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Back Cover
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First Released

Calendar Icon 1971

Genre

Genre Icon Rock

Mood

Mood Icon Political

Style

Style Icon Rock/Pop

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Release Format

Release Format Icon Live

Record Label Release

Speed Icon Rhino

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Album Description
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Chicago at Carnegie Hall is the first live album and fourth album overall by American band Chicago and was initially released in 1971 as a four LP vinyl box set on Columbia Records. It was also available for a time as two separate 2-record sets. A Quadraphonic mix of the album was proposed, but was never done, possibly due to the band's objection to the record being released in the first place. This is the only Chicago album of their first ten releases not to have a Quadraphonic release in any format.

While touring in support of Chicago III, Chicago played Carnegie Hall for a week in April 1971 and recorded all of their shows. Deciding that most of the songs performed there (virtually, the first three double albums, together with the new "A Song For Richard And His Friends") were worthy of release, producer James William Guercio compiled a mammoth four-LP box set collection for release as Chicago's fourth album (that distinction being responsible for the album's nickname of Chicago IV).

Columbia were very skeptical on the risk the extended set posed, and with a decrease in royalties to counter that fear (a similar situation befell their 1969 debut The Chicago Transit Authority), Chicago released Chicago at Carnegie Hall that October to a mixed reaction. While the set sold very well, reaching #3 in the US (but failing to chart at all in the UK), the critics found the album too long - and even indulgent with its moments of tune-ups. The band themselves have remained divided through the years over the merits of the album.

Despite poor sound quality, Chicago at Carnegie Hall went on to become the best-selling box set by a rock act, a record which stood until the release of the Live/1975-85 5 LP live box set by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in 1986. It is still the best-selling 4 LP set.

The original LP release of this set contained two giant posters of the band, a poster of Carnegie Hall's exterior, an insert about voting information, and a 20-page softcover booklet containing photos of the band members playing during the concert and a full touring schedule from their first tour through their 1971 U.S. tour on the back.

In 2005, Chicago at Carnegie Hall was remastered and re-issued on three CDs by Rhino Records with much improved sound quality, a bonus disc of eight tracks of alternate takes and songs not on the 1971 edition, plus recreations of nearly all the original posters and packaging.

One member of the band, James Pankow didn't like how the band sounded at Carnegie Hall:
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