Song: “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago
Reached #1: September 11, 1982 (their second, 2 weeks)
This was a Chicago single only in the sense that it appeared on a Chicago album.
Peter Cetera and David Foster wrote the song. Cetera sang, Foster played piano, and several members of Toto served as session players.
The single marked the beginning of the end of the “horns” era for Chicago, and the move to more of a balladeering style. It had taken four years from Terry Kath’s accidental death for Cetera to remake the band… and just three more for Cetera to leave for a solo career.
Of course, the band started as the Chicago Transit Authority, prompting the real CTA to threaten legal action – the band dropped the last two words of its name, and more than 40 years later, you have to wonder if the CTA would’ve liked the positive publicity…
For all the songs that Chicago placed on the Billboard charts from 1969 to 1991, they only scored the top spot three times – two Cetera-led songs, “If You Leave Me Now” (1976) and “Sorry”, and one track with Bill Champlin on vocals, 1988’s “Look Away”. And yes, there’s a pattern here – for all of the horn-based rock, it’s the ballads that took Chicago to the top of the charts…
The band is still together – with four of the founding members from 1968 still playing – and usually does a summer tour paired up with another ‘70s band. In 2012, it was the Doobie Brothers… in other years, it’s been Earth, Wind & Fire.
Tomorrow, the last of our days without a #1. I’ll have something planned…
Other songs that hit #1 on September 11:
1971 – “Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond (his first, 3 weeks)
1976 – “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” by KC and the Sunshine Band (their third, 1 week)
1993 – “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey (her seventh, 8 weeks)
2004 – “Goodies” by Ciara feat. Petey Pablo (her first, 7 weeks)
Note: This post is went live at 8:00 AM, instead of the usual 9:00 AM, so that it posted before the moment of the 11th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington. Hopefully, you’ll have a moment today to remember and reflect.