David Foster Is Playing With Fire…And Chicago’s Horn Section!

Because David Foster + Chicago Horn Section = AWESOMENESS!

The Hit Man Hits The Wallet!

Ah, the famous “I got your money!” look.

A few years ago, I gifted my mom with every David Foster CD I could find. From the glory of the Hit Man concert DVD/CD combos (there are two different concerts), to River of Love, and even The Symphony Sessions (an album I wasn’t sure she’d like, but was something I really loved hearing on I Heart Radio), my mom and I would bond over listening to Foster’s piano-playing prowess (so much alliteration!!!!), and the ability to make any song an epic listening experience!

One of the other albums I found during all the searches was actually Foster’s debut album, titled, simply (because only he can!), David Foster. For someone who spent his career up until that point writing songs and producing hits for other artists, Foster had only put out one album of his own work, The Best of Me, in 1983. This album, released in 1986, was a collaboration of Foster and the friends and people he had worked with previously. That was, my friends, a whole lotta people.

Friends and Associations

David Foster’s list of hits and production contributions is numerous and far-reaching. In the 1980s, he was (at least partially) responsible for giving Chicago the big comeback they needed following the disco disaster of 1979. So when Foster was ready to release his self-titled albm, he called on a few friends. Of which he has many.

Three of those friends just happen to be a trio (part of a larger band) hailing from the Windy City, who happen to be quite handy with brass instruments, backup vocals, and two of the three are responsible for the Street Player dance (begins at 3:00)…

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Oh that dance.

The trio Foster called upon to provide their horns are none other than James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, and Walter Parazaider, the horn section that gives Chicago that “rock with horns” thing they’re known for!

The song this triple threat provided their magic for was “Playing with Fire,” an amazing instrumental piece that also features drummer Tris Imboden (pre-Chicago), who is half of this awesome duel…

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This song is one of several in a great instrumental lineup that this album offers. I should note that I covered tapDANCE (yes, that is how it is listed on the album) in a previous Retroist article. I’ll have to cover the rest of this album at another time, but for now, please enjoy the music, by clicking play!

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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!

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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…

Gregory Hines Tap Dancing To…”Tap Dance”

I couldn’t think of a more clever title! Give me a break!!!!

I danced for 21 and a half years (the 22nd year ended in injury halfway through the year, and signaled my “retirement” from dance). So if you ever want to know why I write as much as I do, it’s because I was initially filling a void left behind by dance. Now it is a hobby I embrace with the love and dedication that anyone should give to their talent. I pride in referring to myself as a writer and content contributor the way I referred to myself as a “Non-Professional Hip Hop Dancer.” Now I throw “Retired” in front of that and call it a day.

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Me in 1988 (age 5) in my first recital.

I studied Jazz for eleven years, Ballet for four years, and Hip Hop for six and a half years (the half year was the injury year).

I loved to perform – there was nothing quite like a costume, enough makeup to impress a clown, and a huge stage. I loved it so much, that returning as an adult at the age of 25 was like a homecoming of sorts. Sure the studio and teachers were different, but there is nothing quite like feeling in your element, no matter where you are. A dance floor is a dance floor, a ballet barre is a ballet barre, and a stage…is a stage.

 

The one type of dance I never got into was Tap. I did take little kid classes until I was seven years old that involved Tap, but it wasn’t something I wanted to continue. Of course, all my friends did Tap in the adult classes, and I wanted to try it, but never did. Now I’m convinced I would have been forced into retirement sooner if I did.

Just because I never tried Tap, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it – the kicklines, the sound of the shoes (which I LOVED as a little kid), the rhythm, the sound of the shoes, the costumes, the sound of the shoes…yeah, you get my point. I loved spectating when it came to Tap. Not having a mind for it (I’m a classic over-thinker, which can be a bad thing in dance in general, but worse for Tap), and having friends who were amazing at it was what interested me more.

The other thing that interested me more? Watching professionals do it. Like Gregory Hines.

I’ll confess, I’ve never seen White Nights. I know Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov were in it, I know Lionel Richie has a song on the soundtrack (“Say You, Say Me”), and I know Hines was a Tap dancer in real life the way Baryshnikov was a Ballet dancer in real life. Oh, and they play dancers in the movie.

