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People have always wondered about the name "Chicago." One simple sentence from the liner notes of the very first album eliminates any question as to their identity. "If you must call them something, speak of the city where all save one were born, where all of them were schooled and bred. Call them Chicago.

The band members were looking to put together a rock group with a fully integrated horn section, so the original group consisted of Walter Parazaider on saxophone and woodwinds, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, Terry Kath on guitar and vocals, Danny Seraphine on drums, James Pankow on trombone, and Robert Lamm on organ and vocals. But in December 1967, bassist/vocalist Peter Cetera joined from rival band the Exceptions.

Chicago's first self-titled album sold over two million copies and spawned four chart singles, beginning a string of massive hits that lasted to the end of the decade, with each album cover sporting a variation on the Chicago logo and a sequential title with a roman numeral: Chicago II, Chicago III, etc. Chicago's music was a combination of many varying styles, from hard rock to light pop, and often included elements of jazz and classical.

Following Cetera's gold-selling #1 hit in 1976, "If You Leave Me Now," the group became more identified with romantic ballads than anything else. Chicago went into decline after a split with Guercio in 1977 and the accidental death of Kath in 1978, but it quickly rebounded in 1982 with "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and the million-selling Chicago 16, and was able to sustain its renewed popularity despite Cetera's departure for a solo career in 1985.