1972 Chicago – Dialogue
Six musicians in Chicago formed The Big Thing in early 1967. The group included three musicians in a horn section, an unusual feature for a rock group. They added a bass player and renamed themselves The Chicago Transit Authority when they released their first album in 1969. The group released two singles off the album, but the first single peaked at only #71, and the second single missed the charts completely. The real CTA put pressure on the group over their use of the name, and the band shortened their name to Chicago.
Chicago II put the group on the road to the charts with two top ten singles. Their record company gleefully re-released two top ten singles from the first album and a few singles from their newest album. When the new songs failed to do well, the company then re-released their first single from the first album. Question 67 & 68 proceeded to stall at #24 on the Hot 100 in late 1971.
Beginning in 1972, five of the group’s next six singles entered the top ten. The group’s fifth album ended side one with two cuts that made up a seven-minute song, Dialogue (Part 1) and Dialogue (Part 2). Robert Lamm wrote the song, which featured Terry Kath and Peter Cetera singing back and forth to each other.
The record company must have been hesitant to release a song that long on one side of a single, even though several songs of that length had already done well enough on the charts. Instead, the company split the song into two parts, placing them on the opposite sides of their next single. They sent out a Dialogue (Part 1) promo record to radio stations, but a lot of stations (especially FM and college stations) ignored the single and played the complete album cut.
The record peaked at only #24 on the Hot 100 in 1972. While the record references some specific problems in Society in the early seventies, a fresh listen to the song shows it may well be timeless.
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