Chicago was founded by a group of music students and other friends, led by guitarist-singer Terry Kath (Jan. 31, 1946 - Jan. 23, 1978). Other founding band members included keyboardist Robert Lamm (b. Oct. 13, 1944), trombonist James Pankow (b. Aug. 20, 1947), trumpet player Lee Loughnane (b. Oct. 21, 1946), saxophonist Walter Parazaider (b. March 14, 1945), drummer Danny Seraphine (b. Aug. 28, 1948) and singer-bassist Peter Cetera (b. Sept. 13, 1944)
After evolving from a local cover band, Chicago moved to Los Angeles in 1968. The following year, the band's debut album, “The Chicago Transit Authority,” included the hit “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” The followup, “Chicago” (a.k.a. “Chicago II”), included the early signature song “25 or 6 to 4.” Both songs were written by Lamm.
Chicago had its first No. 1 hit in 1976 with the Grammy-winning “If You Leave Me Now,” a softer, meditative love song with horns far less prominent.
The band's winning streak was abruptly interrupted Jan. 23, 1978, when Kath was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, believed to be accidental. The band regrouped with new guitarist Donnie Dacus (b. Oct. 12, 1951), and later that year released “Hot Streets,” an album recorded in Miami and Los Angeles. The first single was “Alive Again,” but the album was the first not to reach the top 10. At the end of 1979, Dacus was fired.
The next album, 1981's “Chicago XIV,” pushed the horns into the background and reached only No. 71 on the Billboard pop album chart, and its two singles drew little attention. The band's next release was “Chicago 16” (skipping a number, as if to put bad recent experiences further into the past). Joining was singer-guitarist-keyboardist Bill Champlin (b. May 21, 1947), and recording sessions were produced by hit-maker David Foster.
As a result, Chicago had a more adult-contemporary sound, one especially suited to the soft rock ballads of Cetera. It included “Hard to Say I'm Sorry,” Chicago's first chart-topping single in years.
In 1981, Cetera released his first solo album, which was not a success. But the band's next album, “Chicago 17,” included several hits sung by Cetera including “Hard Habit to Break” and “You're the Inspiration.” His desire to record a second solo album led to his exit from Chicago in 1985. His subsequent solo career would earn five top 40 singles, beginning with the chart-topping “Glory of Love” in 1986. Chicago still records and tours.