Along Comes a Woman…And Indiana Cetera!

Despite how I feel about Peter Cetera’s attitude toward his former bandmates Chicago (if you don’t remember, Exhibit A is a good place to start), It is hard to not love his music, or Cetera’s contributions to their success as a group.

Feeling otherwise would rock my credibility as a Chicago fan, and we can’t have that!

The Era of Cetera…

By the early 1980s, Peter Cetera was no longer the Peter Cetera of the 1970s. He had slimmed down, cut his hair, and was taking more of a confident stance in his songwriting. He even released his first solo effort in 1981, a self-titled album that was met with commercial failure. I’ll assume it had something to do with critics only seeing him as part of Chicago. And not only were the changes happening with him, times were a-changing for Chicago as well (oh yes they were). The band was paid by CBS/Columbia in 1980 to leave the label after declining sales and that unfortunate Chicago 13 album failed to garner the earlier successes they had. Donnie Dacus was out, Exhibit A was destined to be forgotten (again, easy to click if you need reference), and Bill Champlain was in by 1981.

You know how I feel about him too, and trust me, it has nothing to do with the music. Because the music is awesome.

In 1984, amidst a rejuvenated success, a new contract with Warner Bros. (oooh, another story for you to read by clicking this!), and David Foster’s mad producing skills, Chicago 17 was guaranteed to be huge!

How huge, you ask?

It was their biggest selling album, all the released singles charted in the top 20, and two words: David Foster (Related: This, this, and this! Oh, and THIS!). By this time Chicago was firmly establishing themselves in reinvention (leaving the gritty behind, and moving on to the power of ballads), finding their voice all over again, and proving those critics who believed they were done in the late 1970s so very wrong.

The fourth of the four charting singles from this album (aside from “Stay the Night,” “Hard Habit to Break,” and “You’re the Inspiration”) was a track from side two, the oh-so-fun “Along Comes a Woman,” which sees Cetera not only singing the lead, but also starring in the video as the dashing hero.

And Along Comes Something Different…

“Along Comes A Woman” was a video that saw Chicago in a different (and kinda cool!) light. If this was part of reinvention, then it was a fun way to do it.

I’m wondering if anyone knew the changes that were coming after this single was released…

Anyway, “Along Comes a Woman” was the fourth and final single released from Chicago 17, and dropped on February 4, 1985. It peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and even spent time on MTV. It was clearly released at a time when music videos were a big deal, and was a huge departure from some of the previous music videos Chicago had done.

We have our dashing hero, “Indiana Cetera” (my labeling, of course), who is on the run from some baddies who want what he has.

But he’s good at hiding himself – and the valuable stuff.

Indiana Jones had boulders, Peter Cetera had mud.

But along comes a woman…

And some cameos by those three crazy guys in the horn section…

I seriously lol’d over James Pankow and Lee Loughnane ganging up on Walt Parazaider.

There’s Mandatory Horns…

Indy Cetera being forced to hand over the goods…

A Casablanca costume change…

Cetera gets the girl…

And loses the girl…

And along comes some guys…

I guess he got arrested?

And despite that turn of events, this was a funny and well-done music video. Different is not always a bad thing, and the acting from the horn section really makes this video funny. Cetera shines, but if you’ve seen James Pankow, Walt Parazaider, and Lee Loughnane perform live, you wouldn’t be shocked by anything you’ll seen here.

And along comes a music video…that you can watch by hitting play!

Uploaded by Hasse Hammarlund

I had heard this song because of the “Greatest Hits” album Only the Beginning, but I hadn’t seen many of Chicago’s music videos aside from “You’re the Inspiration” (which everyone has seen). Of the ones I’ve seen, this one is by far one of my favorites music videos. The acting is a bit silly, but you’re laughing too much to notice how hokey it really is.

At least the group got to have their fun, but reinvention happened not long after, as Peter Cetera exited the group in June 1985, ending the Cetera years. The next era was yet to come, but what great way to end this one.

And along comes an outro…

If you haven’t already noticed, Allison loves Chicago. She writes about it often (did you see all the hyperlinks along the way?). If you like what you see here, whether it is about Chicago or any of the other things she’s written about, you’ll love her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her antics from Retroist and Allison’s Written Words on her blog’s Facebook page, and she’s also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

And along comes a swift exit…

Cinderella Chili Dog Commercial

They made a Cinderella Chili Dog Commercial?

When the band Cinderella was still a rising force in the nascent hair metal scene, they starred in a local commercial for Pat’s. Located in the Philadelphia area, where Cinderella was also based at the time, the commercial seemed like natural synergy. The band could make some extra money and get some free advertising for their new album. Pat’s on the other hand could attempt to attract all those hungry kids who were stumbling out of music clubs late at night. While the Cinderella Chili Dog Commercial ran only locally on Mtv in the area, it has since gone on to become a cult hit on the internet.

