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13. Chicago

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Had we done this list with the criteria of chart success, Chicago would have easily been in our top ten. Having charted over multiple decades, Chicago has enjoyed a devoted following that few on this list can match. One has to wonder if the band was a little flashier, and the fans a little louder if it would not come as such a great shock as to the average music fan as to just how successful they were.


Chicago blended Jazz, Blues, Rock and Pop that combined with a rich assortment of horns created a melodic sound that reached mass audiences.   Although it was a successful style, the critics never seemed to respect them, despite the obvious technical talents they had.  In terms of seeking induction to Cleveland, Chicago developed a more Adult Contemporary style in the 80’s which although successful was even more critically disliked than before.  Despite their large fan base and Billboard success, there is a good chance that they could remain the most successful group of musicians to never gain enshrinement.



The Bullet Points:

Previous Rank:

2010: #20 


Eligible Since:



Country of Origin:

U.S.A. (Chicago, IL)


Why They Will Get In:    

Their extensive body of work has a large contingent of fans. 


Why They Won’t Get In:

Could this be another Jann Wenner snub?


Nominated In:



Essential Albums:

The Chicago Transit Authority (1969)

Chicago II (1970)

Chicago VII (1974)

Chicago X (1976)


Our Five Favorite Songs as Chosen by Each Member of the NIHOF Committee:

Beginnings (From The Chicago Transit Authority, 1969)

Questions 67 or 68 (From The Chicago Transit Authority, 1969)

25 or 6 to 4 (From Chicago II, 1970)

If You Leave Me Now (From Chicago X, 1976)

Baby, What a Big Surprise (From Chicago XI, 1977)




Should Chicago be in the Hall of Fame?

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Definitely put them in! - 63.6%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 15.2%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 0%
No opinion. - 3%
No way! - 18.2%

Last modified on Saturday, 01 February 2014 12:36


+2 #11 Lane 2013-10-16 14:37
Quoting Sonny Knight:
Perhaps the death of Terry Kath and Chicago's constant changes in band members is partly to blame. The theory that banda with horns are contrary to R&R standards. Not flashy enough? Don't tell that to James Pankow. Then again, he plays trombone.

I'd say it's more due to the fact that they never had a "face" - their logo is far more recognizable than any person in the band. This was intentional at the time, but has proven to be a double-edged sword.

With the exception of Peter Cetera, would anyone who wasn't a Chicago die hard recognize the rest of the band if they walked past them on the street?
+7 #12 Mickey Boyle 2014-01-30 23:20
With the refusal of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to recognize one of the greatest R&R bands of all time Chicago, I will always consider the organization a farce. Politics - Bull; "inappropriate horn section" - Bull; these guys are really a jazz band - Bull (play 25 or 6 to 4 only once and you will be full of crap to say that wasn't rock and roll and one of the greatest rock performances of all time. 45 years of existence will cause turnover for any group, and who says that Robert Lamm doesn't deserve to be considered the "face" of the group. All of the arguments I have heard over the years are all crap. I don't know what politics exist but to keep them out, as well as the Doobie Brothers, makes the Hall irrelevant with these two bands still entertaining people after all these years. Whoever runs the establishment is a moron.
0 #13 Carl Hardy 2014-06-30 15:31
You really are kidding? Chicago is not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Once again the R&RHF is out of touch with the true roots of great rock and roll. Chicago meshed rock with brass and made it work. No other band has done that mix as successfully as Chicago. They are a magical mixture of rock and jazz. But then again let us look at the source. Rolling Stone magazine did not give any LOVE to Chicago. I suppose they won't give them any LOVE here either. Like I have said many times Rolling Stone should have NO say as to who gets in the RRHF. Rolling Stone should get out of reviewing or writing about Rock & Roll. They are out ot touch.

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