Monday, November 3, 2014

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1062
Date:  06/05/1982
Debut:  75
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Chicago was a band in trouble. They hadn't had a Top 10 hit since 1977 and their first album of the 80s couldn't even muster a gold certification. They were deemed past their prime and even their label thought so - Columbia dropped them after issuing a poor selling hits package. A change was required and that came courtesy of producer David Foster. Working with lead singer Peter Cetera, Foster updated the band with a sleeker AC pop sound that left their horn-driven compositions in the dust. It also left a few of the band members in the wings as Foster would use outside musicians for the recording sessions (four members of Toto would lend a hand). All these changes would end up fracturing the band, but Foster and Cetera knew what they had to do to revive the group and they succeeded. This first single became the band's second #1 hit and it helped get their album, "Chicago 16," to platinum status.

ReduxReview:  For many Chicago fans, there is a distinct line in the sand between the classic years and the Foster-ized years. This single drew that line. Old fans poo-poo'd the new direction while a younger generation hopped right on board. I have to say that I was stuck in between. While I dug a lot of their tunes from the 70s like "25 or 6 to 4" or "Saturday in the Park," I kinda liked the new stuff too. Whether it was Chicago or another artist, I still would have liked this song. It's a big pop ballad that just worked. Say what you will about Chicago from this song on, but the fact is that Foster and Cetera brought the band back from near extinction and it got them seven more Top 10's through the end of the decade. You don't have to like the new stuff, but you should be able to say - hey, good on ya.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1)  This song was included in the film and on the soundtrack to "Summer Lovers" starring Darryl Hannah.  2) On the "Chicago 16" LP, this song has a tag ending titled "Get Away." Most radio stations simply played the single version, which faded out before it segued into "Get Away." But the tag ending is notable as it brings back the horns and sound of the pre-80s Chicago.


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