Uh oh, guess who discovered – or rather, got pull-ed in the direction of – another Chicago song?
Gee, let me guess…
The Stone of Sisyphus Keeps on Rolling…
Several months ago, I wrote about an unreleased (until 2008) song penned by Jason Scheff, and performed by Chicago called “Bigger Than Elvis.” The song was a dedication piece to Jason’s father, Jerry Scheff, who was a bassist for Elvis Presley. “Bigger Than Elvis” was set to be released as part of the group’s ill-fated 1994 album Stone of Sisyphus.
The album was to be a return to Chicago’s personal, cultural, and musical roots, and not a strive for hits. The album was completed in secrecy (even from their label), in order to emphasize Chicago’s creative sovereignty, set for a March 1994 release, but suddenly rejected (it was initially well-received) from Warner Bros. Records. This resulted in the album going unreleased for fifteen years, and Chicago leaving the label altogether.
The 1993 “Greek Theater”Concert
Prior to the album’s ultimate rejection, there was one song that made the set list for Chicago’s 1993 Greek Theater concert. It was a song that I had not actually heard before, nor had I seen any concert footage from the 1990s. But I can tell you this: the concert is a total hair party, 1990s-era Chicago is as awesome as any era Chicago, and those horns…fabulous.
Bill Champlin’s hair. That hair is everything you’d expect in glorious hair.
I had total hair envy watching this concert. Can you see why?
Former Member of the Hair Party, bassist, and lead vocalist Jason Scheff had an arguably strong voice that contributed to the group from the mid-1980s and on through the 1990s, right up until his departure in 2016. It didn’t matter who wrote it or if Peter Cetera was the original voice, he could handle any song with a true performer’s glory.
He was the only one without long hair.
Even the horn section had Mandatory Mullets!
“The Pull” Gets Its Big Push in Concert
The 1993 tour was an obvious attempt to promote the group’s upcoming album, and they deviated from the usual set list to play one of the songs from that album. Perhaps this one had the “marketability” they were going for.
I’m not 100% sure, but I do know this – the song was quite catchy, and very reminiscent of mid-1980s Chicago.
Take a look at this amazing video of Jason Scheff giving his all to “The Pull.”
Uploaded by Mr Joe Lynch
Those horns, that sound, this is revived-in-the-1980s-era Chicago. This is everything this group was amazing for and yet, this (and the album it rode in on) didn’t see the light of day for fourteen years. It took ten albums and fourteen years (and Rhino Records) to release this amazing song and album.
The lyrics in “The Pull” tell listeners that no matter what, no matter how far one goes, one’s roots (and past) are always ready to draw one back.
It is truly a powerful song.
Departures, Arrivals, and Stones Finally Getting Their Push
Unfortunately, with the album’s unreleased status, it was the final album for guitarist Dawayne Bailey, whose contract was not renewed following the not release of Stone of Sisyphus. Bailey had been with Chicago during the ushering in of the “new era” in 1986.
But even with his departure, Chicago lucked out in the end…
You guys know how I feel about Keith Howland.
Old Days, Good Times Some Didn’t Have! – Hear Keith Howland sing the song Peter Cetera hated to sing!
Christmas with Horns – Howland’s version of “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” is awesome!
Eventually, Sisyphus did succeed in pushing that stone – Rhino Records released the album as Chicago’s thirty-second album on June 17, 2008. Because when something is good enough, it will eventually get heard.
You can pretty much say someone had “The Pull” to get it released!
Get it, “The Pull…”
Oh, and if you really want to see the full concert, it is AMAZING!
Uploaded by MyyyTunes Concerts
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords) and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.