Monday, November 21, 2005

One Track Mind: Chicago - What You're Missing

I've been visiting, re-visiting, and visiting again one of my favorite songs of the 80s.  What You're Missing was the lead single off of what ended up being Chicago's big comeback album. The single, unfortunately flopped but I remember the first time I heard the opening bars of What You're Missing on Chicago 16 and how much I absolutely loved it. There was something so dated, so distinctly early eighties about it. The guitar, the organ... the whole feel of the song.

And each successive song on the album also had that distinctly early eighties feel. Even today when I pop that CD in, I feel like I've been sent back to 1982 with no escape back to the future.

The song was written by Joseph Williams and Jay Gruska. Joseph Williams (for those not in the know) is the son of John Williams as in THE John Williams (composer of the scores to the Star Wars, Jaws, and Indiana Jones film franchises among others). Williams would later go on to become the lead singer of Toto (1986-1988) and has since become a TV score composer for a handful of series (Roswell, LA Doctors, and Early Edition to name a few). At any rate, I stumbled upon the demo version of What You're Missing which features Joseph Williams on lead vocals and a handful of session musicians backing him up.

Chicago enjoyed that demo enough to record it for Chicago 16,  There's a certain level of overblown slick over-produced eighties cheesiness to this that I can't help but love in spite of itself!

I absolutely love that feeling. I remember when I used to visit my sister and her family my nephew and I would play pool in the basement and I'd pop the tape in... And suddenly it felt like I was in a pool hall in the early 80s, cigarette butts and dirt on the floors, a jukebox in the corner, and I was even able to mentally conjure the stench of cigarette smoke and stale beer. There was something adult about it-- and for a 12 year old, there was something decidedly cool about feeling that adult.

Now I'm 29, that nephew I used to play pool with... he's 21. Now we finally are adults and there's that part of me that would much rather be a 12 year old playing pool with my 6 year old nephew in his parent's basement.

1 comment:

educación_libre said...

"What can I say, what can I do?..." I've been quite a fool not posting any comment on this for around 2 or 3 years since I discovered it. You see, I've got that special thing about this song too. I actually discovered the album about 4 years ago and fell in love with a girl short after. Chicago 16 was the sountrack for that whole experience. Sadly it all has turned out badly. Our mistakes have taken the love we had away from us. I particularly remember she hurt me at the start and I used to think "what you're missing, could have been yours from the start, you won't listen when it's coming from the heart, know you're missing me, you'll find that out when we're apart". The way we hurt each other without really wanting to because of some silly crap and the way we sometimes can't forgive each other make human relationships hard. As long as we don't learn to be honest to each other and to everyone, and push every shame away we will easily continue suffering from life. I hope this may be useful for somebody, the lyrics are quite accurate. Do never miss who you really love for any other thing, belief... wahtever it is. The whole Chicago 16 is great and full of love story stuff. Enjoy it with the one you love. Reminds me of the good times :) ...

P.S: Do you have the demo version of "What you're missing?" with Joseph on lead vocals? I would love to hear listen to that.

Nice blog!