Hard to Say I'm Sorry

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"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
Hard To Say I´m Sorry Single cover.jpg
Artwork for Italian release
Single by Chicago
from the album Chicago 16
B-side "Sonny Think Twice"
Released May 17, 1982 (1982-05-17)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1982
Length 5:06 (Album Version, with "Get Away")
3:51 (Alternate Edit)
3:40 (Single Version)
Label Full Moon/Warner Bros.
Producer(s) David Foster
Chicago singles chronology
"Song for You"
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
"Love Me Tomorrow"
"Song for You"
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
"Love Me Tomorrow"

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" is a song written by lead singer Peter Cetera and producer David Foster,[3] and released on May 17, 1982 as the lead single from the album Chicago 16. The song hit number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 11 of that year.[4][5] It was their first top 50 hit since "No Tell Lover" in 1978, spent twelve weeks in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[6] and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[7] The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in September of the same year.[8]


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. This was done to revitalize the band's commercial success

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 American rock 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. Foster took over playing the bass from Cetera on the song when, after messing up on a take, a frustrated Cetera told Foster he didn't want to play the bass for the song.[citation needed]

The song was also featured as the ending theme in the movie and soundtrack for Summer Lovers,[9] a 1982 film written and directed by Randal Kleiser, starring Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah and Valerie Quennessen, and filmed on location on the island of Santorini, Greece.[10]

Music video[edit]

Chicago made a music video for the song. According to Cetera, the videos for "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "Love Me Tomorrow" were shot on the same day.[11] The band appears in a black colored room with diamonds on the wall.


Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Even the Nights Are Better" by Air Supply
Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
August 21, 1982 – September 4, 1982
Succeeded by
"Blue Eyes" by Elton John
Preceded by
"Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 11, 1982 – September 18, 1982
Succeeded by
"Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band
Preceded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
Canadian Singles Chart
September 11, 1982 – September 18, 1982
Succeeded by
"Jack & Diane" by John Mellencamp
Preceded by
"Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band
Swiss number-one single
September 26, 1982 – October 3, 1982
Succeeded by
"I Know There's Something Going On" by Frida

Az Yet version[edit]

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Az Yet.jpg
Single by Az Yet featuring Peter Cetera
from the album Az Yet
Released February 3, 1997 (1997-02-03)
Format CD
Recorded 1996
Genre R&B, adult contemporary
Length 3:17
Label LaFace Records
Songwriter(s) Peter Cetera and David Foster
Producer(s) Babyface
Az Yet featuring Peter Cetera singles chronology
"Last Night"
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
"You're the Inspiration"
"Last Night"
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
"You're the Inspiration"

In 1996, the R&B group Az Yet included a cover version on their self-titled debut album. The song, later released as a single, was produced by Babyface,[26] remixed by David Foster,[27] featured vocals from Peter Cetera,[27][28] and peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.[29] The single reached platinum status[30] and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Performance by an R&B Group or Duo with Vocal.[31][32]

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (David Foster Remix Featuring Peter Cetera) 3:18
  2. "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (Album Version) 3:14
  3. "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (Acappella) 3:14
  4. "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (Chase Extended Mix) 5:14


Weekly charts
Chart (1997) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[33] 5
Canadian Singles Chart[34] 26
Dutch Singles Chart[35] 3
German Singles Chart[36] 72
New Zealand Singles Chart[37] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[38] 59
UK Singles Chart[39] 7
US Billboard Hot 100[29][40] 8
US Rhythmic Top 40[40] 9
Year-end charts
Chart (1997) Position
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[41] 13


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[42] Platinum 70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[43] Platinum 10,000*
United States (RIAA)[44] Platinum 1,100,000[45]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Preceded by
"I Shot the Sheriff" by Warren G
New Zealand Singles Chart
April 27, 1997 – May 4, 1997
Succeeded by
"Don't Leave Me" by Blackstreet

Other cover versions[edit]

  • In 1983, a Czech cover of the song, titled "Černý páv" (The Black Peacock), was recorded by Hana Zagorová feat. Stanislav Hložek and Petr Kotvald
  • In 1999, a Eurodance remix of the song, titled "Hold Me Now", was recorded by DJ Kaos for Dancemania SPEED 3.
  • In 2003, the Canadian boy band b4-4 recorded a cover version included as a bonus track on the "limited edition" of their second album In Your Face.
  • In 2005, Idol 2005 contestant Jonah Hallberg covered the song on the compilation released by the show featuring a song covered by each finalist.
  • In 2007, Irish boy band Westlife covered the song on the B-side to their single "Home", the first single from the album Back Home.
  • In 2008, Barry Manilow covered the song on his album The Greatest Songs of the Eighties.
  • Keith Harkin, of the successful Irish musical production Celtic Thunder, covered the song as part of the CD/DVD combo It's Entertainment in 2009, being release in early 2010.
  • In 2010, Yuna Ito recorded a cover version of the song as part of her project Yuna Ito ~ Respects, the third cover of the project, released on September 29.
  • In 2015, X Factor Indonesia contestant Ramli Nurhappi covered the song competition week 6 theme Love Song.
  • In 2015, country music star Tim McGraw released a “behind-the-scenes” video of him and his band performing “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” as a warm-up for his show in Chicago. At the end of the song he turns to the camera and says, “Hello, Chicago.”[46]
  • In 2016, The Voice Kids Indonesia contestant Fahira Rizani covered the song at Blind Audition.
  • After interviewing Peter Cetera while he was in Lucerne, Switzerland to perform at the Retro Festival in 2016, Swiss interviewer and musician, Phil Dankner, performed the song for Cetera.[47][48]
  • In January 2017, Roger Federer tweeted a video of him singing the song with fellow professional tennis players, Tommy Haas and Grigor Dimitrov, with David Foster at the piano, while at the Australian Open. Haas is the son-in-law of Foster.[49]


