From 1969 to 1978, Chicago was one of the most successful bands in the world. Their fusion of rock and roll with a horn section gave the band a unique sound, and they had some incredible hits like —”Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”, “Beginnings”, “25 or 6 to 4”, and “Colour My World”.
In 1978, legendary lead guitarist Terry Kath, who was the heart and soul of the band, died from an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. Chicago almost broke up after that, but decided to carry on. In the process, they began to change their sound from rock/jazz to pop and ballads. Their first album after Kath’s death, 1978’s Hot Streets, was pretty successful. However, the band went on a dry spell after that.
Then in 1981, Chicago brought in new producer, David Foster. They also changed record labels from Columbia to Warner Brothers. Keyboardist/guitarist/singer Bill Champlin also joined the band. So the band caught a second wind as David Foster radically changed the band’s sound for the ’80s. The first album of this era was 1982’s Chicago 16.
For this album, David Foster also brought in studio musicians, including core members of Toto. The album was a big hit, especially as “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” became the band’s second #1 US single. The album went platinum, and reach #9 on the U.S. Billboard charts.
Let’s listen to this great album.
What You’re Missing
Not a bad way to start the album. The keyboards are strong, the horn section is featured, and you can’t go wrong with Peter Cetera on vocals.
Waiting for You to Decide
Peter Cetera starts with the lead vocals. We are then introduced to Bill Champlin. They sound great together.
This song has a Blues/Funk sound with the horns and heavy bass, until Cetera comes in with the chorus, and the song has the classic ’80s Chicago sound. Another great combined effort of Cetera and Champlin.
This Peter Cetera song is one that can get stuck in your head.
Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away
This is the song that put Chicago back on the map. It was a #1 hit for 2 weeks. It was their first top 50 hit since “No Tell Lover” in 1978. This is a great ballad. My favorite part of the song is the “Get Away” portion. The horn section just explodes. However, when this song got played on the radio, the stations would fade out the song at the end of the ballad section, and leave out the rockin’ part of the song. I can understand that happening at a dance. It would be kind of awkward slow dancing to a beautiful ballad, and then jumping right into fast paced music. But, there’s no excuse for radio! C’Mon now!! Are you guys with me?! Um, I better get off the soapbox for now before I really go off on a tangent, and talk about how annoyed I used to get when the DJ’s would talk over the music for the whole beginning of a song until the singer started singing, and then start yapping again at the end of the song after the singer finished singing, and the instruments would still be playing. So let’s get back to the music. After all, this is still one of my all-time favorite Chicago songs. First, here is the bastardized version, without the horn section, and then the real version, which is even better live:
The first song on side 2 was pretty good too. I love the horns and guitar in this, and Bill Champlin is great.
Sonny Think Twice
Another Bill Champlin song. I didn’t appreciate it too much in my younger days, but it has grown on me over the years.
What Can I Say
This is another song that I didn’t care for when I was younger. But, this Peter Cetera song has also grown on me. Back in the day, though, I used to skip over “Sonny Think Twice” and this song to get to the next 2 songs.
This was my favorite non-ballad song of the album. It’s a really good rock song with Peter Cetera on vocals.
Love Me Tomorrow
Another great Chicago ballad. It was the second song from this album released as a single and it reached #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. This is the last song on the album. It gave us much to look forward to from this legendary band throughout the ’80s and beyond.
Well, here is the final Hits of the Decade – Horrible and Great.
I hope you all enjoyed the articles as much as I enjoyed compiling them. In case you missed any, here are the links to each of the years. Feel free to comment on them, and leave your own lists:
10. Hangin’ Tough – New Kids On The Block
9. Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
8. If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher
7. Girl You Know Its True – Milli Vanilli
6. Toy Solider – Martika
5. Stand – R.E.M.
4. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red
3. Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird – Will To Power
2. I’ll Be There for You, Bon Jovi
1. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
Although the last couple of songs were “blah”, I would prefer “blah” to annoying!
It’s like a whiney “Hokey Pokey”. The only song I liked by R.E.M. was “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”, and then they disappeared.
4. Girl You Know Its True/Blame It On The Rain – Milli Vanilli
These poor saps. If they came on the scene more recently, instead of 20+ years ago, all they would have needed was autotune. Then they would have been just as successful. Which is not a good thing.
3. Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird – Will To Power
I don’t even like the Peter Frampton version, let alone this one!
2. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red
Boring! “If you don’t know me byzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
1. Two Hearts – Phil Collins
I love Phil Collins, but this was probably the most overplayed among his overplayed songs.
