This Day in 1969: CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY Goes Gold
50 years ago today, the self-titled debut album by Chicago Transit Authority went gold, but not only did it continue to sell extremely well after that accomplishment, but it actually went on to set a record with the length of time it stayed on the Billboard 200.
Produced by James William Guercio, who helmed the sessions at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City, CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY was a bit of a grower in terms of its success: it was released on April 28, 1969, so it took seven months for it to find enough of a record-buying audience to earn gold-record status. In fairness, though, we’re talking about a debut album that was also a double album, a situation so unlikely that the band actually ended up having to take a royalty cut to even get Columbia to agree to it.
Of course, a great deal of the album’s gradual success came from radio listeners falling in love with singles like “Questions 68 and 68” and “Beginnings,” but it’s worth mentioning that the album’s most famous single – “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” – wasn’t actually released as a single until October 1970. By that point, the band had already released their second album and dropped the “Transit Authority” from their name...and in their defense, Chicago is considerably less unwieldy.
Still, Chicago did score a major plaudit before changing their name: they were nominated for the Grammy Awards’ 1969 Best New Artist of the Year. Not bad for a transit authority...
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