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80's radio's influence on music

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Poem58
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« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2010, 08:27:15 pm »

well, before the accident I had an unusual ability. Before one of our Soap Box Derby parades (Yeah Akron, Ohio)

We would swap instruments for fun, I found out that I could play any note of any song on a Trombone...WITHOUT USING THE SLIDE AT ALL!!!!

I was also able to kinda sorta play a flute, but I don;t know if it's the ADD in me but guitar and Keys...well..I'm a one handed not close to wonder.

trumpet was THE only instrument I know, and while my wife says otherwise, I like to sing, but think I sound like a cow in sad need of execution.

So, no...pretty much not gonna end up doing anything musical anymore.

If I could get some sort of lip transplant I would love to give trumpet another go. If you are familiar with the term I could also triple tongue, which is apparently another one of those things considered a trumpet players attribute. I can still do it. and was working on a method to try to invent a quadruple tongue technique right before the "accident" I thought I was getting close...but probably just something only possible in my mind. The more I think of it it never was possible (ta,ga,da) was the tongue movement while playing that gave the fast note transitions needed to say play William Tell Overture and I could play it faster than anyone. Always thought If I could invent another possible "4th" movement I could play it even faster. come to think of it, If I ever played it faster, it would have been too fast to even be sensible. So it was in my head, but back then, hey what the hell give it a shot right?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 08:33:43 pm by Poem58 » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2010, 09:39:23 pm »

Thanks so much for the detailed explanation!!! I had no idea the lips did more than blow into the mouthpiece.

I'm also sorry about your accident, it must have killed you to no longer have that outlet. : (

Sorry I'm just now replying, for some reason I'm not getting notifications either here or at Chi Music & More.  Huh
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Poem58
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« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2010, 12:49:19 pm »

Thanks so much for the detailed explanation!!! I had no idea the lips did more than blow into the mouthpiece.

I'm also sorry about your accident, it must have killed you to no longer have that outlet. : (

Sorry I'm just now replying, for some reason I'm not getting notifications either here or at Chi Music & More.  Huh

The board company is having some issues after the move from one server to another. for a couple of days I couldn't Access the other boards topics as I was seeing some error about a board table being messed up and the directory was on the company's server and not something I could fix. At least the board fixing feature kept saying nothing was wrong, and I seem to be the only one who even saw the error, not sure why that is, but they got it fixed.

Yeah, when you play a horn you don't just blow into it. (you can actually try this and probably have) you press your lips together and make a raspberry like noise (or some might say a fart noise) and somehow that annoying sound reverberates through the metal tubes and becomes a much more pleasing musical note. I think it was the amount of control over this tightening and loosening of my lips which allowed me to play the Trombone without using the slide (could do it with a Tuba too as both of those had larger bowls in their mouth pieces. But tuba took way too much air for me. Gotta make a rather big lip raspberry to play those suckers!

Yeah, I went from respected playing my horn to trying my best to hide the fact I couldn't play. I mean I could play and eventually got back enough to play through the songs but I literally had to avoid practicing as playing before a performance would have me unable to hit anything before it was over. So warming up I had to fake entirely which didn't jive with your average band director. I managed, but after high school I realized the loss of ability was just not worth even keeping my horn as I would never be able to get it back or try to pursue any kind of even hobby playing for the future.
Thus my dream of being Lee's backup was gone forever....I kinda wonder if I even could play after all these years. I couldn't really read music well, and had to play by ear if you will, but I'd love to give it another go. Maybe someday my son wil want to play in school, and I might get a chance to try again.
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Saxman
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« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2010, 06:23:01 pm »


Yeah, I went from respected playing my horn to trying my best to hide the fact I couldn't play. I mean I could play and eventually got back enough to play through the songs but I literally had to avoid practicing as playing before a performance would have me unable to hit anything before it was over. So warming up I had to fake entirely which didn't jive with your average band director. I managed, but after high school I realized the loss of ability was just not worth even keeping my horn as I would never be able to get it back or try to pursue any kind of even hobby playing for the future.
Thus my dream of being Lee's backup was gone forever....I kinda wonder if I even could play after all these years. I couldn't really read music well, and had to play by ear if you will, but I'd love to give it another go. Maybe someday my son wil want to play in school, and I might get a chance to try again.

It sounds like you (not unlike myself with Walt, the woodwinds player) were already better than Lee in high school.  They are the two luckiest, right time, right place horn players in pop music history.  I think Chicago made it because:

- Robert Lamm and Jimmy Pankow had an excellent grasp of commercial pop song forms (and pushed the envelop with those forms, especially during 1969-72)

- Jimmy wrote unique horn arrangements based on what the song composers were looking for.  

- Pankow really stepped in as the commercial pop song guy once Lamm started to falter after he exhausted his big batch of songs (let's not forget even the 1972 hit "Saturday in the Park" was written in 1970!) .  At least Lamm wasn't like George Harrison, who blew his entire backlog of songs on "All Things Must Pass" and pretty much faltered after that, with 1-3 decent tunes per album.

