Chicago's kitschy, horn-dominated sound and unabashed overtures to centrist audiences seemed an unlikely fit with the ultrahip rock denizens also reaping commercial success in the early '70s. Chicago Transit Authority, which was later shortened, was something of a prog sensation when it began and opened shows for Jimi Hendrix. With Steve Winwood's "I'm a Man" as the band's signature song, Chicago's first record was an ambitious double album ricocheting with extended brass, keyboard, and percussion jams. As the band evolved, so did the repetitious album covers, the Roman numerals for titles, and plenty of songs that became chart staples, including "Saturday in the Park," "Make Me Smile," "Just You 'n' Me," and "If You Leave Me Now."
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Today's Chicago boasts only four of its original members, but its sound remains intact. With the numerical albums reaching XXXII in 2008 and a 2002 greatest-hits package still buoying sales into their fifth decade, the band was recently dubbed by Billboard as number 13 among the highest-charting groups of all time. Though far from "Only the Beginning," they're clearly not done yet.