“There ain’t no road just like it, anywhere I’ve found
Running south on Lake Shore Drive, Heading into town
Just snakin’ on by on L.S.D. Friday night-trouble bound.”

— “Lake Shore Drive,” by Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah

Mitch Aliotta played bass on a jangly ode to driving down Lake Shore Drive with the wind in your hair and a weekend full of possibility.

The song, “Lake Shore Drive,” became a Chicago anthem for 1970s nightlife and beyond.

He died July 21 in Las Vegas of complications from diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said his former bandmate, Skip Haynes, of the group Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.

Haynes, the composer of the early ’70s song, is the only member left. Keyboardist John Jeremiah died in 2011.

Mr. Aliotta, 71, had lived since the late 1980s in Las Vegas, where he performed blues, country, rock and folk, according to Don DiVito, who once managed Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.

Rotary Connection, with Mitch Aliotta behind singer Minnie Riperton. Mr. Aliotta is leaning on keyboardist John Jeremiah, who also became a part of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.

Rotary Connection, with Mitch Aliotta behind singer Minnie Riperton. Mr. Aliotta is leaning on keyboardist John Jeremiah, who also became a part of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.

He was a gifted harmonizer whose voice blended beautifully with others, including the late Minnie Riperton, with whom he performed in Chicago’s Rotary Connection. Billboard magazine once described Rotary Connection’s “psychedelic chamber soul” as being decades ahead of its time.

Young Mitch grew up in Berwyn and attended Morton West High School, where he was a champion swimmer and diver, according to DiVito and Haynes.

A self-taught musician, he built his reputation performing with the Perfect Strangers in the late 1960s. Marshall Chess of Chess Records recruited him to join the Rotary Connection, featuring Riperton, a Chess receptionist.

Later, “Mitch had quit the Rotary Connection because he didn’t want to play their kind of music,” Haynes said.

He met Mr. Aliotta at the old Saddle Club in Old Town.

“We just ended up going back to my place, and we would sing till, like, 8 in the morning,” Haynes said. “The first time we sang together, it sounded really cool.”

Their first break came in 1970, when Haynes was living above the Earl of Old Town club at North and Wells.

“John Jeremiah came over to rehearse, and [club owner] Earl Pionke came upstairs and said, ‘My act just quit — can you come down and do something?’ So we went down and started singing. And we didn’t stop for 12 years.”

Mitch Aliotta (left), Skip Haynes and John Jeremiah

Mitch Aliotta (left), Skip Haynes and John Jeremiah

Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah had started out as Aliotta Haynes Music, featuring Mitch Aliotta, his brother Ted Aliotta and Haynes, DiVito said. It evolved into a trio with Mitch Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.

When Haynes composed their signature tune, “I only intended that song to be played once for our manager — he’s the only one that liked the song,” he said. “We didn’t like it.

“Two weeks later, we’re in the studio recording it.”

“Right at the very end, Mitch and I were going to do the vocals, ‘Slippin’ on by on L.S.D., Friday night trouble-bound,’ ’’ said Haynes, who was concerned the “L.S.D.” reference might keep the song off the radio.

“Mitch said, ‘Definitely, put the ‘L.S.D.’ in,’ ” Haynes said. “Mitch was a funny guy. He was, like, a total rascal.”

The song continues to get airplay. It’s also currently the background music for a commercial in Switzerland — with the original English “Lake Shore Drive” lyrics, Haynes said.

“Lake Shore Drive” lyrics, by Skip Haynes

There’s a road I’d like to tell you ’bout, Lives in my hometown
Lake Shore Drive the road is called, And it’ll take you up or down
From rats on up to riches, Fifteen minutes you can fly
Pretty blue lights along the way, to help you right on by
Blue lights shining with a heavenly grace, to help you right on by

And there ain’t no road just like it, anywhere I’ve found
Running south on Lake Shore Drive, Heading into town
Slippin’ on by on L.S.D. Friday night trouble-bound

It starts up north on Hollywood, Water on your driving side
Concrete mountains rearing up, Throwing shadows just about five
Sometimes you can smell the green if your mind is feeling fine
There ain’t no finer place to be, Running Lake Shore Drive
And no peace of mind-er place to be than riding on Lake Shore Drive

And there ain’t no road just like it, anywhere I’ve found
Running south on Lake Shore Drive, Heading into town
Just slippin’ on by on L.S.D. Friday night-trouble bound

It’s Friday night and you’re looking clean
Too early to start the rounds
A ten-minute ride from the Gold Coast back
Makes sure you’re pleasure bound
It’s four o-clock in the morning, and all the people have gone away
Just you and your mind and Lake Shore Drive and tomorrow is another day
The sun shine’s fine in the morning time and tomorrow is another day

There ain’t no road just like it, anywhere I’ve found
Running south on Lake Shore Drive, Heading into town
Just snakin’ on by on L.S.D. Friday night-trouble bound

Contributing: Bill Zwecker