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Magical!

Would you like to see the magic happen? Hit play, and be AMAZED!

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And this is where I reference David Foster.

Again.

The song playing in the background is the David Foster-composed “Tap Dance,” and it is on Foster’s 1986 album…David Foster. I’m sorry guys, I’m striking out with all kinds of non surprises.

I love the “It’s-So-1980s” appeal of this song. It’s like aerobics and tap dance got together, had a child, and raised up that child up right. Did I mention David Foster is a genius? Because he is the one that made this song happen.

Sadly, I can’t find a music video to back this song up (because let’s face it, David Foster must have felt the music with the song!), but why have a music video when you can have Gregory Hines tapping? That’s even better!

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I especially love the dancing in this scene. Hines moves about the floor gracefully, all the while stomping with the glorious sound of taps. His was a talent lost with his passing, but thankfully is very well-preserved, based on what I found on You Tube. Every dancer should strive for so much! It seems that the dance world tends to get lost in the current trend of Hip Hop, but sometimes, the classics work well. And those who strive to preserve this art are keeping it alive and well!

The version heard in the movie has more tap sounds in it than the actual song does, so if you REALLY want to hear this song in all the glory it intends to have, here it is.

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Incredible.

Allison isn’t a world-class dancer, but she knows her stuff. She loves writing about David Foster (easily her favorite composer). If you like what you’ve seen here, she’d love for you to visit her on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. Ironically, her Twitter handle used to be @DancerChick1982.

She’s like Kevin Bacon in Footloose – she’s gotta dance!

Related:

Kenny Loggins and David Foster Brag, Then Perform Forever

And the Only Way to Start Your Set at a David Foster Concert? Heart to Heart!

Winter Games…In April?

Earth Wind and Fire Prove that Love for a Great Song is Written in the Stone

Will You Still Love the Changing Face of Chicago?

And the Only Way to Start Your Set at a David Foster Concert? Heart to Heart!

So, you probably read that article/fawning I wrote about the time Kenny Loggins and David Foster bragged about their songwriting prowess when it came to Loggins’ 1985 single “Forever.” And if you’re like me, you watched the source material video at least twice.

Don’t judge me!

If you haven’t seen this concert, there’s actually a song Loggins sang prior to bringing down the house with that incredible high note, and yes, it’s an equally good song to “Forever.”

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Loggins performed his 1982 song “Heart to Heart” as the first part of his set during Hit Man Returns: David Foster and Friends.I won’t bore you with the details of the song itself (I wrote about it last year over on my blog – feel free to take a look at that post), but I will show you Loggins nailing it almost thirty years later…and live!

For the uninitiated/Non-Kenny Loggins fans among us, “Heart to Heart” is from his 1982 album “High Adventure,” where it was cool to look like Indiana Jones crossed with Dennis Miller.

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(Source)?Hot.

And while the live version isn’t as great as the studio version, I only blame the lack of Michael McDonald backup vocals.

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But what it has is plenty of Loggins proving he still has it. He takes the song and totally feels the music. I expect conviction with nothing less than what any great artist can give,

You know what else this clip has? This husband and wife.

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Conviction. Catch the excitement!

And you know who else is feeling it?

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Kenny G and his sax. And the guy sitting behind Kenny G…and his sax.

Conviction!

Loggins also sang this song live with another famous face – and the guy behind the backup vocals on the original version – Doobie Brother himself, Michael McDonald!

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This one is amazing and funny at the same time – they sound and look terrific together on stage, and it’s worth sticking around to watch Michael McDonald forget the words and acknowledge it, while Loggins just laughs.

I’ll admit, this is one of my favorite (or damn close to it) Kenny Loggins song, and no matter who is on backing vocals, it’s a great song. I love the peppiness and meaning of the song, and let’s face it, white people jamming in the audience at a concert make it…even more white.

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Once more, with conviction!

Allison enjoys crafting these pieces with all the conviction of a white couple jamming in the audience at a David Foster concert. If you want to see more of that conviction, you can head on over to her blog, Allison’s Written Words, and you can also follow her blog on Facebook, and give her a tweet @AllisonGeeksOut.

She wrote this with conviction.