I believe my love of music comes from my dad. Looking at his stacks of albums, staring at the album covers, they seemed like such an adult mystery to me as a child. I clearly remember being mesmerized by Kate Bush album covers, but that’s for another post.
Chicago is one of my father’s favorite bands, and so I listened to them a lot as a young kid. 70’s Chicago though, not what they became in the years in which I grew up.
“Make Me Smile” was released on the Chicago II album in 1970, and I believe it encompasses the spirit of Chicago in the beginning. Amazing vocals by Terry Kath, a founding member of the band and lead guitarist. This is what I think of when I think of the band. In January 1978, Kath was fooling around with some guns. Not realizing there was a round in the chamber of his 9-mm, he died when he rested the gun against his temple and pulled the trigger.
The band, after wanting to disband, stayed together. Now I don’t know the actual history of Chicago and what kind of internal politics were at play, but my perception is that the music shifted at that point. Again, I’m no historian on the band of music in general, but the first album after Kath’s death was the first Chicago album not to be numbered (previous albums were Chicago II, Chicago III, Chicago IV, you get the drift). The music was…disco? Pop? Different. And just look at what may be one of the goofiest album covers of all time.
Look at that smug Peter Cetera’s face looking like “yeah, I’m taking this band over!” I’m kidding!
Most people know Chicago as releasing music like the following:
I forgot about that video…aww, 80’s punk love. Music is completely different in the 1980’s as compared to the previous decade. Sounded to me like a different band.
So what about people? How often does something “die” within us that we completely change who we are? Or is it that this new person was buried deep down within us since we were born, and something changed to where we were finally comfortable allowing it to surface? I know it’s popular to say “People don’t change”, but is that really accurate?
I’m not talking about a movie or novel where the villain in the beginning turns out to be a hero, but in real life how often does this happen?
From my experience in seeing people grow up in a strict religious environment, and then escaping said environment, I can say I’ve see people change completely. But is this really a change? I feel like it’s more of the case where a person’s inner self was so buried, so hidden even from themselves, and when they finally realize it’s safe to be who you are it seems as if they have become a different person. Really, how they previously acted was not a true representation.
In a minor way we change. Someone who hated green beans at the age of 10 now loves a good green bean casserole at the age of 30. Another person hated opera at the age of 21 but now weeps while listening to Un bel di vedremo. Is this changing who we are at the core though? Isn’t this just the refining of tastes and growing as a human?
What about a person who has a wonderful family life, grows up as a kind and caring person, but in their later years show themselves to be bitter and angry and full of rage. Did they always hate people, or did something happen to them to kill the joy they had in life and replace it with fear?
I really don’t know. I don’t even know why I’m thinking about these things. We are, we act, we live. Sometimes we start off as 1970’s Chicago, and become 1980’s Chicago. Go listen to some music and think about who you were and who you are.