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| January 5, 2009

The 25 Greatest Chicago Songs

Drawing the 25 Greatest Chicago Songs took some effort, and don’t think any of the following didn’t factor in. And to think, there’s so much more (metal, industrial, hip-hop, jazz) to be mined.

1. Koko Taylor “Wang Dang Doodle”
2. Bo Diddley “Bo Diddley”
3. Howlin’ Wolf “Spoonful”
4. Buddy Guy “Stone Crazy”
5. Otis Rush “I Can’t Quit You Baby”

1. “Mr. Roboto”
2. “Blue Collar Man”
3. “Lady”
4. “Renegade”
5. “Babe”

Covered Better Elsewhere (writer/performer)
1. “The City Of New Orleans” (Steve Goodman/Arlo Guthrie)
2. “Angel From Montgomery” (John Prine/Bonnie Raitt)
3. “You Never Call Me By My Name” (Steve Goodman/David Allan Coe)
4. “Dance With My Father” (Richard Marx/Luther Vandross)
5. “You Are Not Alone” (R. Kelly/Michael Jackson)

1. Jesse Saunders “On & On”
2. Mr. Fingers “Can You Feel It?”
3. Phuture “Acid Trax”
4. Jamie Principle & Frankie Knuckles “Your Love”
5. Steve “Silk” Hurley “I Can’t Turn Around”

Living In Oblivion
1. Naked Raygun “Soldiers Requiem”
2. Pegboy “Strong Reaction”
3. The Effigies “Yes!”
4. Screeching Weasel “Hey Suburbia”
5. Dwarves “Free Cocaine”

New Seattle
1. Urge Overkill “Sister Havana”
2. The Jesus Lizard “Then Comes Dudley”
3. Smoking Popes “Writing A Letter”
4. Red Red Meat “Braindead”
5. Seam “Rafael”

Post Rock
1. Tortoise “Djed”
2. Gastr Del Sol “Black Horse”
3. Jim O’Rourke “Women Of The World”
4. The Sea And Cake “The Leaf”
5. TRS-80 “Bees Inside”

1. Alkaline Trio “San Francisco”
2. Cap’n Jazz “Basil’s Kite”
3. Rise Against “Paper Wings”
4. Detachment Kit “Dead Angels Make Slow Sound”
5. Lawrence Arms “100 Resolutions”

1. REO Speedwagon “Take It On The Run”
2. Hum “Stars”
3. Dan Fogelberg “Longer”
4. Mudvayne “Happy?”
5. Poster Children “He’s My Star”

Time To Retire
1. Magic Sam “Sweet Home Chicago”
2. Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah “Lake Shore Drive”
3. Survivor “Eye Of The Tiger”
4. R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly”
5. Soulja Boy Tell’em “Crank That”

On The Dusty Side
1. Nat King Cole “Straighten Up And Fly Right”
2. Benny Goodman “Sing, Sing, Sing”
3. The Spaniels “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight”
4. Jimmy Reed “Honest I Do”
5. Vito Price “Swingin’ The Loop”

The Garage
1. The New Colony Six “I Confess”
2. Shadows Of Knight “Gloria”
3. The American Breed “Bend Me, Shape Me”
4. The Cryan’ Shames “Sugar & Spice”
5. The Mauds “Hold On”

1. Poi Dog Pondering “Complicated”
2. Terry Callier “Golden Apples Of The Sun”
3. Lupe Fiasco “Kick, Push”
4. Bonnie Koloc “Roll Me On The Water”
5. Enuff Z’Nuff “Fly High Michelle”

On Chicago
1. Elvis Presley “In The Ghetto”
2. Paper Lace “The Night Chicago Died”
3. Dr. West’s Medicine Show & Junk Band “The Eggplant That Ate Chicago”
4. The Hold Steady “Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night”
5. Neko Case “Star Witness”

Soooooul Train
1. Donny Hathaway “Song For You”
2. R. Kelly “Ignition” (Remix)
3. Lou Rawls “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”
4. Minnie Riperton “Lovin’ You”
5. Rufus “Tell Me Something Good”

Gimme Indie Rock!
1. The M’s “Break Our Bones”
2. Troubled Hubble “Nancy”
3. Spinanes “Kid In Candy”
4. Califone “Michigan Girls”
5. The 1900s “Acutiplantar Dude”

Category: Features, Monthly

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Comments (6)

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  1. Jimi says:

    Not one song by Chicago? Shame! IN Category “About Chicago”: Take Me back to Chicago “….and there could’ve been many other tracks from them on this list…how about Wilco?? Form Downstate – Uncle Tupelo?….

  2. What about Farley “JackMaster” Funk’s classic, “Love Can’t Turn Around, featuring Darryl Pandy or Ralphie Rosario’s, “You Used To Hold Me”, featuring Xavier Gold? One the slow jam side you should have mentioned Chicago’s, “Hard To Say, I’m Sorry”. How could you guys not even mention Muddy Water’s, “Hoochie Coochie Man”?. Donny Hathaway’s, “Song For You”, is a classic but Curtis Mayfield’s, “Little Child”, easily beats that out. There are a few more discrepancies here but this is your list. My list would have sent the deck up. I still IE. Happy New Year.

    Musically Yours
    The “LowEnd KingPin”
    Don Medina

  3. IE says:

    “Hoochie Coochie Man” made our central list of the 25 greatest Chicago songs ever. Check it here:


  4. Terry Geraci says:

    After reading the supposed “Greatest 25 Chicago Songs” I must say that i am appalled that THE band that was born and bred in Chicago, the band that sold over 120 million albums worldwide, the one and ONLY band that had not one, not two, but THREE greatest hits albums was excluded from this list?? I’ll accept Ides Of March, Styx, Cheap trick, Chaka Khan, and the various blues legends you mentioned, but come on! Kanye West?? Liz Phair?? Disturbed?? And too many others that certainly should NEVER be considered before THE greatest rock band to ever come out of this city! Mr. Cetera, Kath (R.I.P.), Lamm, Seraphine, Pankow, Parazaider, and Loughnane would be very dissapointed to not see at least ONE of their works of art mentioned in this hideous and erroneous list of so called “legends”. Come on Steve Forstneger! You call yourself a music fan? How can you exclude CHICAGO from “Chicago’s 25 greatest?” Please!

  5. IE says:

    The roundabout answer is — despite the members meeting here — Chicago was a Los Angeles-based band. It’s a sketchy way of splitting hairs, but one also used to keep Jerry Butler’s Philadelphia/Iceman years on ice or to avoid anything by Rage Against The Machine regardless of its guitarist’s roots (Tom Morello, like Terry Kath, was one of our 20 Greatest Chicago Guitarists in April). Chicago Transit Authority symbolically took their name *after* moving away. We wouldn’t ask the Blackhawks to retire Phil Esposito’s jersey.

  6. Chicago XOXO says:

    Yea, and Carlton Fisk wore a BoSox cap into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. And Peter Cetera didn’t show up to the induction ceremony. Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry!