30-Day Song Challenge Day Seven
Day seven of the 30-day song challenge and it’s time to pick the song I would like to drive to.
The 30-day song challenge is picking songs from the list below. I started it so I can write a new blog every day over the 30 day period with each one focusing on the song of the day.
I’ve never driven a car. Well, let me clarify that. I’ve driven a car 6 times. Let me narrow down this clarification, I have had six driving lessons. During the sixth lesson I approached a roundabout at a speed of roughly 35 miles an hour nearly giving my instructor a heart attack. It was at this point I decided my late teens would be best spent in other areas. These areas mainly included being misunderstood and having a really greasy, spotty face.
But…I have been in a car. I’ve been in numerous ones despite having recurring dreams of being in a nasty car accident. So, todays pick is a bit of a challenge and I was tempted to go for some kind of Status Quo vibe. Then I remembered a song that has become a real favourite of mine recently. It is written and performed by the a band that describe themselves as “rock and roll but with horns”. That band is Chicago.
Chicago…For Driving? WTF?
Firstly, calm down. Secondly, hear me out. Chicago’s musical career can be split into two clear sections. The late 60s/early 70s drinking, partying and doing those drug things Chicago, followed by the 80s power ballads bull crap Chicago.
25 Or 6 To 4
The above heading isn’t the time it was when I lost my marbles and started listening to Chicago. It’s the name of the track that I would love to drive to (if 17 year old me hadn’t almost killed my instructor).
Hey, some people take to driving and others don’t ok? I was a very mixed up 17-year old with low confidence. I also lived in a pub and may have still been drunk from the night before each lesson. My lessons were on a Friday morning and the pub pool league was on a Thursday night…you do the science!
One afternoon while laying on my shattered back, trying to recover from my slipped discs I was scrolling through Netflix. It was one of those days when nothing you see takes your fancy. I’d also been laying in bed for about 3 months by this point and was running out of options of what to watch.
It was while scrolling through Netflix that I came across a documentary about, what I thought at the time, shit ballad turds band, Chicago. But extreme times call for extreme actions and I hit play.
I discovered that Chicago’s career can be split into two and the exact point it changed picked out – January 23rd 1978. On that night, Terry Kath, a founding member of the band, their main songwriter, lead guitarist and lead vocalist, died of an accidental self-inflicted gun shot wound from a gun he thought was unloaded.
Up to that point with Terry had been the main artistic driving force of the band but after his death, bass player Peter Cetera took over. It was at this point Chicago went a bit Celine Dion.
Should I Try To Do Some More?
But lets get to the song I’ve chosen. While watching the documentary , discovering this other band that was Chicago but wasn’t actually Chicago, they began talking about a song which helped make their name. That song was called 25 Or 6 To 4, written by Robert Lamm after a particularly… late night. The title refers to the time in the morning and whether he should keep going on his bender or go to bed. At the time I was also having a similar problem in that I wasn’t sure if I should have my afternoon nap at 4pm or 5pm.
From the opening guitar riff to the long note held by the brass section at the end it’s a rocker. The whole track jumps out and hits you like a block of concrete falling into a vat of custard. It’s really hard to not get carried away with the energy of it. If I was driving to this track I would be approaching roundabouts at 55 miles an hour, never mind 35!
The There’s The Guitar Solo
At 1 minute and 58 seconds the song goes onto another level when Terry Kath begins a guitar solo that runs until 3 minutes and 15 in the track. It may be one of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded. If I was to be driving while listening to this track the giutar solo would come in just as I was veering in and out of innocent bystanders and smashing into fruit stalls.
It’s an awesome sound and Terry Kath was an extraordinary guitar player. Jimi Hendrix saw Chicago play an early gig at the Whiskey A Go Go. After the gig he is qouted as saying “your horn players are like one set of lungs and your guitar player is better than me”.
I don’t think you can get higher praise as a guitarist than Jimi Hendrix telling you that you are better than Jimi Hendrix. Have a listen and enjoy
I’ve started a playlist of Spotify of the tracks I am picking. If you have Spotify please click and follow –
You can also catch up with my previous choices starting here – 30-DAY SONG CHALLENGE DAY SIX