Chicago 13 is the eleventh album by the American band Chicago, released in 1979. The follow-up to Hot Streets, Chicago 13 is often considered an unpopular release among Chicago's catalog, both critically and with fans. This would be the band's final release that features Terry Kath's replacement Donnie Dacus.
Well aware that musical trends were evolving, with disco at its peak in 1979, Chicago and co-producer Phil Ramone went for a slick sound, placing the band into a late 1970s clubbing context. While at the time they felt they were moving on and exploring new areas, Chicago's move into that territory, especially "Street Player", was reviled by critics and bewildered the group's rapidly dwindling fanbase. While all band members would contribute to the songwriting (one of only two albums where this was the case, the other being Chicago VII), Robert Lamm and James Pankow's once-prolific songwriting had dwindled, while Peter Cetera was still gaining in momentum, singing most of the lead vocals.
After recording sessions in Montreal and Hollywood, Chicago 13 - which saw the band return to numbering their albums with their trademark name logo - was released that August and was preceded by Donnie Dacus' "Must Have Been Crazy" as lead single - a track that couldn't have been further removed from Chicago's well-known sound. As a consequence, Chicago 13 was the first Chicago album to bear no significant hit singles, hurting their reputation greatly, especially since they had just re-signed with Columbia Records for millions. With dismal reviews, Chicago 13 only reached #21 - good enough to go gold, but well under expectations. Not long after its release, realizing that the union was perhaps not as well-fitting as originally thought, Terry Kath's replacement, Donnie Dacus, was let go. Now at the end of the 1970s and facing an uncertain future, Chicago pondered what their next move would be.
In 2003, Chicago 13 was remastered and reissued by Rhino Records with a B-Side, Dacus' "Closer To You" (an outtake from the Hot Streets sessions), and the 12-inch single mix of "Street Player" as bonus tracks. (Trivia: The songs "Street Player" and "Closer To You" had previously been released by other artists -- "Street Player" by Rufus, who originally recorded it before Chicago; and "Closer" by Stephen Stills, though with a Donnie Dacus lead vocal. "Street Player" did eventually reach hit status, being sampled for both the 1995 hit "The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)" by The Bucketheads and the 2009 hit "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" by Pitbull.)
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