is heavily bootlegged in the wake of its club and chart success. That mix is included as a bonus track on the 2003 CD reissue of the album. “Chicago 13” peaks at number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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