• lead vocal: Doug Koempel
  • background vocals: Kevin Conner & Doug
  • electric and acoustic guitar: Kevin
  • keyboards: Yamaha KX-88 + Roland MKS-20; Korg M1: Doug
  • Alesis HR-16 drum & MIDI sequencing : Doug
  • recorded at: Bird-On-Fire Recording Studio / West Union Iowa


It was sometime in 1984
that Kevin Conner and I were playing the Starlite Village in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The club accomodations included adjoining rooms in a downtown hotel. The rooms connected by a double set of doors. I remember Kevin knocking on his side one night after our gig. I pulled opened the door, and he handed me his Walkman (remember those??) The cassette in it was Chicago 17.

He simply said, "Listen to this."

I've had a handful of watershed moments in my life regarding music; and I always remember when and where I was each time:
  • Sometime in 1959 when I was 8 years old I remember listening to "When" by the Kalin Twins on a small radio in a jail cell. No, I wasn't incarcerated at 8 years of age! My cousin Donnie and I would visit our Uncle Fred and Aunt Mable at the jailhouse on the courthouse square in West Union. Uncle Fred was the sheriff, and in those days cousin Donnie and I would play in the jail. I think "When" along with "Dream" by the Everly Brothers was my first introduction to pop music.
  • Listening to records on an outdoor deck at Fillenwarth's Resort at Okoboji during the summer of 1960, I just about wore out the 45 of "Humdinger" by Freddy Cannon. The resort had a small record player set up on the deck, and I played "Humdinger" and "Alley Oop" over and over and over - couldn't get enough of those two tunes!
  • Christmas 1962 my Aunt Ruthie gave me the 45, "Big Girls Don't Cry" by the Four Seasons. That was my first pop/rock record, and I loved it!
  • During the summer of 1966, I - along with several high school buddies - spent the summer working in the kitchen at an art and music camp in East Troy, Wisconsin. I'll never forget the night that a group of us guys huddled around a portable hi-fi in our barracks to listen to the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. We intently listened to both sides; and after the final chord faded away, we simply stood there in stunned silence.
  • October 1968 during my freshman year at college, I was enthralled when I heard "Foxy Lady" (from Jimi Hendrix's debut album Are You Experienced) thundering through my wall from the room next to me at Hillcrest dorm in Iowa City.
  • On January 15, 1968 I attended one of Led Zeppelin's first US concerts. It was held in the Iowa Memorial Union (Iowa City.) There were barely 100 people in attendance (admission was $1.) I serendepitously stumbled across this concert as I trekked back to my dorm after a class-required, string quartet concert had been cancelled due to icy weather.
  • In 1984 after listening to Chicago 17 on Kevin's Walkman at the Travelodge in Fort Dodge, Iowa, I became profoundly influenced by their production techniques.
  • In September of 1985, I pulled off the road at the intersection of Hwy 52 and 9 in Decorah, Iowa to call the radio station after being blown away by "Look At Little Sister." I had to find out who that artist was (Stevie Ray Vaughan!)

So what's all this have to do with our song "Take My Heart?" Well, I can't emphasize enough the influence that Chicago 17 had on our songwriting and recording back in the '80s. The arrangements, instrumentation and mixing on Chicago's power ballads "Hard Habit To Break", "Remember The Feeling" and "You're The Inspiration" really appealed to us as we had embraced the computer sequencing techniques and keyboard-based arrangements that technology afforded home studios of the '80s.

You'll hear David Foster's (Chicago's producer) influence in many of our songs of that period such as "You Are My Life", "Sometime In September", "Waiting For Your Love" and yes, this week's featured song, "Take My Heart."

browse the Song Vault archives
Doug Koempel © 2015
play "Take My Heart"
SONG #36

writer: Doug Koempel
label: MEMENTO (BOF-65)
release date: 1989
publishing: Blue Baker Music BMI