Peter Cetera to sing with Toledo SymphonyWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Wishing You Were Here.” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.” “If You Leave Me Now.” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” “You’re the Inspiration.” “Glory of Love.” “The Next Time I Fall.”
Peter Cetera has written and co-written some big hits.
“I don’t care if it’s fast, slow, in the middle, screaming — whatever it is — if it doesn’t have a good melody, to me, it’s never going to be a memorable song,” he said. “I can’t remember the last song — or any song for that matter — that people can quote it word for word for word and not remember the melody. However, every song ever written, I guarantee you somebody knows the melody to that, but they don’t know the words.”
The 64-year-old added, “I think I’ve managed to combine emotion and true feelings with memorable melodies, and the words just happen to get dragged in there along the way.”
It’s been quite a musical path for Cetera. The bass player was the last original member to join the Chicago Transit Authority in 1967. He stayed with the legendary band that shortened its name and had a long string of hits until 1985, when the singer-songwriter wanted to work on a second solo record.
Cetera’s 1986 disc, “Solitude/Solitaire,” included “Glory of Love,” which was featured in “The Karate Kid II.” The song went to No. 1 and Cetera received an Academy Award nomination.
The blond tenor will perform songs from his solo career and revisit Chicago favorites with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. March 7 at Stranahan Theater. Tickets are $45 and $35.
Cetera answered questions for Toledo Free Press from Nashville, Tenn., where he was rehearsing with his band and visiting one of his daughters.
TFP: The first instrument you played was the accordion?
Cetera: My parents would not buy me a guitar. In the year between grammar school and high school, I was working as a stock boy in the supermarket and made enough money and went to Montgomery Wards or Sears or wherever it was and bought a $25 guitar and kind of learned those first position chords and then realized at that time in music, you could play just about every top 10 song there was with three, four, five, six chords.
TFP: Is that a true story about how you came to have that clenched-jaw singing style? You, a Chicago Cubs fan, were at a game in Los Angeles in 1969 and got into a fight?
Cetera: Yeah, let’s just say some Marines didn’t like my long hair and we got into a little beef, and I had a broken jaw and I was wired shut for a few months. And when they cut the wires off, I was always afraid of my jaw sticking open again, so I don’t really open my mouth a lot when I sing.
TFP: You’ve sung so many duets over the years — with Amy Grant, Cher, Chaka Khan, Alison Krauss. What makes them special?
Cetera: I think people just love duets. And when you combine duets with a great song, it’s magic. What’s always been fun with me is it gives you a chance to sing with someone — and in my case, outside of the Cher thing [“After All”], which was they came to me — I pick the duets just by luck, and it’s always a surprise, and when you get into the studio, it’s a unique experience.
TFP: Would you consider reuniting with Chicago for some concerts?
Cetera: I don’t think so. … I tried to put something together with them years back when I had my first album out — the first two songs from my album were No. 1 —about doing a joint billing and then for us getting together for the end of the evening and do a few songs together, but they didn’t want to do it, so that was that and this is now. You know, it’s all about the money anyhow, so it’s not about the love; all these people aren’t doing this for the love, they’re doing this for the money. And I just haven’t gotten to the point and I can’t see myself getting there where I would just do it for the money because I love what I’m doing now.
On the web: visit www.petercetera.com.