Did You Know Chicago Performed on Solid Gold?

Chicago on Solid Gold? Seriously, Chicago the band on a show known for dancers in gold lame shorts…in the same sentence?!

I’ll let that sink in.

Guess What Allison Found!

Fresh off their post-Cetera lineup change in 1985-1986, Chicago proved they can play the heck out of any venue…even if that venue was known for female dancers in gold lame shorts dancing to the day’s biggest songs. You probably didn’t know Chicago performed on Solid Gold, and neither did I…until now!

But It’s True!

In 1987, Chicago performed not one, but TWO songs from Chicago 18 – Adult Contemporary radio staple (31 years and counting!) “Will You Still Love Me?”

…and the lesser-known Bill Champlin/David Foster-penned “It’s Alight.” For the record, there were no gold lame shorts-clad dancers slinking around the stage to “It’s Alright.”

Because it would just be weird if they did it to “Will You Still Love Me,” right?

Here’s my point – there were no dancers.  Just lots of neon shirts, mustachioed Bill Champlin, and Jason Scheff’s permullet.

I swear, you get a 23-year-old lead singer, and suddenly, you start appealing to the youth!

You’d love to hear/see these songs, wouldn’t you?

Will You Still Love Me For Sharing This Performance?

Upload via eltrnet

I swear, this song has the effect of forcing you to forgive Jason Scheff for something – anything – that he probably has ever done. Every transgression, disagreement, and argument – forgiven when he sings this.

If he threw in a hair flip, this article would be a series of keystrokes I didn’t even realize I made. Because my head probably hit the keyboard upon blacking out.

But wait, there’s more! And Robert Lamm is happy to tell you all about it!

It’s Alright…Oh, Right! That’s the Name of the Song!

Robert Lamm, proud emcee and spokesperson, is happy to introduce their next song, and its singer!

And he used the song’s title to describe it – he’s so funny!

Upload via The Music of Chicago & Related

So, here’s my question: how did this song not see a release? It’s a great song, combining everything we love about Chicago with the sweet 1980s sound that made up the second wave of their legacy. And Bill Champlin, despite how I feel about his attitude toward his time with Chicago, has an amazing voice. His contributions were always a welcome delight.

Plus there’s no denying he truly had the coolest mullet of them all….

…until his gorgeous mane of awesomeness took over.

Scopitone - jukebox

Behold The Beauty Of The Scopitone Jukebox!

Friends, working with the Projectionist, I certainly have developed a love for film itself. As well as a desire to fill the Retroist Vault with all manner of coin-operated amusement machines. The other day while checking out some older gaming magazines I came across a British jukebox. This of course was an 80’s jukebox that played music videos. However this it turns out is not in fact a new idea. Case in point the Scopitone Jukebox!
Scopitone - Tel A Sign - Chicago

I did my very best to try and find some footage of those British video jukeboxes. Sadly I couldn’t find a single video. It did lead me though to a much earlier version of the device. The Scopitone jukebox. A 60’s coin-operated amusement machine that showed music videos, on 16 mm film.
Scopitone - Film Reels

Now to be truthful, it wasn’t just working with the Projectionist all these years that made me fall in love with film. I have obviously mentioned on various podcasts as well as posts that film has always been intriguing to me. The Scopitone jukebox is something entirely different than I’ve ever seen before though!

While the Scopitone jukebox reels can obviously be considered a precursor to what we would call the music video. While being low budget they still managed to attract all manner of popular singers. Neil Sadaka, Nancy Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, and Julie London to name a few. I particularly enjoyed the 16 mm reel featuring The Exciters singing Tell Him while visiting…a local zoo?

[Via] History Comes To Life

Now when a patron inserted their quarter into the Scopitone jukebox and selected which song they desired. Within the machine a rotating mechanism would spin to the correct 16 mm film selection. Then an arm would swing down with the projection mechanism, the light would be bounced off a mirror to be displayed on the screen.
Scopiton - Jukebox Playing

Ready to see the Scopitone jukebox in action?


The 16 mm film reel that is displayed in the video is of Joi Lansing, singing Web of Love!

[Via] JimVid 1

You want even more fantastic Scopitone jukebox musical entertainment? Then how about Bobby Vee’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes?

[Via] Lucy Huto

Floppotron - Toto - Africa

Marvel At The Floppotron Playing Toto’s Africa

Friends, just a couple of weeks ago the Floppotron uploaded a brand new video. While in the past the Floppotron has covered the likes of the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams as well as even Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. This go around it performs Toto’s Africa!
Floppotron - Scanner

What is the Floppotron you might ask? Well, it just happens to be 8 hard disks, with 64 floppy drives, and 2 scanners. Of course all of that working together happens to create beautiful music from every genre. TV and movie themes, video game music, and popular 80s songs can be performed by the Floppotron.

Yeah, Vic…we know what it is made up of but how does the Floppotron play music?!


That is a good question. Honestly the easiest way to describe it is, just head over to Silent.Org and let Pawel Zadrozniak explain it, as he is the creator of it. In a nutshell however using an application that Pawel wrote in Python 2.7 – the devices are triggered, with speed determining the pitch of the device, like the hard disks.
Floppotron - Hard Disks

Pawel states on his site that he uses the columns of floppy drives, in fact in stacks of eight. To simulate everything from a piano as well as string instruments. While I will certainly admit that some of the mechanics go over my head. At the very least I do know I highly enjoy the music it plays.

