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Recorded in 1993, Stone of Sisyphus didn't appear as scheduled in 1994 due to Chicago's record label, Warner, believing the album to be too uncommercial. As it often happens with unreleased records by major acts, a legend built up around the scrapped record, at least among devoted Chicago fans, the kind who would appreciate the musical stretching found on Stone of Sisyphus. Frankly, they may be the only group to appreciate the departures on Stone of Sisyphus, as it's a curious creature -- a splashy, expensive mainstream album that's restless yet not quite experimental but entirely devoid of pop songs. If this had been the Chicago of the early '70s, who specialized in ten-minute jazz-rock songs on their series of double albums, perhaps it would have been easier for the label to accept the variety of sounds here, but this was a Chicago coming out of five years of big placid adult contemporary hits -- songs that courted an audience that would bristle at the stiff funk of "Mah-Jong" or the Jordanaires singing harmonies on the airy "Bigger Than Elvis." Surely, any listener would shudder at "Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed," an absurd socially conscious rap track by Robert Lamm that almost certainly was the final nail in the coffin for Warner, as it's hard to imagine any audience that would find this appealing. "Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed" also goes a long way toward illustrating just how odd Stone of Sisyphus is: it's tame compared to any other record from 1993-1994, but judged alongside Chicago's other albums it's flat-out bizarre, the sound of a group desperate for a departure in the wake of a flop (1991's Chicago Twenty 1), so the bandmembers will try anything different within the confines of their sound. This means not abandoning the pristine productions -- this time courtesy of Peter Wolf, not the guy from J. Geils -- but it does mean leaving melody behind, switching up song constructions, getting a little jazzy again, and indulging a social consciousness, all things that reward the patience of loyal listeners and bewilder anybody else.
Performance CreditsChicago Primary Artist
Jordanaires Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Bill Champlin Rhythm Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Bruce Gaitsch Guitar,Guest Appearance
Tris Imboden Harmonica,Percussion,Drums
Lee Loughnane Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Background Vocals
James Pankow Trombone,Vocals
Walter Parazaider Background Vocals,Woodwind
Sheldon Reynolds Guitar,Guest Appearance
Jason Scheff Bass,Background Vocals
Jerry Scheff Bass,Guest Appearance
Joseph "Gospel Joe" Williams Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Peter Wolf Keyboards,keyboard bass,Guest Appearance
Robert Lamm Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Technical CreditsGreg Mathieson Composer
Bill Champlin Composer
Dawayne Bailey Composer
Paul Ericksen Engineer,Remixing
Bruce Gaitsch Composer
Lee Loughnane Composer
Dennis Matkosky Composer
John McCurry Composer
Greg O'Connor Composer
James Pankow Composer,Horn Arrangements
Jason Scheff Composer,Horn Arrangements
Brock Walsh Composer
Ina Wolf Composer
Aaron Zigman Composer
Peter Schivarelli Management
Bill DeYoung Liner Notes
Peter Wolf Arranger,Producer,Remixing
Robert Lamm Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This album is actually quite interesting. If you are a Chicago fan, you would no doubt want to check this out. There are some good tracks here. Compare this to what is out there musically today, and I'd say emphatically, go for it. This band deserves more credit than they have gotten, I mean who can discredit there success. Yes they have had some so so albums, but they have really been working their ---- off on the road. They still can crank it out!
I've had this bootleg for years. Glad it's finally going to be officially released. Keep rockin' Chicago and thank you Rhino!
I , like many Chicago fans, thought this album might never see the light of day. I am so glad they finally decided to release it and it was SO worth the 15 year wait. It is amazing! It is, in many ways, a return to the style of music that put them on the map 40 years ago- edgy with a definate rock sound. I can't get enough of it- in fact I bought 4 copies and gave them to friends who have all loved it! The band has often said in interviews that they feel this is some of their best work ever and I agree!
I, like so many CHICAGO fans, have been long awaiting the release of "Stone of Sisyphus," also known as CHICAGO XXXII. The wait is finally over and I'm proud and pleased to say this is perhaps one of the band's best all around efforts since the early years (even though I have all 32 and enjoy each one). You can tell by listening to this creative treat that members of CHICAGO believed in this project during the recording session. The band is on fire and this comes across in each track. Their return to the driving, big brass sound along with great vocals is very much welcomed. Although each song is worthy of air time, you can tell CHICAGO isn't worried about making the Top 40 instead, they allow their creative genius to speak for itself on songs such as "Stone of Sisyphus," "Bigger Than Elvis," "All The Years," "Let's Take A Lifetime," "The Pull," "Cry For The Lost," "The Show Must Go On" and the bonus track, "Love Is Forever." On behalf of all CHICAGO fans "and those who've just been won over by CHICAGO XXXII", thank you Lee, Walt, James, Robert, Bill, Jason, Keith, Tris & Dwayne" (and Rhino Records) for a recording well worth the wait!