Thursday, July 1, 2021

"I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love" by Chicago

Song#:  3541
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  71
Peak:  3
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary


Pop Bits:  The band's first album after the departure of long time lead singer Peter Cetera, Chicago 18, nearly did a nose dive upon release when its first single tanked. Luckily, the the second single, "Will You Still Love Me," became a #3 Pop/#2 AC hit and salvaged the LP, which peaked at #35 and went gold. Taking hints from what worked from that album, the band chose to continue down the commercial pop/AC road and record songs with hit potential from outside writers. They also selected to change producer moving from David Foster, who had been with them since their 1982 comeback LP, to Ron Nevison (Heart). Nevison would helm the potential hits while the other tracks would be produced by Chas Sandford. Up first for release was this power ballad written by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond. It fell right in line with Chicago's new signature sound and that seemed to please listeners. The song would peak at the same #3 as their previous Top 10 while getting to #5 at AC. The hit, however, didn't really send album flying up the chart. Initially, it peaked at #43. Sales stayed fairly consistent though and by the end of summer it would go gold. That wouldn't be the end of the story though as a late-career #1 would help boost sales.

ReduxReview:  At the time this came out I was so over with the whole Chicago thing. It seemed the only thing they could hit with was big ballads and they just all started to blend together. I got bored with them and basically began to ignore the band. Since a few decades have gone by, I can view the songs a bit differently. While the run of hits still kind of meld into one gigantic ballad pop symphony of sorts, some of the tunes I can appreciate a little more. This Warren/Hammond tune was well-written and had a hook that was instantly memorable. If Chicago hadn't picked it up, it would have been an easy hit for someone else. It was also a good idea to move on from David Foster. Ron Nevison's production was beefy and added in a bit of a rock edge. It made the song even more thunderous than their previous power ballad hits. In retrospect, the song was pretty good. Still, a little Chicago from this era goes a long way for me.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song featured vocals by band member Bill Champlin. Champlin began working with Chicago in the early 80s and it even seems that it was him who suggested they work with David Foster for what would be their comeback album, 1982's Chicago 16. He began working with the band as keyboardist, vocalist, and composer with that album. Over the next two albums, Champlin's role increased and he would provide lead vocals on a couple of album tracks while doing some co-leads with Peter Cetera including some of their big hits like "Hard Habit to Break" (#3 Pop, 1984). When Cetera left the band, they hired in Jason Scheff as a replacement. Still, Champlin would head up an album track or two while providing vocals alongside Scheff. By the time Chicago 19 came around, Champlin was lead singer on half of the tracks, which included this hit and its follow-ups. Champlin would remain with the band until 2009.

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2 comments:

  1. Hey, I could be wrong, but I believe you may have accidentally skipped, “Peek A Boo” by Siouxsie and the Banshees here on your site. Could be wrong like I said. Peaked in June of 1988, I believe.

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    1. It hits the chart in October of '88, so it won't be on the blog for a while yet.

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