1994 Chicago – XXXII (Stone Of Sisyphus)

Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus is the twenty-first studio album, and thirty-second overall, by Chicago. Often referred to as their “lost” album, it was recorded in 1993 and originally intended to be released as Stone of Sisyphus on March 22, 1994, as their eighteenth studio album and twenty-second total album. However, the album was unexpectedly and controversially rejected by the record company, which reportedly contributed to Chicago’s later decision to leave their services entirely. Even after the band eventually acquired rights over their catalog, the album remained unreleased until June 17, 2008, after a delay of fourteen years and ten more albums.

The musical content of Stone of Sisyphus was reportedly developed in “complete secrecy” from the entire outside world including the record label, in order to emphasize the band’s creative sovereignty.

“Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed” was one of the album’s more uniquely styled and potentially commercially controversial tracks. Containing themes of early hip-hop and chants, it was inspired by the 1960s’ precursors of rap music, as taken from the band’s listening sessions of composer Robert Lamm’s personal collection of old records by The Last Poets. “Bigger Than Elvis” is an unusually personal ballad, nostalgically recalling Jason Scheff’s childhood adulation and heartsickness resulting from his father Jerry Scheff’s traveling career as Elvis Presley’s bassist, as had been canonized in the television broadcast of Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite. Peter Wolf and his wife Ina heard Scheff’s stories and coauthored the song. As a surprise to his father, Jason Scheff solicited his father’s isolated bass guitar performance for the clandestine track, later revealing the true purpose of the completed song as a gift.

“Twenty Years on the Sufferbus” was the original title of what eventually became the album’s title track, originally composed by Dawayne Bailey as a demo song without lyrics during Chicago’s 1989 tour. According to Bailey, Lee Loughnane would go on to receive cowriting credits on the song for having promoted Bailey’s demo amongst the other band members.With the key word “sufferbus” already having been recently used on the 1992 album Sunrise on the Sufferbus by Masters of Reality, and rejecting the lyrical draft of “I’m gonna send my love to the universe”, the search for a similar-sounding word ultimately also yielded an accompanying ancient mythos. Robert Lamm’s early suggestion was to title the album as Resolve, in order to depart once again from the band’s standard numerical nomenclature of Chicago XXII due to the band’s collective idea of this album’s significance.

As the subject matter of the title track’s lyrics solidified, the album was renamed and then finally planned for release as Stone of Sisyphus in the United States on March 22, 1994. Even after its completion, the band had every anticipation of the album’s release and reception.

Tracks

1  Stone OF Sisyphus (Dawayne Bailey, Lee Loughnane) 4:11
2  Bigger Than Elvis (Jason Scheff, Peter Wolf, Ina Wolf) 4:31
3  All The Years (Robert Lamm, Bruce Gaitsch) 4:16
4  Mah-Jong (Jason Scheff, Brock Walsh, Aaron Zigman) 4:42
5  Sleeping In The Middle Of The Bed (Robert Lamm, John McCurry) 4:45
6  Let’s Take A Lifetime (Jason Scheff, Brock Walsh, Aaron Zigman) 4:56
7  The Pull (Robert Lamm, Jason Scheff, Peter Wolf) 4:17
8  Here With Me (A Candle For The Dark) (James Pankow, Robert Lamm, Greg O’Connor) 4:11
9  Plaid (Bill Champlin, Robert Lamm, Greg Mathieson) 4:59
10  Cry For The Lost (Bill Champlin, Dennis Matkosky) 5:17
11  The Show Must Go On (Bill Champlin, Bruce Gaitsch) 5:26
12  Love Is Forever (Demo) (Bonus Track) (James Pankow, Robert Lamm) 4:15
13  Mah-jong (Demo) (Bonus Track) (Jason Scheff, Brock Walsh, Aaron Zigman) 5:00
14  Lets Take A Lifetime (Demo) (Bonus Track) (Jason Scheff, Brock Walsh, Aaron Zigman) 4:16
15  Stone OF Sisyphus (No Rhythm Loop) (Bonus Track) (Dawayne Bailey, Lee Loughnane) 4:35

Media

Musicians

Bass Jason Scheff
Drums Tris Imboden
Guitar Dawayne Bailey
Guitar Bill Champlin
Guitar Sheldon Reynolds
Guitar Bruce Gaitsch
Keyboards Robert Lamm
Keyboards Bill Champlin
Keyboards Peter Wolf
Harmonica Tris Imboden
Flugelhorn Lee Loughnane
Trombone James Pankow
Trumpet Lee Loughnane
Woodwinds Walter Parazaider
Percussion Tris Imboden
Background Vocals Walter Parazaider
Background Vocals Lee Loughnane
Background Vocals James Pankow
Vocals Robert Lamm
Vocals Bill Champlin
Vocals Jason Scheff
Vocals Dawayne Bailey

Other Musicians

2 Bigger Than Elvis

Bass Jerry Scheff
Background Vocals The Jordanaires


6 Let’s Take A Lifetime

Background Vocals Joseph Williams


14 Lets Take A Lifetime (Demo) (Bonus Track)

Background Vocals Joseph Williams

Liner Notes

Produced by Peter Wolf
Audio Supervisor – Jeff Magid
A&R Supervision – Cheryl Pawelski
Engineered by – Peter Wolf, Paul Ericksen
Mixed by – Tom Lord-Alge
Project Assistance – Zach Cowie, Sheryl Farber, Joe Halbardier, Rob Ondarza, Steve Woolard
Remastered by – David Donnelly

Art Direction & Design – Meat & Potatoes, Inc.
Art Supervision – Josh Petker
Liner Notes – Bill DeYoung

Recorded At – Embassy Studios, Simi Valley, CA
Mixed At – Encore Studios
Remastered At – DNA Mastering