There were also some great hits that year:
10. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
Now we’re talking! One of my all-time favorite Guns ‘N’ Roses songs. This was the perfect song for them. Axl sounds like this song belongs to him, Slash is awesome. And now that I’ve been watching Celebrity Rehab, I am very impressed with Steven Adler’s drumming in this song.
9. The Look – Roxette
Roxette burst on to the scene with this song. This was a fun and unique song. Roxette’s first 2 albums were great.
8. Eternal Flame – The Bangles
A great ballad by this awesome band. Susanna Hoffs sounds great.
7. After All – Cher and Peter Cetera
These two unique voices sound great together. Cetera was still going strong post-Chicago, and Cher was in the middle of one of her several comebacks. One of my favorite duets of the decade.
6. Look Away – Chicago
I had the cassingle of this song, and played it over and over. I kind of ruined the song for myself, but I could not get enough of it. “Look Away” was my favorite Chicago song for a while.
5. Surrender To Me – Ann Wilson and Robin Zander
Another great duet from this year. Ann Wilson has such an incredible voice. And Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander sounds really good with her.
4. Poison – Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper was great in the ’70s. But he had a pretty good revival in the late ’80s. This is probably my favorite song by him.
3. Like a Prayer – Madonna
This was Madonna at the peak of her career. This is my favorite song by her.
2. Lost In Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson
My favorite Debbie Gibson song. Even people who weren’t into the teen music, at the time, liked this song. It is still great today.
1. The Living Years – Mike and the Mechanics
Not only was this my favorite song of the year, but it may be one of my favorite songs of the entire decade. A really emotional song that packs quite a punch. Paul Carrack sounds great. The music and message are just awesome.
10. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
9. Hello – Lionel Richie
8. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
7. Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart
6. Dancing in the Sheets – Shalamar
5. The Heart of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Huey Lewis & the News
4. State of Shock – The Jacksons
3. Yah Mo B There – James Ingram and Michael McDonald
2. Talking In Your Sleep – Romantics
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:
5. Hello – Lionel Richie
Before there was Ghost, there was the “Hello” video. I like Lionel Richie, but I never liked this song. I didn’t care for the video neither, and it didn’t help that MTV rammed it down our throats.
If you want to hear a better Lionel Richie ballad, listen to “Truly”. Even “Stuck On You”, which was also on the charts in 1984, is better than “Hello”. But “Hello ” ended up being a #1 hit on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks), and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). Sure, there are songs a lot worse than this one, but, this was a bit overrated.
4. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
3. Let’s Hear It for the Boy – Deniece Williams
I hated this song when it came out, and I still can’t listen to it! In my opinion, this is the worst song on the Footloose soundtrack. “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar is on the Stuck In the 80s list, and is no prize in my book either. But I would still listen to that than that annoying “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”. It didn’t help that this Deniece Williams song was on an endless loop on the radio and on MTV.
2. If This Is It – Huey Lewis and The News
Stick with the up-tempo songs, Huey! I loved every song on the Sports album – except for this one. It’s slow, boring, and there’s no feeling in it.
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
I love Stevie Wonder, but I don’t like this overplayed song. It was featured on the soundtrack from The Woman in Red, and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. The only other songs of his that may have been more overplayed was “Superstition”. I skip both of those songs when they come on.
: While “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can be grating, Lauper shows off her beautiful voice here. When I say beautiful voice, I’m referring to her singing voice, of course. When you hear her speak, you would never imagine that she would have an incredible singing voice.
: The Stones get criticized for their ’80s and beyond music. But, this song and “Start Me Up” was basically my introduction to the group. I still like “Undercover” a lot. They still had some edge back then.
: Steve Perry was one of my favorite singers (behind Freddie Mercury), and the former Journey frontman proved that he could be successful as a solo act. It sucks that he hasn’t done anything in a long time. “Oh Sherrie” was his debut song when he went solo, and it was his biggest hit.
: These rock legends slightly changed their style with the Eliminator album that “Legs” came off of, and it helped give their popularity a huge surge. Their trilogy of videos, which included this one, didn’t hurt.
5. Twist of Fate – Olivia Newton-John
: This is probably my favorite ONJ song. It’s a great up-tempo song. It came off of the Two of a Kind soundtrack. The movie, which she starred in, along with John Travolta, was a clunker. But, the soundtrack is great, and this song stands out.
4. I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters
: The songs was right in the middle of the Pointer’s great ’80s run. You can’t help but move to this song. It was also great in the movie Vacation.
