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Hot Streets
Studio album by Chicago
Released October 2, 1978
Recorded May - June 1978
Genre Rock
Length 41:53
Label Columbia
Producer Phil Ramone and Chicago
Professional reviews
Chicago chronology
Chicago XI
Hot Streets
Chicago 13

Hot Streets is the twelfth album by American rock band Chicago and released in 1978. In many ways, Hot Streets marked the beginning of a new era for the band. It was also the only album with new material released by the band that didn't have a numbered title.

After working with James William Guercio since their 1969 debut, Chicago decided to part ways with him following the release of Chicago XI in 1977, finding him too controlling. But undeniably the biggest change was the death of guitarist Terry Kath in January 1978, who unintentionally shot himself at a roadie's house party. Chicago was devastated by his death, and considered calling it a day. Kath was one of the key players who most defined the rhythmic sound of the band, and could not easily be replaced. After the immediate shock waned, they decided they still had something to offer, and carried on.

Phil Ramone, who had mixed some of their earlier albums, was called upon to co-produce their new effort. But before Chicago could begin recording, they had to contend with the difficult process of finding a new guitarist. Donnie Dacus, who had previously worked with Roger McGuinn and Stephen Stills, was chosen, being an accomplished guitarist who would bring his own distinctive style to the group.

Recording that spring took place - after years of work at Guercio's Caribou Ranch in Colorado - in Miami and Los Angeles and by the sessions' end, Chicago felt as though they were a still a strong musical proposition after losing Kath. The Miami sessions featured a guest appearance by the Bee Gees, as the Gibb brothers were recording their album Spirits Having Flown next door at the time with their backup band, which included keyboardist Blue Weaver. They added vocals to the song "Little Miss Lovin'" and Weaver added synthesized strings to "No Tell Lover" and "Show Me The Way", while the Chicago horn section played on Spirits Having Flown, most notably on the hit single "Too Much Heaven".

To mark this new beginning, the band decided to break with tradition by giving their album a proper title, Hot Streets, and feature themselves prominently on the cover art rather than the famous logo. A later marketing study confirmed the fact, however, that the public expected to see the logo on the cover, and it would return in the form of a high-rise building for the following "Chicago 13."

Released in October 1978, and preceded by the defiant "Alive Again" as lead single, Hot Streets - distinguished by its lean sound - was another hit for the group, who had been concerned that the public might not accept them without Kath. Although it went platinum, and they scored a second top twenty hit in "No Tell Lover", Hot Streets was the first Chicago album since their debut that failed to reach the US Top 10. The album peaked at #12, signaling that, with the advent of punk music and disco, Chicago's current heyday had perhaps passed. However, in the music world, many things are cyclical, and the 1980s would eventually see a commercial rebirth for the group.

After the release of Hot Streets, and at the end of the Christmas 1979 tour, Dacus would be fired from the group, bringing his short tenure with Chicago to an abrupt end.

In 2003, Hot Streets was remastered and reissued by Rhino Records with an alternate version of Lamm's "Love Was New" sung by Dacus as a bonus track.

Track listing

  1. "Alive Again" – 4:08
  2. "The Greatest Love on Earth" – 3:18
  3. "Little Miss Lovin'" – 4:36
  4. "Hot Streets" – 5:20
  5. "Take a Chance" – 4:42
  6. "Gone Long Gone" – 4:00
  7. "Ain't It Time" – 4:12
  8. "Love Was New" – 3:30
  9. "No Tell Lover" – 4:13
  10. "Show Me the Way" – 3:36

The Band

Additional personnel


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Albums 12

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1978 Alive Again Pop Singles 14
1979 No Tell Lover Pop Singles 14
1979 Gone Long Gone Pop Singles 73
1979 No Tell Lover Adult Contemporary 5

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