- Peter Cetera eventually developed into a world class and unique tenor vocalist, in addition to being a great bassist, later being the only hit songwriter in the band

- Terry Kath was a great, Hendrix-style lead guitarist with a great baritone voice who was pretty much edged out by Cetera by 1973 for single vocals

- Danny Seraphine was an exciting "lead" drummer with real technique, not the slop of Keith Moon

Point: they did NOT make it because ANY of the horn players were great soloists.  Jimmy and Lee were never more than "meh" soloists on a good day (and in Walt's case, not even meh), although Jimmy had a great tone at one time, which started going south as early as 1979.
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« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2010, 10:17:22 pm »

Agreed Saxman... but I'd say that James Guercio had a good ear for selecting the wheat from the chaff... and while he was just as guilty as the rest of the band for not know when to say when (when it came to lengths of songs and how much should be included on an album), he did understand what it would take for Chicago to become the mega success it became in the 1970s.
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« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2010, 10:27:18 pm »

- Jimmy wrote unique horn arrangements based on what the song composers were looking for.  

And, those arrangements always put the trombone out front. He always wrote the most interesting parts for himself.
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« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2010, 06:24:28 am »

- Jimmy wrote unique horn arrangements based on what the song composers were looking for.  

And, those arrangements always put the trombone out front. He always wrote the most interesting parts for himself.

Little Jimmy (height wise) has always had a HUGE ego, hasn't he?  Yeah, sometime around V he started the "trombone choir" of overdubs and trombone section lead parts.  It got so bad that from VI-XI, most horn section parts sounded like a buncha trombones.  There are people who think Chicago's horn section is 4 trombones, not unlike Chase with 4 trumpets.  In the beginning the horn section and parts were  more of a unison ensemble thing.

Guercio?  How could I forget him?  He made it all happen as producer and manager. He also pushed the band to do better, until he lost interest around the time of VIII and was into other projects.  On the other hand, he also helped make a lot of their double albums padded single albums by allowing lotsa filler (suites that were filled with disposable parts like Travel Suite).
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« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2010, 01:20:08 pm »

Now that's where I would disagree. One man's "Filler" is another man's good music. There are people who think the 4th side of III was total crap, I personally loved it. I always thought that when they took away the vocals it showed their strongest attribute. Their ability to play. They were able to show their musical side with this filler which is is one part what I enjoyed of the original band that got totally lost in later more radio oriented style and losing that ability to make albums with said "Fluff" is probably one of the reasons they ended up pigeon-holing themselves into the pop love song. Granted the "Travel Suite" wasn't Liberation, but it was more of their musical desire being expressed.

It goes back to the phrase "To each his own" but I think it was this very diversity that could draw so many people of differing musical tastes to the group. Alternatively I would have to admit that my entire foray into being open to more classical and jazz pieces were directly due to my enjoyment of these musical interludes from Chicago. They should have never stopped adding at least one totally instrumental jam to each album. "Playing with Fire" should have been on an album and "String of Pearls" should have been on N&D:BB in the US. Someone somewhere must have convinced them never to do an instrumental again (at least in the US), but when you consider just how much the hard core fans of today bark about the vocals, it makes even more sense that they should have been doing instruments on their albums.

One most things, I agree with you. But on this one, I cannot.

I will say also that Guercio was Chicago's George Martin. He just had some amazing ability to bring out the best with them. I think we all would agree no one has been as good since. Foster might have gotten the best "pop" sound out of them. But as a band, Guercio just "got it". Too bad they had to have issues, kinda makes you wonder what could have been if he remained at the helm for recording.
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« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2010, 02:39:37 pm »

I will say also that Guercio was Chicago's George Martin. He just had some amazing ability to bring out the best with them. I think we all would agree no one has been as good since. Foster might have gotten the best "pop" sound out of them. But as a band, Guercio just "got it". Too bad they had to have issues, kinda makes you wonder what could have been if he remained at the helm for recording.

Guercio once said that Chicago only ever accomplished about 10% of what he believed they were capable of.  To this day I wonder what great music they could have created if they'd lived up to what Guercio had believed was their full potential.
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« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2010, 03:05:28 pm »

Exactly, just imagine type of music they were capable of in the 80's. Especially when they had an Axe like DB on board they could have been every bit as rockin as anyone, but they just kept getting slammed by ballad lust. Not that I didn't enjoy the ballads. I too only felt they were scratching the surface of their potential. Which is pretty amazing when you consider just how good they were at a sub-par level compared to their ability.
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« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2010, 03:23:58 pm »

Exactly, just imagine type of music they were capable of in the 80's. Especially when they had an Axe like DB on board they could have been every bit as rockin as anyone, but they just kept getting slammed by ballad lust. Not that I didn't enjoy the ballads. I too only felt they were scratching the surface of their potential. Which is pretty amazing when you consider just how good they were at a sub-par level compared to their ability.

