Terry Kath was the guitarist in the band Chicago. They called themselves Chicago Transit Authority for their first album and then shortened the name to Chicago in 1970. He was a multi-instrument musician and singer who impressed me with his solid, well-rounded guitar solos. He not only played lead & rhythm guitar, but also banjo, accordion, electric bass, and drums.
I sit here and listen to ‘Free Form Guitar’ from the first album. This seven minute instrumental guitar piece was recorded in one take. According to a 1971 Guitar Player magazine interview, the Fender Strat he played had a broken neck held together by a radiator hose clamp. Can anything keep a real guitarist from playing? Sharp fret ends, bowed necks, chipped paint, dented tops, scratched backs?
Imagine this: Wikipedia says he actually had 20 guitars at one time! Is that all? If he was still alive, he’d probably have 200.
Yes, the sad fact: on January 23, 1978, after a party, Terry Kath put a 9mm semiautomatic pistol to his temple, said to his buddy, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded,” and pulled the trigger. He died instantly. He was 31 years old.
If you’d like to see him in action:
I’m A Man:
25 or 6 to 4:
The full Tanglewood concert: