Chicago II Album Remix Due from Rhino

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Chicago in 1970 (photo from the band's website)

Chicago in 1970 (photo from the band’s website)

The second album by Chicago will get a sonic overhaul with the January 27 release of Chicago II: Steve Wilson Remix by Rhino. The classic 1970 album will also be released as a double-LP set later next year for $31.98.

Chicago II, which introduced songs like “25 or 6 to 4,” “Colour My World” and “Make Me Smile,” peaked at #4 on the Billboard album chart and spawned three top 10 hits. Says Rhino in a press release, “Chicago II has been remixed before, but never like this. For the first time, a stereo remix from the 16-track multi-track tapes made it possible for Steven Wilson to bring out elements that were muffled or submerged in the mix. The result is a new stereo version of Chicago II that boasts clearness, punch and definition that it didn’t have before.”

Wilson explains: “Working with high-resolution 96K/24 bit digitally transferred files, I had every element from the recording sessions isolated, which meant I was able to rebuild the mix from the drums upwards, recreating as closely as I could the equalization, stereo placement, reverbs, other effects, and volume changes of each individual instrument or vocal – but at the same time looking to gain definition and clarity in the overall sound.”

Related: Chicago gets unique reissues

Wilson adds, “So rich was their creative seam at the time that, like their debut, and the album that followed this one, it was a two record set. In fact, with unprecedented boldness the run of double albums was only broken by their fourth, which was a quadruple (live) set! I consider all of these albums to be classics, but perhaps Chicago II is the preeminent masterpiece. It’s got everything: moments of tender beauty to power riffs and scorched-earth jazz-rock, catchy melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies. When I first heard it as a teenager I was captivated by the mixture of jazz, blues, pop, classical, progressive and heavy rock styles, including both improvisational elements and intricate arrangements, and by songs written and sung by several different members, all with their own unique personality. How could that possibly hang together?! But it does, and brilliantly so.”

Chicago II album cover

Chicago II Steven Wilson Remix album cover

In 1969, Chicago recorded the band’s followup to their debut album, Chicago Transit Authority (inducted in 2014 into the Grammy Hall of Fame). It arrived in January 1970. The band members at the time were Terry Kath, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Danny Seraphine and Peter Cetera.

The album was certified platinum by the RIAA soon after its release. Chicago was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Chicago II Steven Wilson Remix Track Listing
1. Movin’ In”
2. “The Road”
3. “Poem For The People”
4. “In The Country”
5. “Wake Up Sunshine”
6. “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon”
“Make Me Smile”
“So Much To Say, So Much To Give”
“Anxiety’s Moment”
“West Virginia Fantasies”
“Colour My World”
“To Be Free”
7. “Now More Than Ever”
“Fancy Colours”
8. “25 Or 6 To 4”
9. “Memories of Love”
“A.M. Mourning”
“P.M. Mourning”
“Memories Of Love”
10. “It Better End Soon” “1st Movement”
“2nd Movement”
“3rd Movement”
“4th Movement”
11. “Where Do We Go From Here”

Watch Chicago perform “25 or 6 to 4” in 1970

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Jeff Tamarkin

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