Ask ChicagoNow: What is the best band from Chicago?

Ask ChicagoNow: What is the best band from Chicago?

ChicagoNow is a group of bloggers from all sorts of different backgrounds. One thing that helps tie them all together? Chicago.

With so much collective experience with the city, we’ve decided to put that knowledge to use by posing some of the oldest and most popular questions about Chicago to the group.

What is the best band from Chicago?

“The Chi-Lites. The late, great Otis Clay and the Chicago Horns.” — Mark Andel, Hot Dog Diaries

“Smashing pumpkins of course”. — Jayson J Crady, Confessions of a Coffeholic!

“Not so much a band as a person: Buddy Guy.” — Kelly Konrad, LitzyDitz

“Eleanor Friedberger is pretty great, formerly of The Fiery Furnaces from Oak Park with her brother Matthew. Twin Peaks is very, very good live, and they play a lot, and they remind you of how seeing the young Rolling Stones in concert might feel. Califone is good, seriously don’t know why I can’t think of more stand outs right now, this is a problem”. — Brian Kremen, ConFIdences

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is ranked number one by any responsible critic I’ve read. Or, if you must be a purist about the definition of “band,” just count the CSO brass section.” — Margaret Laing, Margaret Serious

“Troubled Hubble.” — Bill Mayeroff, Pints and Pups

“The very early Chicago was a great band. Their use of horns influenced rock music for decades afterwards. Plus they had a guitarist in Terry Kath who was one the greatest ever. But when he died in a stupid Russian roulette gun accident and Peter Cetera took charge with his awful syrupy ballads, it went downhill. But for a few albums, there was never a better band out of this town. So much of this depends on your age and what genre of music you like. There’s those mid-60’s rock/pop bands that you see on Channel 11 every so often, that my people like and I think pretty much suck like the Buckinghams. If you like classic soul music, there’s Earth, Wind & Fire plus Rufus with Chakka Khan. The Staple Singers did Gospel, Soul, Rock and fit in almost everywhere. Pops Staples could really play guitar and Mavis Staples is still going strong…just saw her a couple of months ago. Then you have the newer breed, who aren’t all that new anymore, like Smashing Pumpkins and Wilco. Take your pick.” — Howard Moore, I’ve Got The Hippy Shakes

“Earth, Wind & Fire. This list would not be complete without Lola Balatro.” — Teme Ring, Comedians Defying Gravity

“Wilco.” — Angela Soriano, less than perfect

“Muddy Waters. His 1970-era band was the tightest and at the same time most fun band in town, for my money. We were lucky enough to see him in a small club where we were at a table right in front. Muddy was maybe 6 feet away, and the stage was low so he was right THERE! Bad thing was his harp player stood right in front of my girlfriend and tried to pick her up. But he failed!” — Floyd Sullivan, Waiting4Cubs

“Styx. Esp since my co-worker made me laugh over her stories of dating Dennis DeYoung when they lived in Roseland.” — H. Van Howe, Pizza For Breakfast

“Hmmm…Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine – Tom Morello is from Chicago and Eddie Vedder of course. Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters has ties to Chicago too. Those are all my favorite Chicago music people/bands”. — Jayme Ryan Zobel, Life: One Post at a Time

If you have a question about Chicago that you want answered, email it to Think you have the answer to the above question? Let us know in the comments below.

Lead image via Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

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