3. Jump – Van Halen
: When this song came out, it was my favorite song of all time! The reason why this isn’t higher on the list is because it was also probably the most overplayed song of the year. I didn’t help matters any by playing it over and over again on tape, and by sitting in front of MTV all day just to watch it every time it came on. It was so funny seeing Eddie smiling through the entire video. I wonder, what made him do that? He wouldn’t have smoked anything to get him that way, would he have?
2. Hard Habit to Break – Chicago
: I still love this Chicago ballad! This was in the middle of their comeback during the David Foster years. I got sick of “You’re the Inspiration”, but I never got sick of this song. Unfortunately, the band became known more for their ballads. Their rock songs are just as good. But, “Hard Habit to Break” is one of my all time favorite Chicago songs.
1. Cum On Feel the Noize – Quiet Riot
: My introduction to heavy metal in the ’80s. Wow, you just didn’t hear anything else like this on the radio at the time! Quiet Riot pretty much opened up mainstream radio for Heavy Metal acts. Would heavy metal and hair bands have been as popular as they were if it wasn’t for Quiet Riot and “Cum On Feel the Noize”? Maybe not. This pretty much set my musical taste for the ’80s and early ’90s.
Congratulations to Lee DeWyze for winning American Idol last night. This is the first season that I followed the show since the year that Taylor Hicks won. It was good to see that the two best singers actually made it to the finals this year. I favored Lee, but would not have been disappointed if Crystal Bowersox won.
Lee’s victory song was “Beautiful Day by U2. Here is his performance from the night before:
It was a fun night if you are an ’80s fan, as we Returned to the ’80s.
They did not perform too much by the time the ’80s arrived, but it was great to see Barry and Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, perform with contestants Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly:
And there were a couple of artists that had ’80s hits, but performed their hits from previous decades.
For example, the show started with Alice Cooper (along with the contestants) performing “School’s Out”:
Michael McDonald performed his Doobie Brothers hit “Takin’ It to the Streets” with fourth place Michael Lynche:
And Joe Cocker performed “With a Little Help From My Friends” with Lee and Crystal:
And for the ’80s fans, there were some pretty cool surprises. Janet Jackson performed the last songs leading up to the results: “Again”, “Nothing”, and “Nasty”:
Chicago performed a medley of their hits with Lee DeWyze (whose hometown is Chicago:
Hall and Oates performed “You Make My Dreams”. That is one of my favorite Hall & Oates songs, so that was pretty cool to see:
And the biggest surprise to me, was Bret Michaels!!! He looked and sounded great. Especially all that he’s been through physically lately.
Apparently, the viewers weren’t the only ones surprised. So were his doctors.
“The doctors, I didn’t tell them I was going to do this,” he told UsMagazine.com. “I never told them I was coming here. They’re going to find out in a few minutes!” As for his family, “I may not have told them, either,” he added.
Here is his performance with third place finisher Casey James:
The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:
3. Peter Cetera – Chicago
Chicago is one of the longest running and most successful groups in rock history. They formed in 1967, and released their first album in 1969. They were constantly on the Billboard charts throughout the 70’s. Then in 1978, the lead guitarist, and one of the the founding members, Terry Kath, died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. Then the band went into a major transitional period. They eventually brought in producer David Foster, and were able to start the next phase of their career. In 1982, the band released Chicago 16, and were back on the top of the charts again. They had a #1 hit with “Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away“, then was followed by another hit “Love Me Tomorrow“.
The band then followed up with their highest selling album – Chicago 17. They released four singles from the album, all of them sung by Peter Cetera. They were all top 20 hits – “Stay the Night” (#16), “Hard Habit to Break” (#3), “You’re the Inspiration” (#3) and “Along Comes a Woman” (#14). Around this time, MTV was becoming more popular, and Cetera became the face of Chicago. With this new fame, Cetera decided to start a solo career, and not to continue with Chicago’s busy touring schedule.
Peter Cetera was a very successful solo artist. His first single, “Glory of Love” was the theme song for the movie The Karate Kid, Part II, and it reached #1. Then he released the album Solitude/Solitaire, and sold over 1 million copies. “The Glory of Love” was on this album as well as another #1 hit “The Next Time I Fall“, which was a duet with Amy Grant. Solitude/Solitaire outsold Chicago 18, which was Chicago’s first album without Cetera. In 1988, Cetera released another solo album, One More Story. It featured the #4 hit “One Good Woman“. The song “Save Me” was also on the album, and was the original theme song for the television show Baywatch. Then Peter Cetera wrapped up the 80’s by recording the duet “After All” with Cher, which was on the soundtrack for the movie Chances Are. The song went on to reach #6 on the charts.