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The band Chicago will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, 2016. Why it took so long, I do not know. They’ve been around since 1967, had 25 or 6 to 4 top ten singles on the hit parade, FIVE consecutive number 1 albums from 1972 through 1975 but they were first voted into the Hall this year, 2016.

Not to try and invalidate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it does seem they have a weird selection process. The Shirelles and Little Willie John were inducted into the R&R Hall twenty years ago in 1996.

And Chicago is not in this thing until 2016?

Besides, the Shirelles are an R&B girl group and I am going to take a wild shot in the dark here, but I would guess Little Willie John is a Blues singer. OK, I looked it up. Little Willie John is NOT a Blues singer, but rather an R&B artist as well who had the smash hit “Leave My Kitten Alone” that climbed all the way to #13 on the charts in 1959. Yep LWJ has been in the R&R HOF twenty years and Chicago is first going in this year.

I know what you’re thinking. “But, The Shirelles are great.” Huh? Maybe, BUT, name me ONE Shirelle. C’mon now, name me ONE Shirelle. I really don’t mean to smack down on the Shirelles and maybe you consider them to be Rock and Roll icons, but really, the Shirelles elected to the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame TWENTY years before Chicago?

(Just in case you are curious, Cindy Birdsong is in the Shirelles.) I lied. Birdsong was a Supreme and if just for a second you believed her to be a Shirelle, HAH, gotcha.

Anyhow, “Take Me Back To Chicago.”

Like many other bands, the original lineup of the band is no longer intact either due to tragic deaths or defections. However, many bands have buried the hatchet and for just one night united together to sing a song or two at the HOF Induction Ceremony to please their fans. The Band reunited, the remaining members of Nivana reunited, even The Eagles reunited just for the induction Ceremony

Unlike other inductees, sadly, the most recent news I’ve heard today is that the remainder of the band Chicago will not reunite for the obligatory induction live performance this year even though that once appeared likely. Why? Because Peter Cetera and the others in the band cannot agree on 1) the song to be played and 2) the key the song is to be played in.

These are the quotes I read in Billboard today:

Peter Cetera: “Unfortunately this scenario doesn’t work for me. I know we all did our best to make it happen, but I guess it’s just not meant to be….Have a great show and please send any individual award I receive to the contact you have for me.”

As for the Rest of the members of Chicago, according to Billboard: “Despite the turmoil, Robert Lamm said he and remaining co-founders Lee Loughnane, James Pankow and Walter Parazaider are looking forward to the festivities.”

You decide the reason for the rift. Perhaps it is all in Cetera’s quote that says essentially … it doesn’t work for me, but don’t forget to send me my award.

Geez guys, throw four sheets of paper in a hat. One says “Make Me Smile” one says “Color My World” one says “Saturday In the Park” one says “If You Leave Me Now”. Pick two and play them.

But, maybe that’s the way it is meant to be. Nobody asked Leonardo da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa again before his painting was hung at the Louvre. Nobody asked Randy Johnson to throw a 97 MPH fastball when he was inducted into the Baseball HOF last year.

Maybe we are to just meant to enjoy the past achievements of the musical performing artists just the way they were as originally recorded. Maybe not.

When The Eagles were honored at their R&R HOF Induction, the recently departed, Glenn Frey said in 1998, when the Eagles put aside their differences to all reunite, even if only for one night, “What’s going on tonight is a lot bigger than any of the individuals on stage.”

Apparently, Cetera’s lyrics remain true, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.” Surely the rest of the band Chicago won’t be singing “Wishing You Were Here.”

FOOTNOTE: Apologies to the Little Willie John, who’s most famous #1 hit was “Fever” reached #1 on the R&B charts in 1956 and to the Shirelles, Addie “Micki” Harris, Shirley Owens, Beverly Lee, and Doris Coley. Their #1 hits were “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” in 1960 and “Soldier Boy” in 1961.

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IMG_0852 (2)The phone rang in my apartment on a cold January 20, 1986. It was a Monday evening. Back then, a phone call was usually mystery. This was 1986. There were no cell phones, let alone something called “caller ID.”

I took a chance. I answered.

It was John. Whew, it least it wasn’t a bill collector.

“Hey, John, what’s up?

“Well,“ he somewhat calmly as if not knowing what to say next. “We won the ticket lottery.”

Just the season before, I had started sharing season tickets for the Chicago Bears with John, a longtime family friend and youth basketball coach of mine.

It had been over a week since the Bears qualified for Super Bowl XX, and we had long given up hope of having tickets to the game. Besides, even if we were one of the fortunate ones to win a pair of the few tickets allotted to the Bears, what would we do? We were about to find out.

I paused. I really had no money saved up for the ticket, let alone a spontaneous trip to New Orleans. It’s amazing how many thoughts bubble over in your head when you meet a simple statement.

All I could think to say was, “I’m a little strapped for cash.” But at the same time, the bubbles of thought were starting to think of a way.

John said, “It would be a little tight for me too on short notice. My dentist said he’d buy them, if we wanted to save up for next year …”

“Hold on, John,” I interjected. (Next year, I thought to myself. Next year? Chicago sports hopes have clung to next year forever. No, the bubbles of thought said. There may be no next year) “Let’s think this through.”

“Okay,” he replied.

I continued, “Remember last year, when the Cubs made the playoffs?”

“How they choked in San Diego.”

“Yeah. That’s the point. My friends and I had tickets for the Playoffs AND the World Series. Brian, who lives in North Carolina took a pass on the playoffs. Said he’d come in for the World Series. That World Series never happened, at least not in Chicago. Not last year, not this year, not any year in my lifetime“

“I see your point. What if this opportunity never happens again?” John surmised.

“Exactly. I’m gonna make some calls maybe ask for a favor or three. Why don’t you see what you can come up with? We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“Good idea.”

I sat back and started working on a plan. Super Bowl XX. It looked so congruent, so regally Roman. The Chicago Bears were in the Super Bowl. The Monsters of the Midway or as they were known by the end that 1985 season, the Bears Shufflin’ Crew, Shufflin’ on down doin’ it for you.

And do it they did. The Bears had just finished a splendid regular season and dominating playoff run and were the toast of the town having just made toast of the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams shutting the both teams out by combined score of 45-0.

They headed to the Super Bowl after breezing through the regular season with only one freak loss. They were kind of like the homecoming queen who had a zit on her chin all week, but when the dance came, she looked marvelous. It was only a blemish. I had to have that date to the dance.

By Tuesday, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place for me. A close friend, Chrissie had moved to Lafayette, Louisiana a few years prior and was the key element. She set me up with viable transportation options and accommodations in the French Quarter. Who knew?

My Uncle Denny always said to me after a few beers, “If you ever need anything, Cowboy, you let me know?” I let him know the chance I had to go to the Super Bowl and he gave me a generous loan.

Even the boys in the mailroom at work took up a collection for a short term loan to fill in the gaps because they decided I HAD to attend.

I flew out on Friday.

In the meantime, John had finagled the finances and booked a one day charter flight in on Sunday, Game Day. His dentist would have to be content with filling teeth that weekend.

We met at the first Jazz Bar on Bourbon Street, about a half hour walk from the Superdome.

I recently read a post on social media attributed to the British actor, Hugh Laurie. “It’s a terrible thing, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

John and I experienced a glorious 46-10 Super Bowl victory for the Bears. They have never won one since and at least I can say we went to the one they won.

Had we waited until ready, we never would have been there.

FOOTNOTE:
The cover photo this week is an original pompom from the 1986 Super Bowl run. Really, it is.

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