Music In Chicago: Everything You Need To Know

Chicago is famous for many things across the city, and whilst the stereotype comes in the form of its deep pan pizzas, which are a must, the city can be thanked for its role in modern music. Here is everything you need to know about music in Chicago.

Venues To Attend Gigs At

Chicago, being the musical haven that it is, means that there are dozens of must-see venues that you should attend for live music at some point in your life. No matter what your music taste is, there is sure to be something that you can find, whether it’s mainstream pop, indie rock, or even classic Chicago blues.

The Hideout is one such venue, that is often a packed house. This is large because it is essentially a framed house with a bar in the front, and a stage in the back. It’s an obscure building in an obscure street that is quite hidden, but well worth an attendance.

If you’re looking for something more traditional, then the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge could be the place for you. It helps mix old blends with the new, being a former speakeasy in the middle of Uptown, which can date its roots back to 1907. To this day, it is still the longest continuously running jazz club in the country.

Where You Can Create Your Music

Whilst there are a variety of places you can attend to take in music, the city has made it easier than ever for you to go and create your music. That’s because there is a range of production and writing studios in the city, that pay homage to the city’s musical history, to help build for the future.

That’s why if you’re a budding musician or just someone who wants to learn more, then you should consider booking a session with a music studio. For example, there areChicago rehearsal studios that allow you to practice music alone or with friends 24/7 with free drum kits, guitar amps, and mics provided.

Aside from rehearsal studios, you can also rent writing and recording studios to suit your musical needs. It’s well worth looking into, to help grow your musical talent and knowledge.

Blues Music

It’s impossible to talk about the impact of music in Chicago without talking about blues music, which rose to fame across the country in the 20th century. The Chicago Blues is a style defined by the city, largely due to a byproduct of the Great Migration. This referred to when African-Americans migrated to the city from the rural south, bringing with them acoustic musical traditions from where the south itself.

When this type of music and instruments was brought up, it was blended with the urban north style to help create a more electrified sound that featured such instruments as the electric guitar and harmonica. Thanks to both styles, the blues was born, which has seen local record labels such as Chess, Delmark, and Alligator playing their part. The most famous blues track from Chicago is more than likely Five Long Years by Eddie Boyd, released in 1952.

Country Music

Aside from blues music, the city of Chicago can also be attributed to the popularity of country music, largely due to a national barn dance country radio show that was popular in the early ‘20s nationwide, despite being Chicago-based.

This was also the period known as the folk revival, which saw famous clubs such as the Gated Horn and the Earl of Old Town rock up. Musicians who performed this type of music included Bob Gibson, John Prine, and Steve Goodman.

However, the impact of Chicago’s own Ella Jenkins is what the city may be best known for its impact on country music. She is still the Smithsonian’s folkways’ best-selling musician of all time. Although Black, Brown, and White by Big Bill Broonzy in 1956 may be the most popular single track in the genre alone.

Chicago House Music

Perhaps the most famous genre of music attributed to Chicago comes in the form of house music, which is often referred to as the Chicago beat. It’s well known for helping to unify people of all diversities on dance floors across the world. It began with a youth explosion in the ’80s across the Bridgeport vinyl pressing plant. This led to Trax Records being born, forever changing the sound of pop music. Despite the fact they didn’t have much resources or marketing, the house genre of music in Chicago became a global sensation and is the main reason we see modern DJ sets as we know them.

It’s hard to attribute just one popular house track that is more famous than the other, largely because they sample each other often. However, it can be said that Your Love by Frankie Knuckles, released in 1984, still stands true to this day for its impact.


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Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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