When I first heard it a couple of years ago, I was smitten. I cannot claim to be a fan of Cinderella, but this was something special. Music being used to sell chili dogs. A movement I can get behind no matter what the genre of music.

The band sings a song all about Pat’s and its amazing hot dogs. While the song is a big redundant, I think it is cassingle worthy. It should have at least been a B-side.

Sadly Pat’s didn’t stay in business. I guess the wave of grunge that swept hair metal away also damaged chili dog sales. Damn you Nirvana! Pat’s Chili Dogs had two locations. The one at Route 420 and McDade Boulevard in Folsom, PA and a second on Route 291 in Lester, PA. Both locations were open 24 hours a day. So you could rock out to your favorite metal bands and get stuffed whenever you needed.

Watch the world-famous Cinderella Chili Dog Commercial

Now I know after one watching, you don’t know the jingle by heart. But admit it, you can’t help yourself from singing “Pat’s dogs!” That might be because some of the lyrics are a little hard to decipher? Here is my attempt to decipher them.

Hey, we’re Cinderella for Pat’s Chili Dogs!
Pat’s Dogs!
The cook is never tired!
Pat’s Dogs!
The Steam is always fired!
Two locations rockin’ all night
We ????? ???? Lester????
Pat’s Dogs!
Pat’s Chili Dogs!
Pat’s Dogs!
Pat’s Chili Dogs!

Chicago Did Disco?!

I learned alot from watching Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago, the two-hour documentary on the band Chicago, but I’ll gloss over the most important points:

  1. Lee Loughnane is a softy. If something is cry-worthy, he will tear up.
  2. Peter Cetera has an ego. It only happened after he lost weight.
  3. Bill Champlin has a HUGE ego. It had nothing to do with weight loss, it just has to do with who he thought the star was. If you saw the statement of declination he gave when contacted for an interview (and Jimmy Pankow’s stance on him), you’d understand what I’m talking about.
  4. David Foster has bragging rights – he was interviewed while sitting in front of all his Grammy trophies, after all.
  5. Words are not minced.
  6. Jimmy Pankow is not afraid to mince those words.

Chicago, through much of the 1970s, was much like Chicago in the late 1960s – lots of horns and tough, gritty-sounding rock. Conversely, the 1980s became the power ballad-heavy Cetera years (and later, the Jason Scheff years – he was equally at home covering the grit as well as the power). Oh, and Bill Champlin (and his giant ego) also churned out those incredible power ballads. After all, he did work with David Foster. Foster is a genius, just ask my mom.

As I’m writing this (ok, when I started writing this), I’m listening to one of those Cetera power ballads, Along Comes a Woman. I’ve never heard this song before, but I’ll venture to guess it was from one of those 1980s albums (I checked – it is from Chicago 17, which was Cetera’s final album). If it sounds Cetera-worthy, it is only because he wrote it. But there are horns involved. Because leaving out Lee Loughnane, Jimmy Pankow, and Walt Parazaider would be a sin.

Between the grit and the power, there was this strange and trippy time in the land of Chicago (the band, not the city). It was land they hadn’t ventured into before, and, thankfully, it was abandoned quite quickly. It came of the 1970s music fad better known as Disco. And while groups like Earth Wind and Fire (though I’d liken their version as more along the lines of “funk” than actual disco) and The Bee Gees could do it, Chicago proved there was one thing they just could not (and should not) do.

1979 saw the release of Chicago’s eleventh studio album (titled Chicago XIII, because yeah, Roman Numerals), and while I don’t exactly recognize any of the track listings, there was this one song that just absolutely stands out, and not for the right reasons. And believe it or not,  I had never heard it until the documentary, and I just found out (yea research!) that the album not only had the distinction of being released exactly one month after (August 13, 1979) Disco Destruction Night at Chicago’s Comiskey Park (July 12, 1979), but the song itself was released in September 1979. So it was not only the last gasp for disco (or one of those last gasps), it also sounded like the end of Chicago itself, and it was the actual end of Donnie Dacus’s time with Chicago.

That song, you ask? “Street Player,” of course!

Uploaded by TerrenceSays

I’ll be frank with you – there are alot of songs left off the set list for a Chicago performance. Many (like the songs from Hot Streets and this stinky album) for a good reason, but many from the Power Ballad era as well (I’m questioning some of that). This song neatly fits into the “Left Off For a Good Reason” category, but probably should have been burned for sounding like the worst thing Peter Cetera ever sang. I actually feel bad for him (which is hard for me, considering what I’ve heard about him), but this is a terrible attempt to cash in on a music styling that was basically nearing the end of its life.

And no, Cetera didn’t write this. You can thank Danny Seraphine for this…whatever you want to call it.

