By Andy Koval

When you’re walking around the streets of Chicago you might not realize the amount of great music that has been produced here. Los Angeles and New York first come to mind when you think of recording studios, but Chicago has had quite a history of recording albums you know and love. Let’s take a look at ten of the best.

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

While researching, I discovered that my first apartment in the city shared an alley with Wilco’s loft in Irving Park. My mind is blown, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was recorded in the loft from late 2000 to early 2001. And to think at the time I thought my neighbors weren’t that cool!

Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

The Canadian supergroup loved coming here so much they decided to spend a year in Chicago recording their last album, Forgiveness Rock Record. The chose the city again to kick off their 2016 reunion tour, as they played The Metro before headlining Pitchfork this year.

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Of course the Chicago legends have recorded in the city. Parts of Mellon Collie were cut at The Chicago Recording Company in River North. Do you think the original lineup reunion that Billy has teased this year will actually happen?

Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville

Straight out of Wicker Park in the early 90’s, Liz made a name for herself in the scene pretty quickly. Exile is so good that it’s been included in some best albums of all time write ups. For me, it produced the most sexual lyrics ever written – “Flower”.

Mavis Staples – You Are Not Alone

Mavis has been in her prime for 30 years and finally received her first Grammy for the Jeff Tweedy produced, You Are Not Alone in 2011. It was recorded in Wilco’s Loft and featured a mix of covers and reinvented hits.

Naked Raygun – Throb Throb

One of the most important albums of Chicago music deserves recognition. The LP was actually recorded in ’83, but due to lack of money, it wasn’t put out until 1985. Head bang at your desk to “Rat Patrol” below.

Coldplay – X&Y

Even though it was recorded at four other places, X&Y had a bulk of demoing done at The Chicago Recording Company. Don’t knock demoin’, just as important to the recording process as oxygen.

Buddy Guy – Slippin’ In

Out of a bunch of great albums recorded here, I think Slippin’ In is my favorite. I wouldn’t be surprised if Buddy has put in a secret studio in the basement of Legends by now.

Real Estate – Atlas

The indie rockers from New Jersey probably had a great time this weekend celebrating the birth of The Boss. Check out “Had To Hear” off this album if you’re not familiar, it’s a tune and a half.

Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble

Glen produces some gorgeous music and after recording a lot in his native Ireland, he decided to record his last album at The Loft. It paid of dividends as he was nominated for his first Grammy in eight years.


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