♫ You’re The Inspiration ♫

I had just finished scheduling my a.m. post and catching up on comments, when I turned to thinking about my music post.  I debated reprising a previous one, but … all of a sudden, it came to me that I was in the mood for some Chicago.  Flipping past the ones I’ve already played, I came to this one …

David Foster, who became one of the biggest hitmakers of the ’80s and ’90s, wrote this song with Peter Cetera and also produced the album. In working with Foster, the band made some adjustments to their sound in the interest of achieving more hits. Three members of the band were primarily horn players, and they had little to do on most of the Foster/Cetera songs.

The upside was huge, however, as the band found a new audience and was able to continue unabated for three more decades.  According to Bill Champlin, who joined the band in 1981 …

“They were unhappy with it because a lot of these tunes just didn’t call for horns. So, they were very unhappy with it, because they always saw themselves as the star of Chicago. And, at one point, when they first came out, they probably were. But, suddenly, the listeners and the fans of Chicago all listened to the singers and the guitar playing.”

Personally, I am partial to the horns, but that doesn’t keep me from liking the rest of their music, as well.

I did not know that Cetera and Foster wrote this song for Kenny Rogers. When Rogers didn’t record it, they rewrote it a bit and recorded it for Chicago.  Says Cetera …

“David Foster called me up and he said, ‘I’m in the studio with Kenny Rogers, and he would like you to write a song for him.’ And I said, ‘That’s great! As a matter of fact, I’m leaving for Italy…’ I was going to Europe for something. I don’t remember … and this was like nine o’clock in the morning. I said, ‘I’m leaving for Italy tonight around five o’clock. I’ll be there about two weeks, and I’ll call you when I come back.’ And he goes, ‘No, no, no, he means, like, now.’ (….) And so David was in the studio…and of course…you know, last minute. And so I said, ‘Alright, well you come over here right now, and we’ll see what we can do.’ So in the midst of packing, David drove out to where I was then living. And we basically, in about three hours, came up with a little chordal structure for “You’re the Inspiration,” which it wasn’t called that at the time. And we sort of made this little tape of this chord structure; I took it on the plane, and went to Italy. And, of course, lying in these beautiful baroque and marble rooms, and singing out the window…I was writing things about, ‘Michelangelo you should know, Michelangelo.’ And I came up with, oh…you’re the inspiration! So, I came back with the words, worked on this melody, and came back and presented the song. And Kenny basically didn’t have the time or didn’t want to do it. Good for me!”

You’re the Inspiration
Chicago

You know our love was meant to be
The kind of love to last forever
And I want you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know
Everywhere I go
Always on my mind
In my heart
In my soul
Baby

You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration
Want to have you near me
I want to have you hear me saying
“No one needs you more than I need you”

And I know (And I know)
Yes I know that it’s plain to see
So in love when we’re together
Now I know (Now I know)
That I need you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know (Yes, you need to know )
Everywhere I go
You’re always on my mind
You’re in my heart
In my soul

You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration
Want to have you near me
I want to have you hear me saying
“No one needs you more than I need you”
(No one needs you more than I)
Want to have you near me
I want to have you hear me saying
“No one needs you more than I need you”
(No one needs you more)
You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration

When you love somebody
‘Til the end of time
When you love somebody
Always on my mind / No one needs you more than I
When you love somebody
‘Til the end of time
When you love somebody
Always on my mind / No on needs you more than I

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Peter Cetera / David Foster
You’re the Inspiration lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Hard To Say I’m Sorry ♫

I’m hungry … and therefore, it is inevitable that I would play something by Chicago tonight, right?

This song marked a resurgence for Chicago, who had been dropped from their longtime label, Columbia Records, and picked up by the Full Moon label, distributed by Warner Bros.  Hard to Say I’m Sorry was their first single on Full Moon, providing an instant return for the label when the song went to #1 in the U.S. and even became a rare UK hit for Chicago, reaching #4.

Chicago vocalist Peter Cetera wrote this with David Foster, who also played piano on the track.  Foster worked on a similarly themed song for Earth, Wind & Fire a few years earlier in After The Love Has Gone .

Steve Lukather (guitar), David Paich (synthesizer) and Steve Porcaro (synthesizer), all played on this track. These guys were top studio musicians as well as members of Toto. Bringing them in caused plenty of friction in the band, which didn’t like the idea of other musicians playing their parts. But David Foster knew exactly what he wanted, and was willing to bring in the guys who could achieve it.  Bill Champlin, who joined the band in 1981 and suggested they use Foster, explained …

“Foster would just as soon call the A players and bring them in, and I really don’t blame him. Real major players that can get this stuff for you in a minute. They really eyeball with the producer once and give it to him on take one.”

