Chicago | Chicago 17 | 180g Vinyl LP

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Mastered From Original Chicago Records Master Tapes

Mastered by Friday Music's Joe Reagoso With Chicago's Lee Loughnane


Ballads were a big part of 17 -- in fact, these hits and album cuts like "Remember the Feeling" are among the first power ballads, ballads that were given arena rock flourishes and dramatic arrangements but never took the focus off the melody, so housewives and preteens alike could sing along with them. Power ballads later became the province of hair metal bands like Bon Jovi and Poison, but Foster's work with Chicago on 17 really helped set the stage for them, since he not only gave the ballads sweeping rock arrangements, but the harder, punchier tunes here play like ballads.
Even when the band turns up the intensity here -- "Stay the Night" has a spare, rather ominous beat that suggests they were trying for album-oriented rock; "Along Comes a Woman" has a stiff drum loop and a hiccupping synth bass that suggests dance-pop -- the music is still slick, shiny, and soft, music that can appeal to the widest possible audience. 17 did indeed find the widest possible audience, as it ruled radio into late 1985, by which time there were plenty of imitators of Foster's style. There may have been plenty of imitators -- soon, solo Cetera was one of them, making music that was indistinguishable from this -- but nobody bettered Foster, and Chicago 17 is his pi?ce de r_sistance, a record that sounded so good it didn't quite matter that some of the material didn't stick as songs; as a production, it was the pinnacle of his craft and one of the best adult contemporary records of the '80s, perhaps the best of them all.


Certainly, it's hard to think of another adult contemporary album quite as influential within its style as this -- not only did it color the records that followed, but it's hard not to think of Chicago 17 as the place where soft rock moved away from the warm, lush sounds that defined the style in the late '70s and early '80s and moved toward the crisp, meticulous, synthesized sound of adult contemporary pop.

LP Track Listing:

_1. Stay the Night

2. We Can Stop the Hurtin'

3. Hard Habit to Break

4. Only You

5. Remember the Feeling

6. Along Comes A Woman

7. You're the Inspiration

8. Please Hold On

9. Prima Donna

10. Once In A Lifetime