[Sweet 16?] -- Forty years ago this week -- on June 7, 1982 -- Chicago released their 13th studio album, Chicago 16. The 16 comes from the band's canon numbering, which ignores several of their live and compilation albums while including Chicago Transit Authority (1969), Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971), and Hot Streets (1978) as their first, fourth, and twelfth releases.
Depending on one's tastes, Chicago 16 is either a valiant comeback or the beginning of the band's decline. Either way, this record certainly represents a new phase of Chicago's sound and career. They had moved to a new label, Warner Bros., and with that shift came a new producer, David Foster, as well as management edicts indicating that radio stations "didn’t want anything with horns on it." Foster not only helmed the studio, but also joined the band by playing keyboards and was a co-writer on eight tracks of Chicago 16. Through Foster, Chicago embraced more aspects of the 1980s and arena rock, with keyboards and guitars becoming more prominent. And to satisfy that management note, Chicago's previous trademark horns, while still present, start to take a back seat. This is particularly true of the two big hits -- "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "Love Me Tomorrow" -- the latter of which has no horns whatsoever.
Still, nothing succeeds like success (or was that excess-ive production?). "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" peaked at #1 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Adult Contemporary charts, as well as reaching the top 20 or better on charts around the world. "Love Me Tomorrow" did well on the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard Adult Contemporary, and US Cash Box Top 100 (#22, #8, and #22 respectively). Chicago 16 was a hit album, being certified platinum (their first album since 1978 to do so) and peaking at #9 on the Billboard 200 as well as within the top 40 for several other countries.
Flashback: Chicago 16 (1982)
That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!