Along with ‘If You Leave Me Now‘ and ‘You’re the Inspiration‘, ‘Hard to Say I’m Sorry‘ is in my trilogy of favourite power ballads by the American rock band Chicago. I remember their music being played a lot at family parties in my youth. I still like to hear them on the odd occasion. It was the group’s second No. 1 single and spent twelve weeks in the top 5 of the Billboard. The single was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance and certified Gold by the Recording Industry.
Like most other ballads, I prefer listening to the verses of the song for the crescendo of emotions they invoke and this song’s verses always hit the spot. Interestingly their verses are interrupted by a mini-bridge – ‘Hold me now‘.., which links the verse to the chorus and is something unique and powerful.
But I remain disappointed how Hard to Say I’m Sorry is concluded with that big band cheap 80’s sound detracting all the instinctive romantic intensity proceeding it.
“Everybody needs a little time away”
I heard her say, from each other
Even lovers need a holiday
Far away, from each other
Hold me now
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to stay
Hard to Say I’m Sorry was written by bassist Peter Cetera, who also sang lead on the track. He has a fantastic voice for such ballads and obviously took the world by storm for the don he was given / mastered. The song, as well as the album on which it is featured (Chicago 16), was a marked departure from Chicago’s traditional soft rock, horn-driven sound, taking on a polished and modern feel. Chicago made a music video for the song (see below) and according to Cetera, the videos for “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and “Love Me Tomorrow” were shot on the same day.
The group which originated from Chicago was initially called the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968, and then soon after shorterned the name. In September 2008, Billboard ranked Chicago at number thirteen in a list of the top 100 artists of all time for Hot 100 singles chart success. They are one of the world’s best-selling groups of all time, having sold more than 100 million records. In 1971, Chicago was the first rock act to sell out Carnegie Hall for a week.