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How to Help Select Chicago's Greatest Musical Moments of All Time

The Arts and Business Council of Chicago wants your help defining 35 of Chicago’s greatest musical moments and raise money for local artists in under-served communities.

Which Chicago musical moments do you think deserve to be on a list of the city's top 35 of all time?

You can pick up to five to be featured on The Arts and Business Council of Chicago's new #ChiMusic35, aimed at drawing attention to the city's music scene and the council's relief plan for local artists amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Arts & Business Council believes that our creative community is critical to the well being, the very survival, of Chicago. Having brought the city’s business and creative communities together for 35 years, we know that creativity can serve as a renewable resource for everyone," said Kristin Larsen, executive director of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago.

Voting started Monday and goes through Friday, June 19. The Top 35 will be announced July 23.

Head to to see the list to choose from or to enter your own pick.

Here are a few of the group's favorite Chicago music moments that could make the final list:

  • 1920: Sister Rosetta Tharp debuts and goes on to become known as the Godmother of Rock & Roll
  • 1927: Louis Armstrong makes a defining recording of 1920s Chicago-style jazz with Potato Head Blue
  • 1939: Mavis Staples, one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All-Time is born 
  • 1958: Chuck Berry records Johnny B. Goode Chess Records studio, 2120 S. Michigan Avenue
  • 1978: Wax Trax Records is founded and goes on to put industrial music on the global map

“The #ChiMusic35 campaign celebrates what bonds our city and brings our communities together during this ‘Year of Chicago Music,'" said Ayana Contreras, DJ, host/producer at WBEZ radio and columnist for DownBeat Magazine. "It’s about Chicagoans celebrating an important aspect of our culture while doing good -- online for social distancing. It’s the perfect way to remind Chicagoans of what connects us. And all for a good cause." 

Not only can you help define “The 35 Greatest Moments in Chicago Music History,” but your input will automatically enroll you in a raffle that will help the city’s most vulnerable artists recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Participants are also encouraged to make a 100% tax deductable donation to the council to help fund the “77 Communities Initiative” in support of arts, cultural, and creative enterprises struggling to survive COVID-19.

“We’re laser focused on supporting creative individuals and businesses that are struggling to survive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Larsen said, "especially in dis-invested neighborhoods that will be most challenged by this unfolding crisis.”

The top 35 Greatest Moments of Chicago Music History from #ChiMusic35 along with the raffle winners will be announced on July 24 on

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