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Review: "The Very Best of Peter Cetera"

by Roger Wink, VVN Music

Peter Cetera was at the top of his game when he left Chicago in July 1985. While all of their early hits had vocals shared by Peter, Robert Lamm and Terry Kath, the band's 80's hits featured Cetera exclusively.

Starting with the group's new affiliation with Full Moon Records in 1982, Cetera sang lead on Hard to Say I'm Sorry, Love Me Tomorrow, Stay the Night, Hard Habit to Break, You're the Inspiration and Along Comes a Woman, all major hits for the group over three years.

It was also during this time that Cetera released his self titled debut solo album which saw little success except for the single Livin' in the Limelight which reached number 6 on the Mainstream Rock chart; however, every time Peter tried to get a second solo release together, the project was shot down by Chicago management. Cetera saw a career like Phil Collins had with Genesis, but his bandmates and management weren't cooperating.

So, in July 1985, Cetera left Chicago and started what would become a very successful solo journey.

Warner Brothers, Rhino and Varese Vintage have collected the best of those solo years on the new release The Very Best of Peter Cetera.  While Livin' in the Limelight is not included, all of Cetera's other major hits are part of the package including Glory of Love, The Next Time I Fall (with Amy Grant), One Good Woman, After All (with Cher) and Restless Heart.

Once you get past the expected songs is where the album really shines with the minor hits and album tracks that didn't get the major spotlight.  While most of Cetera's big hits were ballads, there are a number of mid- and up-tempo tracks that shows off the versatility that he had shown in his years with Chicago. Highlights include Daddy's Girl from the Solitude/Solitaire album, Best of Times from One More Story and the ballad Feels Like Heaven from World Falling Down.  The last one is particularly interesting as it is a duet with Chaka Khan, an artist known for her uptempo music who shines on a ballad.

Also included in the package is an essay on Cetera's career by Larry R. Watts.

Peter Cetera will be our special guest on the upcoming (June 12) edition of the VVN Music Podcast.