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Chicago II
Studio album by Chicago
Released January 26, 1970
Recorded August 1969, Columbia Recording Studios, New York and Hollywood
Genre Jazz fusion
Length 67:21
Label Columbia
Producer James William Guercio
Professional reviews
Chicago chronology
The Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago II
Chicago III

Chicago II is the second album by Chicago-based rock band Chicago. It was released in 1970 after the band had shortened its name from The Chicago Transit Authority after releasing their same-titled debut album the previous year.

Although the official title of the album is Chicago, it came to be retroactively known as Chicago II, keeping it in line with the succession of roman numeral-titled albums that officially began with Chicago III in 1971.

While The Chicago Transit Authority was a success, Chicago is considered by many to be Chicago's breakthrough album, yielding a number of Top 40 hits, including "Make Me Smile" (#9), "Colour My World" (#7), and "25 or 6 to 4" (#4). The centerpiece of the album was the thirteen-minute song cycle "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon". In addition, guitarist Terry Kath also participated in an extended classically styled piece in four separate songs. The politically outspoken Robert Lamm also tackles his qualms with "It Better End Soon", another modular piece. Peter Cetera, later to play a crucial role in the band's music, donated his first song to Chicago and this album, "Where Do We Go From Here". Another hit, "In The Country", had an immediate impact on college students towards the end of the summer before they were going away to school. The song has a sentimental effect, bringing back memories of heading off to school.

Released in January 1970 on Columbia Records, Chicago was an instant hit, reaching #4 in the US and #6 in the UK and has gone on to become - perhaps - the band's most revered album.

Columbia Records was very active in promoting its Quadraphonic 4-channel surround sound format in the mid-1970s, and nine of Chicago's first ten albums were made available in quad. The quad mix features elements not heard in the standard stereo mix, including additional guitar work from Kath in "25 Or 6 To 4" and a different vocal take from Lamm in "Wake Up Sunshine", the latter of which reveals a different lyric in the song's last line.

In 2002, Chicago was remastered and reissued on one CD by Rhino Records with the single versions of "Make Me Smile" and "25 or 6 to 4" as bonus tracks.

Rhino released a DVD-Audio version of the album in 2003, featuring both Advanced Resolution Stereo and 5.1 Surround sound mixes.


Track listing


Side one

  1. "Movin' On" (James Pankow) – 4:06
  2. "The Road" (Terry Kath) – 3:10
  3. "Poem for the People" (Robert Lamm) – 5:31
  4. "In the Country" (Kath) – 6:34

Side two

  1. "Wake Up Sunshine" (Lamm) – 2:29
  2. "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" - 12:55
    1. "Make Me Smile" (Pankow) – 3:16
    2. "So Much to Say, So Much to Give" (Pankow) – 1:12
    3. "Anxiety's Moment" (Pankow) – 1:01
    4. "West Virginia Fantasies" (Pankow) – 1:34
    5. "Colour My World" (Pankow) – 3:01
    6. "To Be Free" (Pankow) – 1:15
    7. "Now More Than Ever" (Pankow) – 1:26

Side three

  1. "Fancy Colours" (Lamm) – 5:10
  2. "25 or 6 to 4" (Lamm) – 4:50
  3. "Memories of Love" - 9:12
    1. "Prelude" (Kath/Peter Matz) – 1:10
    2. "A.M. Mourning" (Kath/Matz) – 2:05
    3. "P.M. Mourning" (Kath/Matz) – 1:58
    4. "Memories of Love" (Kath) – 3:59

Side four

  1. "It Better End Soon" - 10:24
    1. "1st Movement" (Lamm) – 2:33
    2. "2nd Movement" (Lamm/Walter Parazaider) – 3:41
    3. "3rd Movement" (Lamm/Kath) – 3:19
    4. "4th Movement" (Lamm) – 0:51
  2. "Where Do We Go From Here" (Peter Cetera) – 2:49

Bonus tracks (2002 reissue)

  1. "Make Me Smile (Single version)" – 2:58
  2. "25 or 6 to 4 (Single version)" – 2:51




Year Chart Position
1970 Billboard Pop Albums 4


Year Single Chart Position
1970 "25 or 6 to 4" Billboard Pop Singles 4
1970 "Make Me Smile" Billboard Pop Singles 9
1971 "Colour My World" Billboard Pop Singles 7


Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold April 13, 1970
RIAA – USA Platinum August 9, 1991


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