“Bethlehem” by Jim Fusco – FREE mp3 Download! – Day 9 of 14

By Jim Fusco:

It’s Day 9 here on the 14 Days of Rock’n’Roll Christmas 2015 on the Laptop Sessions music blog!  Tonight, I bring you a song that you probably haven’t heard of before. But, that’s okay- as George Carlin said, “When are gonna write some more Christmas songs?”

Today’s song is “Bethlehem”, originally done by the band Chicago.  They actually came out with three Christmas albums!  I guess they really got into putting that “Chicago sound” onto the holiday classics.  But, there were a couple of originals and “Bethlehem” is a really cool tune.  It has an interesting beat and some difficult chord changes.  The chords themselves are easy ones, but they change very quickly.

The overall sound was a difficult one to get down.  My version doesn’t sound exactly like the original, but then again, you haven’t heard the original, so who’s to call me on it? 🙂

I hope you like this song- give it a chance!  It’s free to download, so it’s not taking much of a chance.  I’ll see you tomorrow for Day 10!

“If You Leave Me Now” (Chicago Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to the start of “#1 Week”, where Chris Moore, Jeff Copperthite, and I are playing only songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts, except for Original Wednesday, of course. But, I hope that the song I play on Original Wednesday will be a contender for a #1 week in the future! 🙂

Tonight, I bring you a song that I just can’t get enough of. It’s Chicago’s first #1 hit and was written by the great Peter Cetera.

It’s a slow song, but has a great tune and some great chords. The only problem with the song is that it marked the beginning of Chicago’s “power ballad” phase. It was fruitful for them, yes, but it was also the end of their highly creative rock-n-roll style.

This is one of my favorite performances and I hope it ends up being even more popular than my first Chicago video, “Wishing You Were Here” ( Wishing You Were Here cover ).

NOTE: In 2020, I remastered the original video (which was very dark- almost couldn’t see anything at all!) and re-uploaded it to YouTube, as you’ll see below.  I hope it breathes new life into the video!

“Wishing You Were Here” (Chicago Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Hello all and welcome to another installment of the Laptop Sessions!!

Here’s a neat one because of the collaborative effort on the original. This song, Wishing You Were Here, written by the great Peter Cetera, is one of my favorite Chicago songs. I love many of their other songs as well, and you’ll be hearing them in the coming weeks!

But, this one has to be one of Cetera’s best. I mean, he got bandmate Terry Kath to sing lead on the verses with a real raspy voice, then the Beach Boys (well, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, and Dennis Wilson, anyway) come in with the rest of Chicago and sing those great harmonies on the “Wishing You Were Here” part. Plus, Cetera even sings a great lead on the middle 8!  I’ve always been drawn to this Chicago song, even before I knew the Beach Boys were on it.  I guess when you like a certain style of music, certain tones just strike a chord with you…no pun intended. 🙂

Over the years, I’ve also come to appreciate the subject matter of “Wishing You Were Here”.  Lines like, “Same old show in a different town, on another time,” tell us about how life on the road in a band can be tough.  Fans can only see the good things- the wealth, the fame, and the opportunity to sing and play music.  What could be better than that?  But often, I find myself thinking that I would very quickly miss my family and friends.  In fact, it’s one of the reasons why I never just dropped everything to pursue music!  It’s the subject of my 2009 album, “Halfway There”, available on my website at http://jimfusco.com.  On that album, there are original songs that talk about my passion for music, but also my want to get married and settle down.  It was quite the dueling conflict with me for a while. I think I summed it up pretty well on that album- I hope you think my songwriting gets the sentiment across.  Anyway, when you’re in a very popular band making hit songs like Chicago was in the 70s, you realize that the fans only want to hear the songs they heard on the radio.  Hey, there weren’t any free internet radio stations like WCJM Radio back in the day to play all of the obscure tracks.  So, the fans wanted to hear all the hits…so as a band, you had to play the hits everywhere you went!  It’s still that way now, but I just think Peter Cetera pointed out that fact of “popular band life” in “Wishing You Were Here”.

I’ve been playing this song since I learned to play a G minor chord, and thanks to my brother for buying me a Chicago music book! It’s definitely come in handy…

Anyway, this is definitely one of those “check it off the list” songs for me, because I’ve always wanted to pay homage to this tune. I hope you enjoy this Chicago cover song!