Chicago singer and keyboardist Robert Lamm was asked to come up with a list of the “10 albums that changed his life.” His choices are quite diverse and they are, in no particular order:

The Beatles – Revolver: “I know that everybody likes to pick Sgt. Pepper as their big Beatles record, but for me, Revolver was the on-ramp for that album… When I heard this record, I could tell that they were deepening, getting into spirituality and social commentary and just coming into their own with new ways of songwriting… It’s one of the first pop albums that seemed to flow in an order that was important. The sequence meant something as to how you were supposed to experience the whole record. When I heard ‘Got to Get You Into My Life,’ I went, ‘Wow, check out those horns!’ You weren’t really hearing that in mainstream pop, so that really had a big impact on me.”

The Band – Music From Big Pink: “Chicago was already together, writing and rehearsing the songs that would be on our first album. A number of us were living together in a house ourselves, so it was charming to hear a record by another band that was doing the same thing. The looseness of the way the music was performed, the soulfulness of the singing, the charm of the lyrics, the deep grooves — it was so infectious. Truly a record that was unlike anything I had ever heard at that point.”

John Lennon – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: “For me, this is an album of rare beauty and bone-chilling emotional sincerity. The Beatles had broken up, and John needed to do something on his own. He succeeded in so many ways — this is a major statement by one of the world’s most important artists. I love the minimalist approach to the songs… Even though I’ve worked with a big band, I’m still drawn to this kind of bare-bones, raw aesthetic. John just got to the heart of the matter — he didn’t need to layer the sound with anything unnecessary.”

Steely Dan – Aja: “Frankly, I have a love-hate relationship with this album. I love every single note on it, but it bothered me because I thought, when I first heard it, that it’s a record Chicago should have made. Instead of moving into power ballads, we should have been making the kind of courageous pop music Steely Dan was doing… It’s one of my all-time favorite albums, even though it makes me jealous.”

And the rest of Lamm’s list:

  • Ray Charles In Person
  • Miles DavisMiles Ahead
  • Getz/GilbertoThe Girl From Ipanema
  • Bill EvansTrio 64
  • Gary McFarlandAmerica the Beautiful: An Account of Its Disappearance
  • Marvin Gaye What’s Going On