By Christopher Scapelliti | Photo: David Redfern/Getty Images
Terry Kath has long been praised as one of the great guitarists of the classic rock era. As a founding member of the jazz-rock band Chicago, Kath held down guitar duties for the group until his tragic death from an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1978.
One of Kath’s most celebrated guitar tracks is Chicago’s 1970 hit “25 or 6 to 4,” which features his extended guitar solo that includes generous use of a wah pedal. Though he recorded other tracks that showcased his guitar talents—notably “Introduction” and “Free Form Guitar,” both from the group’s 1969 debut, The Chicago Transit Authority—the hit status of “25 or 6 to 4” ensured it was always performed live, where Kath got plenty of room to flex his considerable chops.
Happily, we can now hear Kath’s guitar parts on the original recording almost entirely isolated from the other instruments. The first recording below features Kath’s guitar parts interspersed with the brass and Peter Cetera’s vocals. The track lets you hear his verse fills as well as his epic solo distinctly.
The second video features the song without vocals, allowing you to hear all the instruments more clearly. You certainly don’t need this version to know how tight Chicago was, but hearing the instrumental version drives the point home.
Chicago will be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8, along with Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, N.W.A. and Steve Miller.