Hard to Say I’m Sorry
Chicago

Everybody needs a little time away
I heard her say
From each other

Even lovers need a holiday
Far away from each other

Hold me now
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to stay

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to

And after all that’s been said and done
You’re just a part of me I can’t let go

Couldn’t stand to be kept away
Just for the day
From your body
Wouldn’t want to be swept away
Far away
From the one that I love

Hold me now
It is hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to know
Hold me now
I really want to tell you I’m sorry
I could never let you go

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to

After all that’s been said and done
You’re just a part of me I can’t let go

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to

Songwriters: Peter P. Cetera / David Walter Foster
Hard to Say I’m Sorry lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ After All ♫

As we’ve discussed before, understanding the lyrics to a song is not my strongsuit, for I am nigh on deaf.  For example, tonight daughter Chris was talking about a project she was going to start for Christmas gifts, handmade dishtowels.  She showed me the snowflakes she had designed to decorate a set of dishtowels, and then I thought she said she would be adding pineapples to them.  I was puzzled … snowflakes and pineapples, snowflakes and tropical fruit on the same pattern?  Turns out she said something about  ‘design apps’, not pineapples.

Anyway … I had a point … what was it?  Oh yeah, lyrics.  Do you know what it’s like to have a song stuck in your head for days and not know enough lyrics to even Google it?  If you have, say, a five-word string of the lyrics, Google does a fine job of finding the song.  But, when this first dropped into my head on Friday, I had nary a word.  I tried humming it for my resident musical expert daughter Chris, but she finally looked bewildered and asked if I was about to be ill, so I gave that up.  Eventually, over the course of the weekend, enough lyrics crept back into the brain that I was able to successfully Google and come up with this after all!  Yes, After All!

This was the theme song to the 1989 movie Chances Are, starring Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr. and Ryan O’Neal. The song was written by Dean Pitchford (lyrics) and Tom Snow (music), who couldn’t use the title Chances Are because it is the name of a famous Johnny Mathis song that I played back in February.

According to Pitchford …

“The movie was about a woman who falls in love with a man only to lose him. He gets killed, and then his soul migrates into another body and comes back in a younger man. And that soul is trying to reunite with her, but inevitably she ends up with a man who has been staying by her side all her life, and has been there for her. And that’s the soul match that was to have been made. So when she walks down the aisle at the end of the movie with Ryan O’Neal, it’s the end of a long journey. So I wrote ‘After all the stops and starts, we keep coming back to these two hearts. Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall.’ I thought that that was really the summation of the movie, because you get some scenes in Heaven, where the soul gets misassigned. And I always liked the idea of angels being rescued from the fall, and I also liked that ‘fall’ rhymed with ‘all.’ So I brought Tom the ‘After All’ concept of ‘we keep coming back to these two hearts,’ and that was the taking off point.”

The single peaked at number six in the United States and Canada. It also managed to enter some European charts, including Ireland, where it peaked at 24, and the United Kingdom, where it reached 84.

After All
Peter Cetera & Cher

Well, here we are again
I guess it must be fate
We’ve tried it on our own
But deep inside we’ve known
We’d be back to set things straight
I still remember when your kiss was so brand new
Every memory repeats
Every step I take retreats
Every journey always brings me back to you

After all the stops and starts
We keep comin’ back to these two hearts
Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall
After all that we’ve been through
It all comes down to me and you
I guess it’s meant to be, forever you and me, after all

When love is truly right
(This time it’s truly right)
It lives from year to year
It changes as it goes
Oh, and on the way it grows
But it never disappears

After all the stops and starts
We keep comin’ back to these two hearts
Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall
After all that we’ve been through
It all comes down to me and you
I guess it’s meant to be, forever you and me, after all

Always just beyond my touch
You know I needed you so much
After all, what else is livin’ for?

After all the stops and starts
We keep comin’ back to these two hearts
Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall
After all that we’ve been through
It all comes down to me and you
I guess it’s meant to be, forever you and me, after all

Songwriters: Dean Pitchford / Tom Snow
After All lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Karen Schauben Publishing Administration

♫ 25 Or 6 To 4 ♫

This song has a strange title, and an equally strange history, but I love, love, love the horns in it.  Released in 1970, this song was written by Robert Lamm, who is a keyboard player and singer for Chicago.  It’s about trying to write a song, with the title referring to the time of day: either 3:35 a.m. (25 to 4) or 3:34 a.m. (26 to 4).  Confused yet?  According to Lamm …

“I was living with a bunch of hippies up above Sunset Strip. One of the advantages of this particular house was that it was in the Hollywood Hills and I could look out over the city late at night. I wanted to try to describe the process of writing the song that I was writing. So, ‘waiting for the break of day, searching for something to say, flashing lights against the sky’ – there was a neon sign across the city. That song came from the fact that it was 25 or 6 to 4 a.m. in the morning when I looked at my watch – I was looking for a line to finish the chorus.

