Let me ask you a question (but not Questions 67 and 68): have you ever heard Chicago sing in Japanese? If you answered no, then you’re in for a real treat! Who knows, we may actually find out what the answers to Questions 67 and 68 in Japanese!
But, Before We Begin…
This article marks the first Retroist article I’ve written since I was bestowed the honor of being a full-fledged editor privileges on the site.
What does that mean? I can now publish and schedule my own posts. It also means power, prestige, and a key to the Editors Bathrooms.
Still waiting for those…
I’m very excited about this fact (editor privileges, not bathroom keys – that part was Vic’s joke), and would like to thank our fearless leader, The Retroist, and my wonderful co-editor/article publisher for their support and allowing me to write about something I love for the last three years!
Now with that out of the way…
Let’s Get *This* Out of the Way…
Chicago, Chicago (my kind of town). The city, the band, rock with horns. This is redundant. I’d write this intro, but I’ve written it quite a few times. So, what say you? Let’s skip the intro and get to the good stuff!
Disco, Hip Hop…Japanese?
The former only sounded good when cut down by several minutes (and done live), and the latter was part of an album that took fourteen years to be released (as mentioned here and here, as well as the “Hip Hop” article).
As for singing in Japanese, that happened in 1995, in a live Chicago concert filmed in Tokyo!
But first…I’d like to know, can you tell me, what song was it, and what does the song mean?
Music history time!
Questions 67 and 68
“Questions 67 and 68” is a 1969 song from Chicago’s debut album, Chicago Transit Authority. Written by Robert Lamm (and performed by Peter Cetera – later Jason Scheff – with Lamm on backing vocals), the “67th” and “68th” questions address the nature of a romantic relationship Lamm had in 1967 and 1968. You know, a song with a personal edge. If you’ve listened to enough of their work (or read/heard enough about their songs), then you know they relate songs back to their lives.
Find me an artist/group without a song/songs that have personal meanings. I’ll wait.
Oh heck, let’s just keep going. We’ve got ground to cover, and songs to hear!
Anyway, “Questions 67 and 68” was released in July 1969, charting at #71 on the Billboard Hot 100, then edited to a more radio-friendly version. It was re-released as the B-side to “I’m A Man” in September 1971, where it charted at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song, in its original form, is a Chicago concert staple. I’ve heard, it, I’ve seen it live, and I’ve watched quite a few of their older live shows. They always perform this one. As I said, Peter Cetera originally took lead and asked Questions 67 and 68, until Jason Scheff took over.
If you haven’t heard the song in its original form, I’ll drop this right here. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
Upload via Chicago Band
That’s the English version. But, it was Scheff – with Robert Lamm, of course – who asked those questions – in Japanese!
That’s right, Jason Scheff, Robert Lamm, and Chicago asked Questions 67 and 68 in Japanese!
In 1995, Chicago recorded a live concert video (one of many I’ve found on YouTube) from Japan, in promotion of their then-current album Night and Day: Big Band (yes, they also did a Big Band-era album!). I started watching it during my lunchbreak the day I’m writing this, and, well…I’m hooked (like that was a stretch!). I haven’t gotten far into it yet, but after seeing the performance that became the subject of this article, the moment got me and screamed “you need to write this down!”
There could be some other amazing moment to write about, but this one got me!
Upload via Sergio Martinez
You know, Chicago never did answer Questions 67 and 68 in English, and they certainly didn’t answer Questions 67 and 68 in Japanese.
I guess some questions are better left unanswered, or alluded to. Especially 67 and 68.
And Just In Case You’re Interested…
The song is featured in this concert recording. I highly recommend it, especially for the introduction segment, as well as the making of the Big Band album! The first half of the show features all the Chicago staples one could ever want or need, followed by a second half full of Big Band, along with a huge finale that isn’t anything less than their usual magic!
Come for the music, stay for the moment James Pankow says “to hell with sleeves!” and rids himself of a long-sleeved shirt, Jason Scheff removes his leather jacket (swoon), and Keith Howland (swoon) smiles with this “I made it!” look on his face. And you’ll get to hear some Big Band too! It’s awesome!
It’s a great concert!
Upload via All Bootleg Life
The introduction segment even has Newbie Keith saying it is his first time in Japan. These guys, the seasoned pros they are, act like performing at the Budokan is just another Saturday…in the park.
I wasn’t going to go there, and yet, I did.
(For the record, they’ve performed at Budokan quite a few times, with their first appearance there on June 8, 1972.)