Numero Group: By The Numbers

History Of Chicago Music 1908-1980

Pictured above is Chicago’s Zenith Studio at 676 N. LaSalle St. circa the mid 1970s

The history of recorded music in Chicago during the 20th century was broad and deep, traversing sonic areas both familiar and unknown.  The earliest crude recordings on Edison cylinders date back to the turn of the century and carry on through the rise of 78s, 45s and LPs cut at major studios like Universal Recording Co.RCA, and Chess by many artists who would become musical icons and household names.  But there was no shortage of smaller studios, like P.S.Paragon, that had great recording equipment and incredible engineers like Malcolm Chisolm and Paul Serrano behind the consoles for ambitious, and lesser known but equally as talented musicians to lay down tracks at well into the ’70s and beyond.

The City of Chicago asked its Cultural Historian, Tim Samuelson, and us to create a 3 hour mix from the earliest sourced recording through 1980 – just before the rise of Chicago’s house music scene.  Below is an MP3 of our mix we presented at Millenium Park’s Audio Picnic series, it’s an aural journey of a city whose recorded output & legacy has influenced & changed the scope of the history of music around the world for centuries to come.  Enjoy!

Click here for the entire 161 MB, 60 song mp3 download and stream.

And for you first time visitors, check out some of our Chicago related albums:

033 Light: On The South Side
030 Good God! Born Again Funk
022 Brotherman: OST by the Final Solution
013 Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation
003 Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label


Introduction – Chicago That Toddling Town

1908 – I’m Afraid To Go Home In The Dark – Billy Murray
1916 – Some Sweet Day – Marion Harris
1919 – Darktown Strutters Ball – James Reese Europe’s Hellfighters Band
1923 – Made A Monkey Out Of Me – Original Memphis Five
1924 – Night Hawk Blues – Coon-Saunders Nighthawk Orchestra
1924 – Mecca Flat Blues – Priscilla Stewart and Jimmy Blythe
1926 – Sunset Cafe Stomp – Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five
1926 – Doctor Jazz – Jelly Roll Morton and his Red Hot Peppers
1926 – Banjorino – Dixieland Jug Blowers
1927 – Miss Annabelle Lee – Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys
1932 – Bugle Call Rag – Mills Brothers
1932 – If You See My Savior- Thomas A. Dorsey
1937 – New Shake Em’ On Down – Big Bill Broonzy
1939 – Rural Rhythm – Hoosier Hot Shots
1944 – Little Joe From Chicago – King Cole Trio
1945 – Chicago Breakdown – Big Maceo
1947 – Ora Nelle Blues – Little Walter
1948 – I Can’t Be Satisified – Muddy Waters
1949 – Tennessee, Tennessee – Homer & Jethro with Chet Atkins
1952 – Red Hot, Chili Mac – The Morocco’s
1955 – Dirty Bird – The Flips
1956 – Saturn – Le Sun Ra & His Arkestra
1956 – So Long – The El Ray’s w/ Willie Dixon
1958 – You’re Breaking My Heart – The Daylighter’s
1958 – Lover’s Reunion – The Dontells
1958 – Teenagers Letter Of Promises – Juanita Rodgers
1958 – Twirl – The Vongayles
1959 – Double Trouble – Otis Rush
1960 – The Shepards – Tragic
1961 – Apache War Dance – Earl Hooker
1961 – The Opals – Hop Skip & Jump!
1961 – Ricky Allen – Cut You A Loose
1962 – Gorrila – The Ideals
1962 – Tell Her To Come On Home – Little Mack
1962 – Sadness & Madness – The Conquistadors
1964 – When I’m With My Baby – The Magnetics
1965 – I’ll Never Say Goodbye – The Vontastics
1966 – A Lover’s Reputation – Denise LaSalle
1966 – The Girl I Threw Away – The Knaves
1967 – Devastator – Stormy
1967 – Nona – Vincent Chapelle
1968 – A Portrait Of God’s Love – Cindy & The Playmates
1968 – You’re In My Mind – Graf Zeppelin
1968 – Greyhound Bus Jingle
1968 – Don’t Waste My Time – The Daughter’s Of Eve
1968 – The Great Train Robbery – The Little Boys Blues
1969 – Kent Schneider – Church Is Within Us
1969 – Untitled – Phil Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble
1969 – Puppet On A Chain Pt.1 – Third Creation
1970 – Like A Ship – T.L. Barrett
1971 – Dignitaries Of Hell – Coven
1972 – I’ll Get You Back – Renaldo Domino
1973 – Jesus Will Help Me – Gospel Comforters
1973 – Jenny – Heaven & Earth
1974 – It’s Free! – The Bishops
1975 – Never Coming Back Again – The Final Solution
1975 – Talking To Myself – Hollins & Starr
1979 – How To Love – Dedrick LaMar
1979 – Boogie Child – Spirit Touch
1980 – Where’s My Dog – The Buzzards

20 Comments so far
Leave a comment

link says download unavailable until 23/2

Comment by Sam Hussain

Link is active again!

Comment by numerogroup

Never seen that Cindy and The Playmates!looking forward to listening to this.

Comment by alejandro

i’m waiting for numero group to start re-releasing indie/emo labels from the 90s…in about 30 years. TREE RECORDS!

Comment by Bald E.

“Aww… Nerds” love that Mills Brothers tune.

Comment by Casey (North and Clark)

Download unavailable until Feb 28 because it has reached its download limit.

Comment by Eric Luecking

It’s back up on a fresh link.

Comment by numerogroup

It’s fixed!

Comment by numerogroup

[…] Numero Group picked through their massive collection of music, and came up with three hours worth songs created in the Windy City from 1908 to 1980. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Sunday Brunch With Grimod de la ReynièreDavid […]

Pingback by Sunday Brunch Music: Songs From the Second City « Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Thanks for the amazing tracks!

One correction:

1973 – Jesus Will Help Me – Gospel Comforters
1973 – Jenny – Heaven & Earth

These two songs should be in opposite track order. Jenny comes first, and then Jesus will Help Me.

Comment by Tim

Also wondering what the track is after “I’ll Get You Back” – Renaldo Domino. It didn’t make it onto the list.

Comment by Tim

Loved it, put the progression of music into context, yet very well sequenced with a nice flow!

Comment by Leo

thank you for sharing this information … nice

Comment by radixal

I can’t seem to find any information about the last piece of music at all.

1980 – Where’s My Dog – The Buzzards

does this even exist?
i’ve went through all the buzzards discography and i cannot find no track by that name.
any help would be appreciated.


Comment by Assad Khan

My name is Tom Cameron and I was the Chapman Stick player in the Buzzards. “Where’s My Dog” was the b side to a single release of “Melt Down Boogie” recorded shortly after the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident. It was done down in my electronic music recording studio in Oak Park with our bass player Ricky adding the phrase Where’s my dog? at the end. Availability unknown.

Comment by Tom Cameron

[…] is this project (that I somehow either missed or forgot about) announced this winter featuring the History of Chicago Music (1908-1980) curated by historian Tim […]

Pingback by − Friday Quick Links

I love this website, the information is great and I have bookmarked it in my favorites. This is a well organized and informative website. Great Job!

Comment by joe

Also, it should be noted, that Bob Abrahamian ( contributed a bunch of the ’50s and ’60s stuff.

Comment by numerogroup

I guess I’m late to the game. Link is dead. (then again, it’s been 7 months since it was first posted!)

Comment by Venison

maybe this link:

Comment by mia

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