Most songs that were written, especially in the early days, whenever I got them to the band and we started rehearsing them, that’s when the songs took shape – once these guys got hold of them. There was definitely a lot of raw material, I thought it was a song when I wrote the words down, I wrote the changes down and I brought the charts to rehearsal, but it wasn’t really a song until they all played it.”

Chicago was previously known as Chicago Transit Authority, which was the name of their first album. They shortened their name after the actual Chicago transit authority objected, and began releasing albums with their name followed by a roman numeral (Chicago II, Chicago III, Chicago IV, etc.).

Peter Cetera is the lead singer on this version.  After he left the  band in 1985, Chicago recorded an updated version for their album Chicago 18 with Jason Scheff singing lead, but I much prefer the original.

Interestingly, the song was banned in Singapore in 1970 due to “alleged allusions to drugs”; the ban extended to entire albums including the song, such as Chicago 18. In 1993, the ban on this song was lifted, along with long-time bans on songs by other artists such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

25 or 6 to 4
Chicago

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Dancing lights againnst the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
25 or 6 to 4

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wondering how much I can take
Should have tried to do some more
25 or 6 to 4

Feeling like I ought to sleep
Spinning room is sinking deep
Searching for something to say
Waiting for the break of day
25 or 6 to 4
25 or 6 to 4

Songwriters: Robert Lamm
25 or 6 to 4 lyrics © Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ If You Leave Me Now ♫

Chicago’s bass player Peter Cetera wrote this and sang lead. Cetera specialized in ballads, adding variety to the band’s sound which featured many more rock-oriented songs.

Released in July 1976, the song topped the US charts on October 23, 1976, and stayed there for two weeks, making it the first number one hit for the group as well as hitting number one on the Easy Listening charts. If You Leave Me Now was also Chicago’s biggest hit internationally, topping the charts in other countries such as the UK, Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Netherlands.

In 2010 Chicago teamed with the American Cancer Society and offered the opportunity to bid on the chance to sing their hit, If You Leave Me Now with them on stage live at their concerts, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer.

Considering their longevity and success, it’s surprising how Chicago has been spurned by both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Grammys. The band’s only Grammy award came for this song, when it won for Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus.

The song also won the award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), which went to James William Guercio and Jimmie Haskell.

If You Leave Me Now
Chicago

If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me
No baby please don’t go
If you leave me now, you’ll take away the very heart of me
No baby please don’t go

A love like ours is love that’s hard to find
How could we let it slip away
We’ve come too far to leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way
When tomorrow comes we’ll both regret
Things we said today

‘Cause I need you more than you’ll ever know

Writer/s: PETER CETERA
Publisher: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ Hard To Say I’m Sorry ♫

In the mood for some Chicago tonight?  I was, and I was torn between this one, Hard to Say I’m Sorry, and If You Leave Me Now.  I didn’t really find any fascinating facts related to the creation or performing of this song, but I am always amazed when a musician from my youth who I haven’t seen in a while (the singer, not my youth, although I haven’t seen that lately either) shows up looking like an old man/woman.  What happened??? Peter Cetera (below) at a young age, and more recently.  Although he hasn’t aged badly, given that he is 74 years old!

Is it really the same person?

Hard to Say I’m Sorry

Chicago

Everybody needs a little time away
I heard her say, from each other
Even lovers need a holiday
Far away from each other

Hold me now
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to stay

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you, I promise to
And after all that’s been said and done
You’re just a part of me, I can’t let go

Couldn’t stand to be kept away
Just for the day, from your body
Wouldn’t wanna be swept away
Far away, from the one that I love

Hold me now
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to know

Hold me now
I really wanna tell you I’m sorry
I could never let you go

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you, I promise to
And after all that’s been said and done
You’re just a part of me, I can’t let go

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you, I promise to

You’re gonna be the lucky one

When we get there, gonna jump in the air
No one’ll see us ’cause there’s nobody there
After all you know, we really don’t care
Hold on, I’m gonna take you there

Written by Peter Cetera and David Foster
Produced by David Foster