Chicago Jazzes Up 2016 Rock Hall Induction

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Inductee Robert Lamm of Chicago performs onstage at the 31st Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on April 8, 2016 (Photo: Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

“If you think Chicago was your mom’s band, man I want to party with your mom,” said former Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas as he helped induct the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8, 2016. And as the group approached their 50th year together in 2017, the innovative jazz-rock sound the group pioneered still satisfies listeners. After all, they topped the count on the fan vote for the 2016 Rock Hall nominees with more than 36 million people casting ballots for them.

After band members accepted their long overdue induction, the group performed a set that opened with “Saturday in the Park,” their #3 pop hit from 1972. Founding member Denny Seraphine, who parted ways with the group in 1990, returned to the drum kit for the song. Thomas then joined the crew to sing a verse on “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is.”

The band wrapped up its performance with a tour de force rendition of “25 or 6 to 4” that roused the crowd into a response that underscored just why Chicago deserves the Hall of Fame honor.

Five of the original seven members of the band that started out as Chicago Transit Authority were present for the induction: keyboard player/singer Robert Lamm, trombonist James Pankow, trumpeter Lee Lougnane and saxophonist Walter Parazaider, who all remain in the band today, in addition to Seraphine. Former singer and bass player Peter Cetera went back and forth on whether he would attend the ceremony in the months leading up to it, finally deciding to not participate (see our news story on the situation here.)

“If Peter didn’t want to play or couldn’t play or couldn’t sing or whatever, at least he could have stood with us,” Lamm told Rolling Stone the day before. “I think he certainly deserves it. I think it’s unfortunate.” The band’s other inducted original member, guitarist Terry Kath, died in 1978.

Loughnane got off what was likely the night’s funniest line in his acceptance speech. “Lastly. I’d like to thank my ex-wives for making sure I’m still working,” he quipped. “Thank God. I love it.”

Related: Our Album Rewind of Chicago’s eclectic debut

Best Classic Bands Staff

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