Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, September 15th

On this day in 1982: Chicago was enjoying their first of two weeks at #1 with “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.”

“Hard to Say I’m Sorry” was written by bassist Peter Cetera, who also sang lead on the track, and producer David Foster, for the group Chicago. It was released on May 16, 1982, as the lead single from the album Chicago 16. The song reached #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 11 of that year. It was the group’s second #1 single. It was their first top 50 hit since “No Tell Lover” in 1978 and it spent twelve weeks in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in September of the same year.

The song, as well as the album on which it is featured, was a marked departure from Chicago’s traditional soft rock, horn-driven sound, taking on a polished and modern feel. With minimal horns, the track instead featured more layered synthesizers and heavier distorted guitar in a contemporary 1980s styling. A second movement of the song, “Get Away”, does prominently feature the Chicago horns, and it was co-written by Robert Lamm.

Deviating from Chicago’s practice of having mostly band members playing on their albums, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” featured several session musicians. The song featured producer David Foster on the piano, as well as three members of the band Toto, including Steve Lukather on guitar and David Paich and Steve Porcaro both contributing synthesizers. The song’s vocals were performed by Peter Cetera. The only other member of Chicago besides Cetera that played on the track was drummer Danny Seraphine.

Here’s a look at the entire Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1982:

1 3 HARD TO SAY I’M SORRY –•– Chicago (Full Moon)-15 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 2 EYE OF THE TIGER –•– Survivor (Scotti Brothers)-15 (1)
3 1 ABRACADABRA –•– The Steve Miller Band (Capitol)-16 (1)
4 11 JACK & DIANE –•– John Cougar (Riva)-8 (4)
5 5 EVEN THE NIGHTS ARE BETTER –•– Air Supply (Arista)-14 (5)
6 6 YOU SHOULD HEAR HOW SHE TALKS ABOUT YOU –•– Melissa Manchester (Arista)-17 (6)
7 4 HOLD ME –•– Fleetwood Mac (Warner Brothers)-13 (4)
8 7 HURTS SO GOOD –•– John Cougar (Riva)-21 (2)
9 9 WASTED ON THE WAY –•– Crosby, Stills and Nash (Atlantic)-12 (9)
10 10 TAKE IT AWAY –•– Paul McCartney (Columbia)-10 (10)

11 8 VACATION –•– The Go-Go’s (I.R.S.)-11 (8)
12 12 LOVE IS IN CONTROL (Finger On the Trigger) –•– Donna Summer (Geffen)-12 (12)
13 13 LOVE WILL TURN YOU AROUND –•– Kenny Rogers (Liberty)-11 (13)
14 14 EYE IN THE SKY –•– The Alan Parsons Project (Arista)-11 (14)
15 15 WHO CAN IT BE NOW –•– Men At Work (Columbia)-10 (15)
16 16 AMERICAN MUSIC –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-12 (16)
17 17 THINK I’M IN LOVE –•– Eddie Money (Columbia)-11 (17)
18 20 YOU CAN DO MAGIC –•– America (Capitol)-7 (18)
19 21 ONLY TIME WILL TELL –•– Asia (Geffen)-8 (19)
20 24 SOMEBODY’S BABY –•– Jackson Browne (Asylum)-7 (20)