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Colour My World by Chicago

Album: Chicago IIReleased: 1970Charted:
7
  • This was written by Chicago's trombone player, Jimmy Pankow, and sung by Terry Kath. After Kath's death in 1978, the band did not play this song for several years. It became a concert favorite once again, with Bill Champlin singing it when they started playing it again. Robert Lamm sings it now. (thanks, Dave - Pomeroy, OH)
  • On The Chris Isaak Hour, Pankow explained: "It's a small segment of a multi-movement piece on our second album which is basically a tribute to my first love. I had been listening to Bach - the Brandenburg Concertos, and they had all those arpeggiated melodies. I sat at a piano and started messing around with these arpeggios. That cycle of arpeggios became the foundation of the song.
    Frank Sinatra called our publicist and said, 'Ask that kid to write another verse for that song.' I thought about it, I called him back and said I can't do it - it's like sewing another arm on your kid, I can't do it."
  • Walter Parazaider, who was primarily a sax player in the band, played the flute on this track.
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Comments: 36

At the end of the "Suspense" radio episodes it sounds like the same piano melody.Bebe - Parkersburg, Wv
Color is more than art. It our life know. For the wonderful minds.Kimberly - Landing, Nj
I have to make an observation about the late Terry Kath's singing, and I'm honestly not trying to stereotype here.
I had heard their music for years, long before I ever saw any footage of them performing, and I really believed that the guy with the magnificent gruff bass voice singing on the likes of "Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World" was a black guy.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Terry Kath was a white guy.
I've heard it elsewhere that Terry was affectionally called the "White Ray Charles," which nicely supports this personal story.
The man sure had it going on...excellent guitarist, and he could sing his a$$ off.
So sad that we lost him so young, and Chicago -- while still good -- never was the same after his loss.
Oldpink - Farmland, In
My heart just melted when it was played on Parenthood. Terry Kath has such an incredible voice. He WAS NOT playing russian roulette. His face wasn't injured, his body of work is incredible, and after all this time he is still deeply missed. His daughter Michelle, is doing a movie about him. I look forward to it. He took his sandals off during a recording session so he wouldn't make any noise because he walked around so much while he played.Penny - Fort Wayne, In
Played in a wedding scene tonight on Parenthood.Robert - Glen Ellyn, Il
The difference of time, time passages as how we visualize are escape. as dreams happen, hope is realized thru speech, art, gratitude and emotionsKimberly - Landing, Nj
Beautiful song sung by the late terry kath. Chicago was never the same after his accidental death in 1978. RIP terry. 9/14/10James - Yucaipa, Ca
John, just did listen to them together, and they have similar style, BUT, they both are "Cycles of Arpeggios", which Jimmy Pankow freely admits to borrowing from Bach and the Brandenburg Concertos. I believe Bach preceded both Pankow and McCall.Ryons - Melbourne, Fl
I am not doubting that they may have wrote the lyrics but if you listen to the music the song was actually taken from Toussaint McCall's song Nothing Takes The Place Of You. Listen to the piano and drums in the background and then play it side by side with chicago. Only thing is the tempo is different.John - Houston, Tx
I see one of the earlier posters here, Tammy, used this in her own wedding. Well, I'm a guy, and I always loved this song, and I intend to see if I can get it in my own wedding somewhere, too.Oldpink - New Castle, In
When choosing a singer for "Colour my World" none of the guys wanted to sing it so they drew straws and Terry got the short one, the rest is lovely history. No other voice, face or total talent could've done this song justice. Chicago needs to release videos of all Kath years concerts and jam sessions. The new Chicago is a shell without Terry KathPenny - Fort Wayne, In
My bridesmaids walked in to Colour My World when I got married for the first time in 1976,wearing pastel dresses in different colors, it was the most beautiful part of the wedding, I've always loved the song even though the marriage didn't work.-Tammy, Dallas, Or.Tammy - Dallas, Or
Walt Parazaider and his flute on this is some of the best for rock and roll pop. Walt has been married to his wife since the beginning and still is....Good for you Parazaider!Mark - Seattle, Wa
Peter Cetera may have had the best vocals in the band, but im my opinion, Jimmy Pankow was the best songwriter!Spence - Brooklyn, Ny
you don't play Russian Roulette with a 9mm semi-auto. He was apparently goofing around with a .38 pulling the trigger like he was playing RR. Then picked up a 9mm ... Showed his friends the empty clip but didn't check the chamber for a live round.Ken - St Charles, Mo
