On this day in music history: May 14, 1984 – “Chicago 17”, the seventeenth album by Chicago is released. Produced by David Foster, it is recorded at The Lighthouse in North Hollywood, CA, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA and Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA from Mid 1983 – Early 1984. Hitting the reset button on their career with “Chicago 16”, Chicago look to continue their new found success. Though the other band members are pleased with their renewed popularity, there also comes a dramatic shift in Chicago’s creative dynamic. With producer David Foster at the helm, greater focus is put on bassist and vocalist Peter Cetera and keyboardist and vocalist Bill Champlin. In their first era, Robert Lamm and James Pankow had a more dominant creative presence. They find their roles diminished further as Foster brings in additional musicians including Jeff Porcaro (Toto), John Robinson (Rufus), Carlos Vega (James Taylor) (drums), Paul Jackson, Jr., Michael Landau (guitars), and Paulinho Da Costa (percussion). Cetera dominates the album, vocally as well as co-writing five songs, with Lamm and Pankow co-writing one and two songs respectively. Though some long time fans are not happy with the decidedly slicker, more polished sound, it wins them a whole new fan base. “17” spins off four singles including “Stay The Night” (#16 Pop), “Hard Habit To Break” (#3 Pop and AC), “You’re The Inspiration” (#3 Pop, #1 AC) and “Along Comes A Woman” (#14 Pop, #25 AC). It is also released as a video album on laserdisc (two music videos, w/ the audio of the full album). Though it earns a pair of Grammy nominations and becomes Chicago’s biggest selling album, it also marks the end of Peter Cetera’s tenure in the band. The animosity created by Cetera becoming the public’s focus point, as well as taking more creative control, comes to a head in the Summer of 1985. He tells his band mates that he is not interesting in touring, but wants to record as a solo artist, and remain a member of Chicago. The other members flatly refuse, leading to Peter Cetera to quit after nearly eighteen years in the band. Sadly, the bad feelings between Cetera and his former band mates last to this day. The bassist refusing to perform at or attend the ceremony, when Chicago are finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2016. Their first album to be simultaneously released on CD along with the vinyl and cassette formats, it is remastered and reissued in 2006, with one additional bonus track. It is also released as a high resolution SHM-CD by WMG Japan in 2010, with Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissuing it as a 24K gold CD in 2011. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP by Friday Music. “Chicago 17” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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