Now how about you enjoy the Floppotron playing Queen’s The Show Must Go On!

We have to give a huge thank you to Travis Falligant for the heads up on this excellent video! Travis is not just a friend of The Retroist and myself but has constantly shown his love of pop culture. The talented artist has given us Friday the 13th coloring pages as well as the mash-up of The NeverEnding Story and The Breakfast Club!

addams groove

MC Hammer and the Addams Groove

I spent a lot of my time as a kid with the radio on in the background. Nowadays, I hardly turn the radio on in the car. Usually when I do I just hit seek, hoping something interesting will pop up. Last weekend I was not disappointed. Because for some reason a local station played MC Hammer’s Addams Groove. I was over the moon!

For those not familiar Addams Groove by MC Hammer was released as the theme song to the 1991 film The Addams Family. This was oddly enough a swan song for Hammer. It would be his last top ten hit in the United States. To add insult to injury it was also the recipient of the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song at the 12th Golden Raspberry Awards in 1991.

The song would go onto chart worldwide and would eventually hit number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It helped to promote a film that grossed $113,502,246 in the United States and $191,502,246 worldwide.

Now I know the song is silly, but if you were excited for the release of The Addams Family back in 1991, like I was, this song was a big deal. It got a ton of radio play and the music video entered heavy rotation on Mtv.

It is the type of movie-related music video I love. Where they actually get the actors from the film to participate. The video opens with Hammer pleading with Wednesday and Pugsley to not chop off his head. Then we get lots quick cuts of various characters from the film, a sword-fight between Gomez and Hammer, and finally Hammer at the end reassuring us that Addams family just likes to have fun.

If you were one of the people seeing The Addams Family during its first few weeks of being in the theater, they ran this video before the film started. It set the tone for the film. I was sure that this was going to be a new trend for film. It was not.

Watch the music video for Addams Groove by MC Hammer

I am not sure if the makers behind this song had Thriller in mind when making the music video. But much like that well-respected epic video, a Making of was also made about Addams Groove. While not as informative as the Making of Thriller, it is still a fun peek behind the scenes.

Watch the making of the Addams Groove

Addams Groove was just one component of a marketing juggernaut that helped make The Addams Family a success. In addition to spawning a sequel, the film would have merchandise, a pinball machine, a video game and much more. With all that stuff out there, it might be easy to overlook the Addams Groove. But for me, this song is tied to the film and was the soundtrack to my winter in 1991.

Have You Heard Tris Imboden’s Chicago Story?

“As many of you have already heard, our long-time drummer Tris Imboden has resigned. For nearly thirty years Tris has shared his tremendous talent, and indeed his life, with Chicago. We are fortunate to have known him and grateful to have shared the stage with him these many years. He has been a great friend and band mate and we’ll miss his enthusiasm and contagious smile. We wish Tris and Mary a lifetime of happiness together.” – Statement from Chicago’s website

The Chicago Shakeup

I logged onto YouTube yesterday to find a response to a comment I made on a Chicago performance video that vocalist and bassist Jeff Coffey left the group. His leaving comes after only joining the group full time in October 2016 (he initially filled in for Scheff during his leave of absence in mid-2016), but also two days after another shakeup in the group.

As the statement says, after twenty-eight years of drumming and flashing a smile that says “I love my job” (and not in the fake way people who actually hate their job smile), Tris Imboden resigned from the group. His recent marriage and the rigorous travel and touring schedule were cited as his reasons. While this makes me sad, the decision was obviously for great reason, thus proving that we haven’t seen the last of Tris Imboden’s talent.

What we have seen the last of, however, is this.

Upload via William Gigliotti

Amazing.

1990: The Summer Without A Tour

Tris Imboden’s Chicago story begins long before his arrival in 1990 – he saw the group perform as an opening act in 1968 (remember, they were new at the time!), and he loved their music immediately. Imboden’s talents took him to the Kenny Loggins Band (yes, that  Kenny Loggins), as well as Al Jureau, among other talents. The summer of 1990 saw Tris without either band he toured with going on tour that summer. The opportunity he was given was hard to pass up, and the rest, as they say, is history. For Tris Imboden, it was a twenty-eight-year journey that even his battle with Stage 3A Lung Cancer couldn’t put to an end.

Would You Like To Hear Tris’s Chicago Story?

I think the better question is: Would you like to hear Tris tell you about his career both before AND with Chicago?

I uploaded his excerpts from the mini-documentary The New Guys, filmed in 2014 and included as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray of Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago.

Go on, check it out (click his name below the picture), and also witness Tris’s mad harmonica skills!

The New Guys – Tris Imboden (Upload to WordPress via Allison’s Written Words)

Excerpts: 1968, Being A Musician in the 1970s, Joining Chicago, and 1990

Thanks, Tris!

I said it on Twitter already (Chicago and Imboden both “liked” my tweet), but I’ll say it again: This author wishes Tris Imboden all the best in his future successes. His time with Chicago was amazing, and his talent will be missed!

(And this was before Chicago liked the tweet!)