|THE HEART OF CHICAGO, VOLUMES I and II
Release Date: 1997/1998
Cover Design: Collages
Proves Cover Theory? No
Becky Rating: VII out of X
The Heart of Chicago greatest hits-plus packages were released on Reprise in 1997 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the formation of Chicago in 1967. Each CD contains many of Chicago's biggest hits, plus two newly-recorded songs from the mid-90s version of the band. Rather than try to rate the CDs by song selection, let's just list the new and old songs on each one.
Volume One, with the red cover, includes the hits "You're The Inspiration," "If You Leave Me Now,""Make Me Smile,"Hard Habit To Break," "Saturday in the Park," "Wishing You Were Here," "Colour My World," "Look Away," "Just You 'N' Me," "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," "Will You Still Love Me?," "Beginnings," and "Hard To Say I'm Sorry/Get Away."
The new songs are "The Only One," a decent James Pankow tune that gives all three singers a chance to take a lead (and was produced by, of all people, Lenny Kravitz, who I think contributes some guitar and backing vocals), and "Here In My Heart," a boring ballad. Somehow, this snoozefest got to Number One on the Adult Contemporary singles chart.
Volume Two, with the blue cover, contains the hits "Dialogue (Parts 1 & 2)," "Old Days," "Love Me Tomorrow," "Baby What A Big Surprise," "You're Not Alone," "What Kind Of Man Would I Be," "No Tell Lover," "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long," "Call On Me," "I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love," "Feelin' Stronger Every Day," "Stay The Night," "I'm A Man," and "25 Or 6 To 4."
The two new songs are "All Roads Lead To You," and "Show Me A Sign," both catchy and well-recorded but unremarkable songs.
Alert readers will notice that all the hits on these two CDs are also present on the 2002 Very Best of Chicago release. The Heart CDs were released before Rhino Records bought the Chicago catalog in the 2000s. The only reason to purchase these CDs now, is to get the four new songs. If you're a Chicago completist, or are very interested in the 90s version of Chicago, go ahead; however, the average fan would be better off with VBO.
Oh, by the way, guys, didn't you have a percussionist in the '70s? Is there some reason why you left his name off the liner notes? The rating for these CDs was lowered I point just for that.
(c) 2003 Becky Banfield for Dos Gardenias Productions