  • German eurodance group Aquagen sampled the verses of the song (omitting the chorus) on the 2002 album Weekender.[50] The song was also remixed in 2009 as "Hard to Say I'm Sorry 2K9" on Aquagen's 2009 album So Far So Good (The Very Best Of).[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Chicago – The Collection". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  2. ^ Go, Justin (February 1, 2012). "Jazz-rock-fusion group Chicago reflects on a 45-year career". National Post. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  3. ^ Chicago 16 (audio CD liner notes). Rhino Entertainment Company. 2006. R2 74090. This album was first issued as Full Moon/Warner Bros. #23689 (5/26/82) 
  4. ^ "The Hot 100 - 1982 Archive | Billboard Charts Archive". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
  5. ^ a b "Chicago – Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  6. ^ http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1982-08-07 through http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1982-10-16
  7. ^ "Chicago". GRAMMY.com. 2017-05-14. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  8. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA: Artists: Chicago". RIAA. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  9. ^ DeKNOCK, JAN (1986-08-01). "Cetera At No. 1 With 'Glory Of Love`". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  10. ^ "AFI: Summer Lovers". www.afi.com. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  11. ^ Grein, Paul (January 26, 1985). "Record of the Year: Chicago Sustaining Comeback Momentum". Billboard. Vol. 97 no. 4. New York, NY: Billboard Publications, Inc. pp. 6, 79. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  13. ^ "Chicago – Hard to Say I'm Sorry – Austriancharts.at". Austriancharts.at (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Chicago – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ "50 Singles". RPM. 36 (4). September 11, 1982. ISSN 0033-7064. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Top 100 Single". Charts.de (in German). Media Control. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  18. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Chicago – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Chicago – Hard to Say I'm Sorry – Hitparade.ch". Hitparade.ch (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  20. ^ "1982-10-09 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive | Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Chicago Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – 1982". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  23. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-08-11. 
  24. ^ Swiss Year-End Charts, 1982
  25. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-31. 
  26. ^ Bronson, Fred (March 8, 1997). "Az Yet Not Sorry It Redid Chicago Hit". Billboard. 109 (10). Howard Lander. p. 78. Retrieved August 16, 2017 – via Google Books. 
  27. ^ a b Taylor, Chuck (July 12, 1997). "For Former Chicago Crooner Cetera, Making Hits Is A Hard Habit To Break". Billboard. BPI Communications, Inc. p. 85. Retrieved August 16, 2017 – via Google Books. 
  28. ^ Bronson, Fred (1997-10-25). "Chart Beat: Jackson Lassoes No. 1 With 'Rope'". Billboard. 109 (43). p. 102 – via Google Books. 
  29. ^ a b "The Hot 100 for May 3, 1997". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  30. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA Artist: Az Yet Label: LaFace". RIAA. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  31. ^ "Az Yet". GRAMMY.com. 2017-05-14. Retrieved 2017-08-16. 
  32. ^ "Babyface leads nominees for 40th annual Grammy Awards". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Associated Press. January 7, 1998. p. E6. Retrieved 2017-08-16 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  33. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Az Yet feat. Peter Cetera – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  34. ^ "100 Hit Tracks". RPM. 65 (18). July 7, 1997. ISSN 0033-7064. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  35. ^ "Dutchchart.nl – Az Yet feat. Peter Cetera – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  36. ^ "Single – Az Yet feat. Peter Cetera, Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Chart.de (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  37. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Az Yet feat. Peter Cetera – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  38. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Az Yet feat. Peter Cetera – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  39. ^ "1997-06-21 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive | Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  40. ^ a b "Az Yet – Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  41. ^ "End of Year Charts 1997". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  42. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  43. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Az Yet – Hard to Say I'm Sorry". Recorded Music NZ. 
  44. ^ "American single certifications – Az Yet – Hard to Say I". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  45. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1997". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 110 (5): 76. January 31, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  46. ^ Parton, Chris (2015-08-10). "See Tim McGraw's Backstage Jam of Classic Chicago Hit". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
  47. ^ "Dankner Music & Talk - Webisodes: Peter Cetera (Original Member of CHICAGO )". www.phildanknermusic.com. June 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 
  48. ^ "Peter Cetera - My Musical Journey". YouTube. Dankner Music and Talk. June 9, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 
  49. ^ Katzowitz, Josh (2017-01-21). "Roger Federer tweets video that proves maybe he shouldn't start a boy band". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
  50. ^ Aquagen - Hard To Say I'm Sorry (CD). Discogs.com.


External links[edit]