One of the band members walked in and said quit playing with that gun and he said it's not loaded see!!! and put it to his head and it went off. There was a bullet still left in the chamber. It was an accidentGhostgetter - Dallas, Tx
Did you ever notice that the drummer missed a beat at 1:09? There is no snare-drum beat during the vocal part, "just what you mean to me". I wonder what happened.Ellen - Houston, Tx
Yes, it's very short, simple, and sentimental.
And, yet, it is also beautiful.
Kath's mellow baritone vocals are wonderful, and a nice contrast to the overblown falsetto that was almost a requirement for a rock singer at that time.
Then, that nice flute piece, just MAKES the song.
I also know a woman who can play that on her own flute, and she says it is not an easy piece, since it is on the lower end of the scale, requiring considerably more breath to pull off onn an instrument that already requires quite a lot of lung power.
Wonderful work.
Oldpink - New Castle, In
Kath died from a gun accident, not Russian Roulette.Henry - Pawtucket, Ri
If I recall correctly, this was part of a two-sided "A" single, paired with "Beginnings."Kevin - Reading , Pa
john is right, this is part of "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" and this makes up several songs similar to a peice of music with multiple movements. great song.Koz - Chelsea, Mi
I've heard that this is the most commonly-played song at weddings. Personally, I find it rather monotonous. And what Chicago did later was very, very predictable.Musicmama - New York, Ny
Actually...
he did NOT die with a bullet in his head. He was at a party playing with the gun of a friend that was loaded with blanks. Kath was familar with guns...but not blanks. Somehow (it's never been clear how)the gun was discharged and the blast went off too close to his head. "blanks" do not emit a projectile...but they do blow a massive amount of energy out the barrel...enough to penetrate skin if it;s close enough. The blast out the barrel hit him in the face and the resulting injury killed him.
Busszz - Breckiridge, Co
This song was only part of another song - "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon". This song also included "Make Me Smile" that was combined with "Now More Than Ever" and released as a single - "Make Me Smile" - JohnJohn - Kirkland, Wa
For some reason I've always found this song plodding and dreary. It was years after it came out that I actually noticed it was a love song and not a song about gloom and ennui.
As for Terry's death, it was- I believe- from a mishap when he was cleaning his gun. One of those "don't worry- it's not loaded" situations where he pretended to shoot himself, not expecting the gun to go off.
Jennifer - Los Angeles, Ca
To Stephen: Where did you find the music for this song on piano. I love this song but I can't find the music and I've been looking for a long time.Anonymous
Whether or not Terry Kath died playing Russian Roulette, he definitely died putting a bullet into his head. He was an amazing guitarist--very original, very unlike anyone else in rock music. He was just amazing. They did fantastic stuff in the studio. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they often sucked in concert when they were young. And Terry sucked worst of all. There was a Chicago live album from about 1971-72. If you listen to it and listen to Terry singing, you'd wonder how it was possible for them to be famous. But records like CMW made up for it.Dirk - Nashville, Tn
the lyrics are simple and perfect...the music takes over the lyrics and brings the song to a excellent resolve. Luv it!Greg - Charleston, Sc
Terry Kath died playing Russian Roulette I think.

Colour my World was the #1 prom song of the 70's or 80's.

I can play it on the piano too :D
Stephen - Altamont, Il
Beautiful song,very short but this is when Chicago could write a love song and not sound corny.Maybe because James Pankow wrote it instead of Peter Cetera,I don,t know.Andrew - Toronto
Chicago Was 10 Times Better When Terry Kath Was Still Alive.Paul Serrato - Arlington, Tx
Brilliant use of arpeggios by Pankow. Parazaider said of the flute solo Pankow wrote for him "this is going to make me famous". Bill Champlin did a nice performance of the vocals & keyboard in concert. Innovative work of the original recording by piecing this into Ballet for a Girl in Buchanon.Don - Atlanta, Ga
This song will forever be immortalized as un listenable due to the fact that my pop proceeded to tell me that i was conceived to it.Shawn - Austin, Tx
Frank Sinatra said this was one of the most beautiful songs ever written. He called Jimmy Pankow and ask him to write abother verse so he could record it. Pankow thank him, but said no, saying it would take away from the songDave - Pomeroy, Oh
One of the greatest love songs everDave - Pomeroy, Oh
In the Simpsons episode, "The Way We Was," the song could be heard during the night of Marge and Homer's High school prom.Robert - Chicago, Il