Going in to Chicago 16, it seemed like everything was against them. Music had changed leaving their jazz rock out of style, the death of guitarist Terry Kath and distancing from producer James William Guercio left them creatively adrift and they left long time record label Columbia in hopes of a new start. Two key factors set the band in the right direction, one was Producer David Foster who in turn brought in keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Bill Champlin.
If You Leave Me Now (1982)
Knowing they had a long career (I mean, the album is called 16 for a reason) I grabbed a convenient comp of their 70's stuff. It was a good enough best of including "25 or 6 to 4", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "No Tell Lover" and the infamous "Song For You". Even though the musical style is very different between their 70's and 80's work, I had grown up hearing the softer songs on the radio (like "I've Been Searchin' So Long") which further entrenched their greatness in my mind.
Group Portrait (1991)
If it's one thing this band knows how to do, it's anthologize its own music. A four CD box set of the Columbia years with remastered sound, this was an great compilation of the band's classic 70's era. All of the songs of interest big and small were included, making me a fan of lesser known tracks like "You Are On My Mind", "Alma Mater" and "Thunder And Lightning". There is a distinct arc to the band's career as you can trace the ideas starting off strong on the first disc only to dwindle away by the fourth disc. One thing this box set accomplished is help me appreciate how talented Terry Kath was. This guy had a Ray Charles soul and was a stunning guitarist. What a sad loss.
Stone Of Sisyphus (1993 / 2008)