Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Lake Shore Drive" Chicago Rock Anthem 40 Years Old Today

The folk-rock Chicago anthem, "Lake Shore Drive" was recorded 40 years ago today. Irony of ironies, its authors and performers, Aliotta,Haynes and Jeremiah were, in fact, not Chicagoans, but rather cheeseheads from West Allis, Wisconsin.

In any event, it was a regional hit in the Chicago area throughout 1971 and can still readily be found on jukeboxes throughout the Chicago area.

The soft, folkish song evokes really nice feelings about Chicago and its beautiful lakefront, while employing a few double entendres relating to LSD use.

It always fostered nostalgic feelings toward Chicago with me when I was living out of town -- feelings that readily dissipate when confronted with the realities of the daily hellish bumper to bumper traffic along Lake Shore Drive while stuck living here.

But as the famous Chicago expatriate choreographer, Bob Fosse, so aptly put it: "Chicago is a great place to be from."


  1. LOL Cheeseheads wrote that? That's pretty funny!

  2. As much as the people from Waukesha and Happy Appy Appleton piss and moan about the place, to them, deep down, Chicago is the Big Time -- The Big Apple and they keep on moving here in droves.

  3. Lampoon, I thought you were trying to age me prematurely.

    I won't dispute when AHJ's LSD was recorded, but my own rather anectodal submission is that it became a radio hit in Chicago in the summer of 1974. I don't remember it ever being played before then. At the time, my summer job required me driving down Lake Shore Drive in the early hours of the morning, and I rather enjoyed the tune as an adjunct to my lonely drives on the darkened highway backlit by the Streeterville skyscrapers. You might be able to prove me wrong, but I am pretty sure the song did not make the charts until mid 1974.

    To test your reading patience further, I ran into a guy at a Rush Street bar around 1990 who claimed to have been a roadie for Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah. He actually had some hilarious stories about the band, most of which I have forgotten. Bottom line, he said they were the textbook case of a garage band that lucked into an opportunity for the big time but whose endless personal dysfunctions kept them from any further success. Kind of a Wisconsin version of "The Commitments". According to him, the band's story was one of endless drug abuse, constant in-fighting, and refusal to take good professional advise. The scenario was so extreme, it was funny.

  4. Well I know for a fact it was recorded in August of '70 and released in early '71, but you may be right as to when it actually hit the top 40. Given the vagaries of the recording biz and the practice of DJs, it may just not have gotten traction until that late, but my memory blurs when it comes to all the top 40 hits of that era. Wikipedia confirms the '70 recording date, tho. Thanks for your anecdotal report on the band itself. I guess that level of drug use and infighting is just par for the course for bands of that era as now. I know that Aliota became a member of a band called the Rotary Connection. I recall that band, but for the life of me can't remember a particular hit of theirs. Thanks for sharing that interesting insight as to their demise. It really was a very nice little song -- sort of lightning in a bottle for them in the early 70s.


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.