Chicago made ballads because that's what sold for them... they would try uptempo tunes and record labels wouldn't release them because "it didn't sound like Chicago".

Chicago (as a band), Guercio and later HK management, Columbia and later Warner Bros., recorded/released ballads because that became the Chicago sound -just as it was increasingly obvious that Peter Cetera was the vocalist who stood the best chance of getting Chicago on the radio.
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« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2010, 03:34:30 pm »

For Travel Suite, I was only thinking "Free Country" could have been chopped.  Yikes, LOL!  I liked the Cannon thing, too and feel Chicago lost a lot with the switch to a 10 song album being something to contain 10 potential hit singles.  But then again, I think TOP blows them out of the water.  Sorry if I offended.

I think a lot of Chicago's musical ambition was pushed by Guercio.  Once he was out of the picture, the band became a hit single chasing ballad machine, only interested in hits, musical ambition went out the window.
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« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2010, 04:45:52 pm »

Well, Robert likes to invoke the spirit of Terry Kath as an ally to argue that both he and Kath wanted to do far more than just pop hit singles...

But keep in mind Guercio's demands:

Guercio would have the band record up in Caribou -let's say that takes five weeks in the winter, then they have some down time, then the spring/summer tour goes where the band plays an obscene amount of dates (well over 200) including a European and Asian tour, then an album comes out, there is the fall tour, then some down time with another trip back to Caribou to work on the next album.

In 1969/1970 the record/release Chicago II... by 1976, they have released Chicago XI. That's a hell of a lot of music to crank out within six years. They barely have time to catch their breath, much less consider the impact their decisions are having on their future.

As Terry's widow, Camela put it, it became a machine... a hit making machine.

Guercio might have been disappointed in what he got out of Chicago, but perhaps if he gave them more breathing space to compose and refocus on the music, instead of just printing money, perhaps the band could have accomplished more of what he wanted.
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Poem58
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« Reply #43 on: August 02, 2010, 10:51:34 pm »

Exactly, just imagine type of music they were capable of in the 80's. Especially when they had an Axe like DB on board they could have been every bit as rockin as anyone, but they just kept getting slammed by ballad lust. Not that I didn't enjoy the ballads. I too only felt they were scratching the surface of their potential. Which is pretty amazing when you consider just how good they were at a sub-par level compared to their ability.

Chicago made ballads because that's what sold for them... they would try uptempo tunes and record labels wouldn't release them because "it didn't sound like Chicago".

Chicago (as a band), Guercio and later HK management, Columbia and later Warner Bros., recorded/released ballads because that became the Chicago sound -just as it was increasingly obvious that Peter Cetera was the vocalist who stood the best chance of getting Chicago on the radio.

That is a given, my point was when the went from the style the originally started out with (and even did on 7) with having more than just vocal pop songs, that changed the type of music they were pursuing. So what I was getting at is that maybe if they had not gone to the 10 song all radio hit style and kept pursuing their instrumental side as well (which would have involved more than 1 album per record release and is why it didn't continue, they may have been able to keep the balance they had that allowed the "Colour My World" and "25 or 6 to 4" coexistence to continue. There are lots of band through the decades that could rock and throw in the ballads. Somehow in the usual Chicago shoot yourself in the foot way, they let themselves sacrifice this for that next big hit to the point that there was no return. So my comments were more of a what if they had found a way to be both, by the time the 80's rolled around they could have been the hard rocking with ballad machine, so many others were able to pull off. Which if you think of it, was exactly what they did for the first few years. So it was at least possible. I think. But the blame is really on the band, they could have chose do do both, but they were high and rich and wanted more of both so much that as well all know that machine was tearing them apart. If they had kept their integrity and refused to just convert to a pop band, I think they could have proven themselves capable of making the hits in both rock and pop and maybe the drugs wouldn't have been necessary for them to get through it, and they might have been as happy as they appeared to be early on.

I wonder if it was the unhappiness that make the drugs come in, or the drugs that helped them do the stupid things that made them unhappy. I know Robert said they were trying to be the rock stars they thought they were supposed to be and got into the drugs, but I wonder which came first. It seemed Terry wanted off the drugs and was very unhappy, yet as Camilia said, "he just kept going back". This suggests to me they didn't feel they were what they wanted to be. Maybe they just kept doing their thing hoping someday to be able to get back to what they wanted. Then Terry died and that never happened.

So many what if's, never a way to know. I do fault them though for quitting after SOS. they finally decided to do it their way, and when it didn;t work, they basically gave up again. They always had a way of self defeat. THAT is the biggest thing to me that limited them.

Sorry if I didn't make sense, I'm tired and long past when I should have been asleep. Nite.
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« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2010, 10:59:48 pm »

Poem: agree 100% and that lust for hits later on killed the band.  Chicago has been dead post SOS, the last sign of life from that unit.  In my mind they were finished in their own minds when Warner Brothers wouldn't release SOS.  It's all been cover albums, a live album and a lame attempt to remake 16/17 yet again (XXX).  Stick a fork in them: they're done.
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