Champlin, Bill - 1981 Runaway


ARTIST: Champlin, Bill
ALBUM: Runaway
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 5E 563
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1990, Warner Music (Japan), WPCP-3451 * 2010, Sony Music (Japan), VSCD 3506


LINEUP: Bill Champlin - vocals, guitars, piano

Guest Musicians: guitars - Steve Lukather, Jay Graydon * bass - Jon Pierce, Abraham Laboriel, Lee Sklar * keyboards, synthesizers - David Foster * drums - John Robinson, Ed Greene, Larry Tolbert, Jeff Porcaro * percussion - Paul Lani, Humberto Gatica * sax - Tom Scott * horns - Gary Herbig, Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Chuck Findley, Kim Hutchcraft, Larry Williams * backing vocals - Tom Kelly, David Foster, Richard Page, Venette Gloud, Kenny Loggins, Tamara Matoesian, Carmen Grillo

TRACK LISTING: 01 Runaway * 02 One Way Ticket * 03 Sara * 04 Tonight Tonight * 05 Runaway (Reprise) * 06 Take It Uptown * 07 Satisfaction * 08 Stop Knockin' On My Door * 09 Gotta Get Back To Love * 10 Without You * 11 The Fool Is All Alone


Many of you here at Glory Daze may know Bill's work with Chicago, but maybe forget his contributions as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.

Champlin co-wrote the hits 'After The Love Has Gone' (Earth, Wind & Fire) and 'Turn Your Love Around' (George Benson), winning two Grammy Awards in the process.

Relocating to L.A. in the mid 70's, Champlin became an in-demand studio session staple, appearing on countless recordings throughout the decade.

In 1978, the day after guitarist Terry Kath died, Champlin received a call from Chicago, suggesting that he audition to take Terry's place. Champlin turned down the offer, but in the early 80's collaborated with Chicago's drummer Danny Seraphine on Peter Cetera's solo release.

Seraphine began to pitch Champlin to the group and eventually Champlin joined Chicago in 1981.

Among other artists Bill's worked with are Boz Scaggs, The Tubes, Lee Ritenour, Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather and David Foster - who shares co write and production credits here.

Released in 1981, 'Runaway' features breathtaking melodies, dizzying key changes, and lush arrangements, all David Foster trademarks.

The Songs

Foster's production is upbeat, foretelling what he'd bring to Chicago in the 80's, and the platter serves as a roster of West Coast/AOR who's who: Kenny Loggins, Jerry Hey, Bill Reichenbach, Tom Saviano and Richard Page.

Bill makes no bones about who's boss here though, as he's all over the guitars and keys like a swine in mud, growling away at the peak of his voice. The latter can be his blessing and curse.

No doubt versatile, Bill's vocal delivery makes me put this slightly behind 'All Dressed Up' (David Roberts) and 'Pages' in terms of overall consistency but that doesn't mean this isn't primo West coast fare.

Stand-out tunes include 'One Way Ticket,' an immediate, upbeat rocker.

'Tonight Tonight' is endearing ballad reminiscent of 'After The Love Has Gone.' The Kenny Loggins penned 'Take it Uptown,' is an upbeat ditty sure to get your toes tapping.

'Satisfaction' is another upbeat, funky workout with a killer horn arrangement. Bill gets bluesy with Hammond organ and axe to grind on 'Stop Knockin' On My Door', that gruff throat offsets both with lingering pulses.

'The Fool Is All Alone' is a highlight lyrically about regrets of being unfaithful. Bill wrote a lot of this under amidst personal issues and relationships gone sour. Musically, the song is enhanced by James Newton Howard's string arrangement and Bill's vocal harmonies intact here.

In Summary

Why this didn't get an initial release in the U.S. is both mind blowing and an outright shame! West coast fans can usually find it on through Glory Daze approved retailers as a Japanese import. It may be a bugger to track down and can sometimes bring a hefty price tag.

If you're like me and have to own every David Foster produced Chicago album (and enjoy Champlin's contributions), then this is essential West coast/AOR.

All written content on this website belongs to copyright. Duplication elsewhere on the Internet is strictly prohibited, unless specific permission is granted.

Sign In or Register to comment.