On Jan. 30, 1971, Chicago III was the highest ranking album to enter the Billboard Top LP’s chart, landing at #22. In four weeks it would plateau at #2 (for two weeks), kept out of the #1 spot by the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack and Janis Joplin’s Pearl.
This was the group Chicago’s third double-album and the first to use Roman numerals to identify it (although their second album Chicago is often called Chicago II). The band was known for its rock ‘n’ roll with experimental arrangements, heavy on the horns, and political themes in their lyrics. Chicago III was no exception.
Side 2 was comprised of six songs called “Travel Suite.” It led off with the song “Flight 602” which had a country-music feel in its beat, acoustic guitar lead, slide guitar and harmonies—almost sounding like it could be a Crosby, Stills and Nash song. The lyrics tell of a Vietnam War draft dodger heading for Canada. The song is a unique one in the band’s catalog of music.
“Flight 602” was followed by “Motorboat to Mars,” a drum solo from Danny Seraphine—which led directly into “Free,” written by Robert Lamm. It had the familiar sound of previous Chicago hits and was the LP’s first single (it would go to #20). Terry Kath emotes on lead vocals while rocking the guitar. Clocking in at 2:23, it’s amazing how much music is jammed into the mix.
This was a prolific time for the band. At the same time Chicago III was hitting the charts, their first album, 1969’s Chicago Transit Authority was at #49 (having peaked at #17 a year earlier) and their second LP, 1970’s Chicago, was at #16 (having been at #4).
“Free” by Chicago http://bit.ly/FreeByChicago