Chicago members sign publishing deal

'70s music group pact with Primary Wave

The three primary songwriters in the band Chicago have inked a deal with Primary Wave Publishing, marking the first time all three have been with a single publisher.

Primary Wave has acquired the music publishing rights and will market the songs of Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane and James Pankow. Among their compositions are the 1970s hits “Make Me Smile,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” “Colour My World,” “Just You ‘n’ Me,” “Feeling Stronger Every Day,” “Call on Me” and “Beginnings.”

“This is an underexposed asset,” Primary Wave chairman-CEO Larry Mestel told Daily Variety. “There’s an enormous amount of opportunity on the commercial side to market these copyrights. Nobody has done a significant push.”

Primary Wave’s catalog includes works by other writers from the era of Chicago, chiefly Steven Tyler of Aerosmith; Daryl Hall and John Oates; and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire. Primary Wave will be looking to introduce Chicago’s songs to nontraditional audiovisual platforms such as videogames and online video shorts (i.e., the “J-Stache” cartoon from Oates that uses the music he recorded with Hall).

A deal made a few years ago to develop a Broadway musical based on Chicago songs fell apart, and such an effort is not part of Primary Wave’s current plan for the band. Chicago’s last album, “XXX,” was released by Warner Music’s Rhino, which owns the band’s master recordings. The band has no label deal but tours up to 100 dates per year; keyboardist-singer Lamm, trumpeter Loughnane, trombonist Pankow and saxophonist Walt Parazaider are the original members still with the band.

“The nice thing about Chicago is they’re current — they tour, they continue to record,” Mestel noted about the band that formed in 1967. “You can’t say that about a lot of artists from their era.”

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