The funny thing about this song (besides the concept of it, and the fact that I only just found out it existed) is that I better remember it as the 1995 song The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind), and only because I don’t like that song either. But in actuality, before Chicago made it sound entirely too white (I don’t mean that in a nice way), it was sung by Rufus in 1978 (you know, the group Chaka Khan was part of?). It was co-written by then-Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine for their recording pleasure, and let’s just be grateful he wasn’t sacked ten years earlier than he was for Chicago singing it Rufus.

Apparently, all of Chicago XIII is just like this – stinky and not gritty or powerful. I’m understanding why Columbia paid them to leave the label in the early 1980s…and why Donnie Dacus was kicked out of the group.

And because you’re dying to see the video of this performance…

Uploaded by You Are Now Entering The “Gretschman7’s” Channel

Seriously, glorious Peter Cetera hair…can you dig it, street player?

No, I can’t.

See what I did there?!

Oh, and apparently, they performed it in 2015, with Jason Scheff singing the lead vocals…

Uploaded by Riky41970

The only reason this version is tolerable is because it is shorter. And forgive me, I saw them perform in 2015, and I don’t remember this from the concert.

Just blame Donnie Dacus for all of this. And Disco. Blame DISCO!

Will you still love Allison for forcing this insane earworm on you? For good times you’ll remember, you can also take a look at her blog, Allison’s Written Words. Hold your mouse key, preferably on the “like” button on her blog’s Facebook page, and then getaway to Twitter, where you can find her at @AllisonGeeksOut. 

She really wants to tell you she’s sorry…that she quoted even more Chicago lyrics than she has in past articles.

Again, not old hat with Allison:

Christmas With Horns

Chicago Proclaims Someone Else is “Bigger Than Elvis”

Will You Still Love the Changing Face of Chicago?

Hard to Say I’m Sorry (That You May Never Have Heard this Chicago Song Before!)

Tom Wopat And John Schneider Sing “Good Ol’ Boys”!

“Good Ol’ Boys”, which was the name of the theme song for The Dukes of Hazzard . Might possibly be in my top ten favorithe television theme songs of all time. In addition to being rather catchy – it didn’t hurt that Waylon Jennings wrote and performed it.
Good Ol' Boys - Waylon Jennings

In fact that very theme really kind of told a new viewer everything they needed to know about the show.

While my Family was a huge fan of the TV series – we never obtained the single. Furthermore I don’t believe I actually knew their was a single released for it all. I certainly would have expected to see it carried at our local Walmart back in the day.

“Good Ol’ Boys” actually hit #1 on the American Country charts in 1980. As well as reaching #21 on Billboard’s Hot 100 according to The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn.

In addition I feel I should add that I never knew that Bo (Schneider) and Luke(Wopat) Duke were singers and musicians themselves. That appears to be the case however thanks to this vintage performance from TNN. Sobchakvideos who uploaded this video on YouTube states this took place in 1993.

So the question is…are Wopat and Schneider any good? By all means they certainly are. The duo start “Good Ol’ Boys” slow and perhaps even reverently. But after about a minute they kick into high gear to an appreciative and packed house!

Now that you’ve heard Tom and John sing “Good Ol’ Boys” why not check out when Roy Orbison visited The Dukes of Hazzard?

Roy Orbison

Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You're A Lovely Guy)

Max Headroom sings Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy)

Some songs get released and are quickly forgotten. That is a shame when that song SHOULD become a holiday classic. In 1986, the song by Max Headroom, Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy) was released and unfortunately did not take the world by storm. Why you ask?

Let’s assume it isn’t because of the quality. I admit, that is a bit questionable. So if it is not that, maybe it was too late? Max made his splash in 1984 and really peaked in popularity from 1985 to early 1986. So while I am sure this song was recorded earlier in 1986, by the Winter momentum had petered out. It was released as a single on Chrysalis records with the B side, Gimme Shades. Which was more of a country-esque song. While both songs can be found on the single, only Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy) has been posted online in a decent video and recorded form.

Gimme Shades and other songs have been posted online, but only as rips from the Max Headroom Christmas Show.

Now the song might not be a holiday classic, but it is a great sometimes forgotten piece of the 1980s. And this video? Well this video, just like most things starring ol’ Max is just plain magical. There is something extra compelling about seeing Max try to fit into a holiday template. It is almost a little jarring and grating, but it makes for an excellent take-off on holiday specials and their music. Not everyone was meant to sing a holiday classic and Max brings that home as he plays with all the holiday special tropes. Enjoy.

Watch Max Headroom sing Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy)

Christmas Funk: Earth, Wind, Fire, Holiday

Holiday as one of the elements? Yes please!

I’m all for starting new traditions, especially when they tap my nostalgia bone. Which is near the funny bone. And when those traditions center around Christmas, well, even better. So this year, I’m bringing in the funk!

