Chicago (Graham Nash song)

Single by Graham Nash
from the album Songs for Beginners
B-side "Simple Man"
Released May 1971
Format 7"
Genre Rock
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Graham Nash
Graham Nash singles chronology
"Military Madness"

"Chicago" is a song written by Graham Nash for his solo debut Songs for Beginners. As a single, it reached number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and 29 on the Cash Box Top 100.[1] It is his highest charting single. In Canada, "Chicago" peaked at number 19.[2]

The song refers to both the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, as well as the trial of the Chicago Eight, where protesters at the convention were charged with intent to incite a riot. The first line of the song: "So your brother's bound and gagged, and they've chained him to a chair" refers to Bobby Seale,[3] the defendant who was gagged and bound to a chair in the courtroom following repeated outbursts. On Four Way Street, Nash dedicates the song to "Mayor Daley". The chorus contains the lines: "We can change the world./ Rearrange the World."

The line "Won't you please come to Chicago just to sing" refers to Nash pleading with band mates Stephen Stills and Neil Young to come to Chicago to play a benefit for the Chicago 8 defense fund.

CSN and CSNY still play the song live.

In June 2008, in Denver, Colorado, CSN played a slightly rewritten version of the song called "Denver", in anticipation of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[4]

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (1971) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[2] 19
US Billboard Hot 100 35
US Cashbox Top 100[1] 29

David Gilmour cover

In August 2009, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour released an online version, titled "Chicago - Change the World", on which he sang and played guitar, bass and keyboards, to promote awareness of the plight of Gary McKinnon. It featured Chrissie Hynde and Bob Geldof, plus McKinnon himself, and was made with Nash's support.[5]

Hip hop samples

In 1999, rapper Beanie Sigel sampled Chicago on his single "The Truth"; in 2003, Westside Connection used the same sample for their single, Gangsta Nation.


  1. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  2. 1 2 "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  3. "Mr. Fish: Mr. Fish in Conversation With Graham Nash - Interviews -Truthdig". Truthdig. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  4. Crosby, Stills & Nash - "Denver" (6/26/08) - Antiwar DNC. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2016 via YouTube.
  5. "Chicago". Retrieved 2009-08-04.

External links

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