If You Leave Me Now
|"If You Leave Me Now"|
|Single by Chicago|
|from the album Chicago X|
|Released||July 31, 1976|
|Recorded||March – April 1976|
|Producer(s)||James William Guercio|
|Chicago singles chronology|
"If You Leave Me Now" is the title of a popular hit ballad by the American rock group Chicago, from their album Chicago X. It was written and sung by bass guitar player Peter Cetera and released as a single on July 31, 1976. It is also the title of a Chicago compilation album released by Columbia Records (Columbia 38590) in 1983.
The single topped the US charts on October 23, 1976, and stayed there for two weeks, making it the first number one hit for the group as well as hitting number one on the Easy Listening charts. "If You Leave Me Now" was also Chicago's biggest hit internationally, topping the charts in other countries such as the UK, Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Netherlands. In the UK it maintained the number one position for three weeks. It was one of only five "non-disco" songs to make it to number one in the US in a nine-month period of 1976. According to writer Zachary Houle of PopMatters, "The song was so pervasive on radio upon its release that, reportedly, those tuning in in New York could hear the song playing on four different stations, each with varying formats, simultaneously."
The song won Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) (strings) for arranger Jimmie Haskell and producer James William Guercio and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus, the first Grammy Award won by the group. It also received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year. In addition, by August 1978 it had sold 1.4 million copies in the United States alone. It has been certified gold and platinum by the RIAA.
In 2010 Chicago teamed with the American Cancer Society and offered the opportunity to bid on the chance to sing their hit, "If You Leave Me Now" with them on stage live at their concerts, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer. The fund raising effort has continued in succeeding years.
Peter Cetera originally wrote "If You Leave Me Now" at the same time as Chicago VII's "Wishing You Were Here", and composed it on a guitar. According to information on the sheet music for the song at MusicNotes, "If You Leave Me Now" is written in the key of B major, and Cetera's vocal range varies between F sharp 4 (F♯4) and D sharp 6 (D♯6).
- Peter Cetera - lead & backing vocals
- Terry Kath - twelve-string acoustic guitar & bass
- Robert Lamm - Fender Rhodes electric piano
- Danny Seraphine - drums
- Laudir de Oliveira - congas, shakers, finger cymbals, wind chimes
- Jimmy Pankow - trombone
- Lee Loughnane - trumpet
- Walt Parazaider - woodwinds
- James William Guercio - acoustic guitar
- Jimmie Haskell - string & French horn orchestrations
"Disco Duck (Part one)" by Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
October 23, 1976 - October 30, 1976 (two weeks)
"Rock'n Me" by Steve Miller Band
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Olivia Newton-John
|Billboard Adult Contemporary chart number-one single
September 25, 1976 (one week)
"I Can't Hear You No More" by Helen Reddy
"Mississippi" by Pussycat
|UK Singles Chart number-one single
November 13, 1976 (three weeks)
"Under the Moon of Love" by Showaddywaddy
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||5,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
There have been over 100 versions of "If You Leave Me Now" recorded by artists throughout the world, among them:
- Brotherhood of Man on their 1980 album Sing 20 Number One Hits
- Elkie Brooks released a version of the song on her album Pearls in 1981
- Viola Wills released a Disco version of the song as a single in 1981.
- Mina released a version of the song on her album Finalmente ho conosciuto il conte Dracula... in 1985
- Marti Webb included the song on her album Encore (1985) which was later re-released on CD entitled If You Leave Me Now (1995)
- Peter Cetera re-recorded the song as a solo artist for his 1997 album You're the Inspiration: A Collection
- Khalil Fong, a R&B singer based in Hong Kong, recorded a version on his second Mandarin album, This Love
- The Isley Brothers on their 2001 album Eternal
- Danish popstar Christine Milton recorded an uptempo version for her debut album Friday in 2003
- Philippine bossa nova singer Sitti recorded a cover of this song for her second album My Bossa Nova
- Maggie Reilly on her 2002 album Save It For A Rainy Day
- Suzy Bogguss on her 2007 album Sweet Danger
- John Barrowman on his 2007 album Another Side
- Upside Down, a British boy band from 1996, charted at number 27
- 3T, feat. T-Rio, 2005
- Boyz II Men on their 2009 album Love
- Egotrippi has released a Finnish version called "Jos Sä Lähdet Pois"
- Jazz singer Laura Zakian on her 2014 album Songs For Modern Lovers
- River Series ft. Alex Charles (vocals), 1995 maxi single containing 4 Eurodance remixes, released by the Dance Pool label
- Afonso Nigro, Brazilian pop singer, recorded a Portuguese version called "Se Voce me Deixar", in 2004
- Gilmar Monteiro Brazilian singer of Arrocha, a music genre from Bahia, recorded a Portuguese version called "Não me Deixe Amor", and covered the original song, in English
Live cover performances
- Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire sang the song during their joint concerts with Chicago in 2004-2006. This version was included in the Love Songs album by Chicago.
- A sample of the song is used by British electronica duo Lemon Jelly on the "Nice Weather For Ducks" B-side "Soft" (2003).
- Daft Punk used a sample from the Viola Wills 1981 cover of the song for their track "Fresh", released on the 1997 album Homework.
Use in popular culture
The song has been featured in the movies Three Kings (1999), Shaun of the Dead (2004), A Lot Like Love (2005), Happy Feet (2006), and Daddy's Home 2 (2017); the television series Sex and the City and South Park; and the video game Grand Theft Auto V. A sock puppet sang a version of the song in a 2000 Super Bowl commercial for Pets.com that was ranked as the number one Super Bowl commercial that year by the USA Today Ad Meter.
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- List of European number-one hits of 1977
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