Last year, in my post-concert excitement (that apparently is supposed to last way past the actual concert date), I rushed to snatch up anything I could find that featured Chicago. And in that flurry, I found alot more songs than I already knew, I bought two concert movies, and even discovered Chicago’s Christmas album. Also in that flurry? I overlooked finding something Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Another one of those “the author took this picture” bragging moments.

Last week, amid the bustle getting ready to start my workday, I just randomly decided to look up Earth, Wind, and Fire and Christmas in the same search. No lie, I entered “Earth Wind Fire Christmas,” and I wasn’t disappointed. Not by a long shot.

Have you ever wanted a Christmas album that sounded remarkably like the 1970s, despite being released in 2014? Then Holiday is your album. Oh my goodness, is it ever!

Source: Wikipedia (By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47040032

Holiday is the twenty-first album (only Chicago had more albums under their belt before they released their Christmas album) for Earth, Wind, and Fire, and was released on October 21, 2014 (seriously!). It is also notable as it is the final album to feature co-founder Maurice White before his death in February 2016.

The album consists of eleven traditional songs of Christmas, and two re-worked Earth Wind and Fire songs from the 1970s – “Happy Seasons” (originally “Happy Feelin'” from 1975’s That’s The Way of the World) and “December” (you better know which song this was inspired by!). If you’ve ever wanted to hear Christmas with funk, you’re not going to be disappointed (I wasn’t at the initial discovery, and I wasn’t once I listened).

Uploaded by That Mimosa Grove

And for some reason, the final song on the album was cut off completely. And I’d be remiss if I forgot it!

Uploaded by Donald Becker

And if you’re really itching to hear more blaring trumpets for Christmas, I covered Chicago’s Christmas album not all that long ago.

A funky Christmas? Some traditions are meant to be funk-ified!

Allison stopped grooving long enough to write this part of the article. If you like what you’ve read here, she has Christmas-ified her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog year ’round on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Back to grooving!

 

All-4-One…and All 4 Christmas!

It’s the most obvious time of the year to be into Christmas music. And as I said in my previous article about Chicago’s Christmas albums, I like my staples, but I also like some unconventional Christmas music. Hence, the Chicago Christmas album…and All-4-One’s 1994 effort.

All-4-One. You remember them, right? They came after Boyz II Men, were based in the Los Angeles area (unlike Boyz II Men, who were based in Philadelphia, PA), and had a smooth R&B sound. Ranging in age from 20 to 24 at the beginning of their fame, they were beautiful, soulful, and they even had that one guy with the really deep voice. Now, I’ll confess, playing any music by this group will make me scream like it is the mid-1990s, I’m fourteen years old, and I’m popping their CDs into my Sony Discman.

And I may or may not have screamed the same way over watching All-4-One perform on one of the David Foster concerts.

Uploaded by All-4-One (Official Channel)

Ok, I definitely screamed like someone who would throw their panties (but that didn’t happen!). Why would anyone…

I’m sure it has happened, folks. No, I’ve never done that!

All-4-One, consisting of members Jamie Jones, Delious Kennedy, Alfred Nevarez, and Tony Borowiak – all of whom are still a quartet today – released their first album in 1994, a self-titled effort. So naturally, when you have a hit album, a Christmas album is probably circling nearby.

Case in point:

OMG, yes. This. This album. This album spent the whole month of December in my Discman. I didn’t own any “traditional” Christmas albums in 1996…I owned this. I played the heck out of this CD for at least three years. It also has the distinction of being one of my first CDs in addition to being the first Christmas album I ever owned.

All-4-One puts the soulful spin on the traditional Christmas songs, giving them a 1990s R&B sound. If you think all R&B music sounds the same, you’re not fooling anyone. 1990s R&B had a sound all of its own, and while these guys were probably pegged as riding Boyz II Men’s coattails, they knew how to stand out the right way.

I’d love for you to bask in the warm glow of 90s R&B, with an album that was truly All 4 Christmas.

You see what I did there?!

Oh fine, just click play.

Admit it, your Discman/Walkman-toting ’90s childhood came screaming back just a little, didn’t it?

So, I ask you fine readers: What was your first Christmas album back in the day? I’d love to hear from you!

You can contact me on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut to tell me what your first Christmas album was!

Allison was a Walkman/Discman-toting ’90s child, and she’s proud to admit it. She didn’t buy her next Christmas album until the year she graduated high school, but this was her first, and she’ll always treasure it…even if she can’t find her copy and had to listen to it on You Tube (thank goodness for You Tube!). If you like what you’ve seen/heard here, she’s got a whole blog of Christmas craziness (until December 25th, of course, then it just becomes craziness as usual!), over at Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

She really would love to know what your first Christmas album was!