On this day (Oct. 23rd) in 1976, Chicago started its two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts with the classic ballad “If You Leave Me Now,” which can still be heard playing right here on K-EARTH 101.
Released on Chicago’s eighth studio album (and tenth overall) Chicago X, the song was the group’s first No. 1 single and has since been recognized as one of singer Peter Cetera’s signature songs.
So in honor of the song reaching the top of the charts, may we present to you some fun facts you may not have known about the song before.
1. The song was Chicago’s biggest hit
In addition to reaching No. 1, “If You Leave Me Now” was also Chicago’s biggest worldwide hit and topped the charts in numerous countries including Australia, Canada and UK.
The group also won Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus in 1977.
2. The song was a launching pad for Peter Cetera
Chicago’s original member Peter Cetera both wrote and sang lead on “If You Leave Me Now,” giving him his first worldwide success. Soon after the release of the song, Cetera followed up with 1977’s “Baby, What A Big Surprise,” which peaked at No. 4 and made Chicago standout for its ballads and soft horn section.
Cetera quickly became the “face” of the group during the MTV music video era in the ’80s and had a streak of top 40 hits on the group’s biggest-selling 1984 release Chicago 17, including “Stay the Night” (#16), “Hard Habit to Break” (#3), “You’re the Inspiration” (#3) and “Along Comes a Woman” (#14), according to Wikipedia.
Though he gained success as the group’s lead vocalist, Cetera eventually broke off to launch his own solo career. In 1986, Cetera achieved chart-topping success again with his first solo No. 1 hit “Glory Of Love” that served as the theme of Karate Kid, Part II. He continued his success with solo hits like “The Next Time I Fall” and “One Good Woman.”
3. Featured in movies
The ballad has been featured in several movies since its release including 2005’s Ashton Kutcher/Amanda Peet romantic comedy A Lot Like Love, 2004’s Shaun of the Dead and 1999’s George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg action flick Three Kings.
4. Covered by other artists
Because of its beloved status, numerous artists have paid homage to the song by recording their own version. In fact, over 100 covers of “If You Leave Me Now” have been recorded, but the most notable on that list includes the Isley Brothers for their 2001 album Eternal, Boyz II Men for their 2009 album Love, and even Cetera re-recorded the song for his 1997 solo album You’re the Inspiration: A Collection.
5. Partnership with the American Cancer Society
Now in their fourth year, the current Chicago lineup has partnered up with the American Cancer Society to give fans the ultimate VIP experience while helping out a good cause at the same time.
Called Sing With Chicago, fans can bid on the opportunity to have a meet and greet with the band, win two premium tickets and backstage passes to one of their shows, and the chance to go on stage with the band and sing “If You Leave Me Now” in front of the crowd!
All proceeds from the package goes towards helping raise awareness and finding a cure for cancer, so really it’s a win-win for all!
Now that you know a little more about the song, re-watch a live performance of “If You Leave Me Now” from 1977 below: