80s Music

Introduction to Peter Cetera

Peter Cetera

Cetera’s career at a glance

Peter Cetera (born in Chicago, Illinois in 1944) is an American singer-songwriter known as one of the core members of the soft-rock band Chicago (starting in the 70s) as well as for having his own solo career in the 80s music era. He first joined a band named The Exceptions before being a member of another group named Chicago Transit Authority. They later shortened it to simply Chicago. Cetera was the bassist and front man. Many of the group’s hits including the love songs “If You Leave Me Now,” “You’re The Inspiration” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” were sung by Cetera. Many of the group’s hits were written either by Cetera alone or as collaboration with composer David Foster. While still with Chicago, Cetera launched his solo career in 1981 issuing his self-titled debut album; he remained with the band until 1985. It wasn’t until 1986 that Cetera scored a big solid hit “Glory of Love,” which was part of the soundtrack for the film Karate Kid and also appeared on his album Solitude/Solitaire. He also launched successful duets with Amy Grant (“The Next Time I Fall”) and Cher (“After All”). In between breaks, Cetera released his most recent albums, Another Perfect World, and You Just Gotta Love Christmas, which also featured he and his daughter in a duet.

Beginnings and his stint with Chicago

Singer-songwriter and musician Peter Cetera was born Peter Paul Cetera in Chicago, Illinois on September 13, 1944. He has two brothers who are also musicians. In fact, his brothers have also contributed on many of Chicago’s tracks.

He learned a variety of instruments including accordion, electric guitar and bass guitar. Cetera later joined different local bands around the Windy City area, playing in clubs, dances, wherever they would be available to perform. During the 1960s Cetera played in another band called the Exceptions, which toured the Midwest and even waxed a couple of records.

Cetera joined a new band called The Big Thing in late 1967. The Big Thing later changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority, and eventually shortened it to just Chicago. During Cetera’s tenure with Chicago, the band became one of the biggest American rock/soft rock acts, waxing off one hit after another during the early and mid 1970s. They also had a resurgence in the early 1980s. Hits included “Feelin’ Stronger Everyday,” “Wishing You Were Here,” “If You Leave Me Now,” “Baby, What A Big Surprise,” “No Tell Lover,” “Hard To Say I’m Sorry,” “Love Me Tomorrow,” “Stay The Night,” “You’re The Inspiration,” and “Along Comes A Woman”. Cetera’s soaring tenor became Chicago’s singular characteristic.

Solo career

While still in Chicago full-time, Cetera launched a solo career. That became a reality when he released his eponymous solo debut album in 1981. Peter Ceteraeventually went to its peak position at #143 on the Billboard 200. His first solo single, “Livin’ in the Limelight,” reached the Billboard mainstream rock charts at #6.

He came to enjoy his newfound identity away from the band and he wanted to do another solo record. After disagreements with his Chicago band mates and the management, Cetera left in the summer of 1985, enabling him to focus on his solo career full time.

 

Cetera came out with a sophomore effort Solitude/Solitaire in 1986. The album featured the single “Glory of Love,” which incidentally was also on the soundtrack of the hit film The Karate Kid, Part II. “Glory of Love” was co-written by Cetera, noted composer/producer David Foster and Cetera’s wife Diane Nini. The single, thanks in large part to the box-office victory of The Karate Kid movie, became a massive hit, hitting the top of the Billboard Hot 100 that same year. It also went to #1 on the adult contemporary singles chart, and #3 on the UK singles chart.

“Glory of Love” has grown to be one of the most memorable power ballads modern music history has ever seen. Apart from “Glory of Love,” another hit single off Solitude/Solitaire was “The Next Time I Fall,” Cetera’s duet with singer Amy Grant. It also went to #1 on both the Hot 100 and the adult contemporary singles chart.

His album Solitude/Solitaire went on to become Cetera’s most commercially successful album to date, reaching at #23 on the Billboard 200. It was eventually awarded with a platinum disc.

 

Cetera went on to release a few more solo records, with varying degrees of success. His last Top 10 hit was 1988’s “One Good Woman” (at #4), which was a track off his third LP One More Story. “Restless Heart,” from Cetera’s 1992 album World Falling Down, became his last Top 40 pop hit at #35.

Cetera also scored another successful duet, this time with Cher, in the song “After All” which was the soundtrack of the motion picture Chances Are. It went to #6 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the adult contemporary singles chart in 1989.

He also ventured into producing; his most notable work in this capacity was his collaboration with former ABBA member Agnetha Faltskog’s 1988 album I Stand Alone. One of its tracks was “I Wasn’t the One (Who Said Goodbye)” in which Cetera and Faltskog also performed a duet.

Cetera went on to release a couple of albums One Clear Voice (1995) and You’re the Inspiration: A Collection (1997) before retiring from the limelight to focus on raising his own family. He returned in 2001 to release Another Perfect World. His eighth and last studio album to date, You Just Gotta Love Christmas, came out three years later. The holiday-oriented album also involved his daughters in the album artwork as well as singing a few of its tracks.

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