Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
"I started playing when I was nine years old because I saw Benny Goodman on The Ed Sullivan Show. I was a clarinetist to start with. I picked up the saxophone along the way and discovered that you could make a buck and get some girls playing a saxophone in a rock 'n roll band.”
Walter Parazaider, saxophonist in tonight’s featured group.
It's Friday night. Time to unwind with our regular Friday night feature on This Just In.
The weekend has finally arrived.
The sun has set.
The evening sky has erupted.
Let's smooth our way into Saturday and Sunday.
Tonight, music from a legendary band that performs at Summerfest this Sunday night.
“You are on my Mind” from...
Chart statistics from Billboard show the rock band Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time when both albums and singles are considered. And yet, the group that’s been around since the 1960’s and is still going strong has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Back in April, Jamie Reno of the Daily Beast wrote about Hall of Fame snubs:
“Arguably the most glaring omission of them all is Chicago, which besides the Beach Boys is the most popular and enduring American rock band of all time. Chicago, which is celebrating its 45th year and still selling records and concert tickets worldwide, was once considered progressive, innovative and musically subversive. In the beginning, they couldn’t even get AM airplay, only FM album stations would touch them. But the band, whose early integration of horns into rock music was certainly influential, is evidently being punished by the RRHOF overlords because the hard-driving R&B and jazz-rock of its early days was replaced to a large degree by a more polished, middle-of-the-road (some would say middle-aged) sound. They still knock your socks off in concert, by the way.”
More on this after we listen to a track you probably won’t hear if go to Chicago’s concert Sunday, but it’s perfect for our weekly Friday get-together. The lyrics relate to the band’s previous studio work in Los Angeles and the subsequent move to New York for recording Chicago V.
“Feels so good to be soaring, Cause LA was so boring, Goodbye. There must be room for growing, somewhere else, and I’m going, Goodbye.”
Back to the Hall of Fame rejection. A blogger at “Edge Induced Cohesions” speculates.
“Voters fail to realize the daring nature of their musical vision and the jazzy quality of their original work and judge them for cheesy 1980′s romantic ballads. Additionally, the band gets less credit for their success than their producers have, and the fact that they were a template for 1980′s middle-of-the-road rock is held against them.
Verdict: Put these guys in—immediately. No one holds popular success against bands like the Beatles or the Beach Boys, so why hold it against Chicago?”
Chicago VII blended various musical elements including jazz, folk, and pop. Reportedly, the album was supposed to be a package of all jazz fusion instrumentals. However, Peter Cetera, rumored to have hated horns, suggested some pop vocals and the concept turned into a double album.
Lots of great stuff on that LP, including “Hanky Panky” which segues into “Life Saver.”
“…Chicago has been singularly underrated since the beginning of its long career, both because of its musical ambitions (to the musicians, rock is only one of several styles of music to be used and blended, along with classical, jazz, R&B, and pop) and because of its refusal to emphasize celebrity over the music. The result has been that fundamentalist rock critics have consistently failed to appreciate its music and that its media profile has always been low. At the same time, however, Chicago has succeeded in the ways it intended to. From the beginning of its emergence as a national act, it has been able to fill arenas with satisfied fans. And beyond the impressive sales and chart statistics, its music has endured, played constantly on the radio and instantly familiar to tens of millions.”
William Ruhlmann, writing in the “Allmusic Guide.”
When the song “Dream a Little Dream of Me” is mentioned, who do you think of?
The Mamas and the Papas with Cass Elliott on the lead vocal, right?
They weren’t the first to record the song. Not even close.
Ozzie Nelson, Ricky’s father, did it way back in 1931 with his orchestra. Only a few days later, Wayne King, the “Waltz King” who influenced people like Lawrence Welk also made a recording.
In 1995, Chicago released an all-big band album, “Night and Day” that featured their twist on a song now dating back over 80 years. They're accompanied here on vocals by the group Jade.
Chicago has been eligible every year since 1994 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group has never been nominated.
That’s it for this week. We do it every Friday night so stop back again, please.
Dream a little dream.
Have a good weekend.