You're the Inspiration

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"You're the Inspiration"
Chicago inspiration.jpg
UK vinyl single
Single by Chicago
from the album Chicago 17
B-side "Once in a Lifetime"
Released October 29, 1984 (1984-10-29)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1983–1984
Genre Soft rock[1]
Length 3:50
Label Full Moon/Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Peter Cetera, David Foster
Producer(s) David Foster
Chicago singles chronology
"Hard Habit to Break"
"You're the Inspiration"
"Along Comes a Woman"
"Hard Habit to Break"
"You're the Inspiration"
"Along Comes a Woman"
Music video
"You're the Inspiration" on YouTube

"You're the Inspiration" is a song written by Peter Cetera and David Foster for the group Chicago and recorded for their album Chicago 17 (1984), with Cetera singing lead vocals. The third single released from that album, it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1985, and also climbed to the top position on the adult contemporary chart at the same time.[2] Peter Cetera re-recorded the song for his 1997 solo album You're the Inspiration: A Collection.[3] That same year he also recorded a single version with the vocal R&B group, Az Yet.[3][4]


Peter Cetera stated in a 2004 interview that "You're the Inspiration" started out as a song for Kenny Rogers. "David Foster called me up and he said, ‘I’m in the studio with Kenny Rogers, and he would like you to write a song for him.’ And I said, ‘That’s great! As a matter of fact, I’m leaving for Italy...’ I was going to Europe for something. I don’t remember [why]...and this was like nine o’clock in the morning. I said, ‘I’m leaving for Italy tonight around five o’clock. I’ll be there about two weeks, and I’ll call you when I come back.’ And he goes, ‘No, no, no, he means, like, now.’ (....) And so David was in the studio...and of know, last minute. And so I said, ‘Alright, well you come over here right now, and we’ll see what we can do.’ So in the midst of packing, David drove out to where I was then living. And we basically, in about three hours, came up with a little chordal structure for “You’re the Inspiration,” which it wasn’t called that at the time. And we sort of made this little tape of this chord structure; I took it on the plane, [and] went to Italy. And, of course, lying in these beautiful baroque and marble rooms, and singing out the window...I was writing things about, ‘Michelangelo you should know, Michelangelo.’ And I came up with,’re the inspiration! [So, I] came back with the words, worked on this melody, and came back and presented the song. And [Kenny] basically didn’t have the time or didn’t want to do it. Good for me!"[5] He then changed some of the words and recorded it with Chicago for their Chicago 17 album.

Uses in popular culture[edit]

Chicago's version is heard in a 2017 commercial for the National Football League that aired during halftime of Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017.[6] In the 2016 Tom Hanks movie, A Hologram for the King, the original Chicago version served as the "punchline" for a scene.[7] Portions of the song were also played in the 2016 superhero film, Deadpool, journalist John Hugar of UPROXX calling the use of the song during the hero's battle with the main villain "one of many subversive moments" in the film.[8] A cover of the song was used in the 2006 Nintendo DS rhythm game Elite Beat Agents. The song's first verse was featured in the eighth episode of the ninth season of the American black comedy sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The song was also used in the 150 episode of Criminal Minds Unknown Suspect which is the 12th episode of the 7th season.

Music video (Chicago)[edit]

The video depicted the band performing intercut with scenes of embracing couples of varying ages ranging from young kids to a couple resembling Billy Idol and Madonna at the time. Lead singer Peter Cetera is seen wearing a T-shirt from the British goth band Bauhaus.[9]

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"All I Need" by Jack Wagner
Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
January 26 – February 2, 1985
Succeeded by
"Careless Whisper" by Wham! featuring George Michael

Peter Cetera feat. Az Yet version[edit]

"You're the Inspiration"
You're the Inspiration Peter Cetera.jpg
Single by Peter Cetera feat. Az Yet
from the album You're the Inspiration: A Collection
Released August 25, 1997 (1997-08-25)
Format CD single
Recorded 1996
Genre Pop rock
Adult contemporary
Length 4:07
Label Platinum Entertainment
Songwriter(s) Peter Cetera, David Foster
Producer(s) Babyface
Peter Cetera feat. Az Yet singles chronology
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
"You're the Inspiration"
"Keep on Pushin'"
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry"
"You're the Inspiration"
"Keep on Pushin'"

Track listings[edit]

  1. "You're the Inspiration" – 4:07
  2. "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" – 3:13


Chart (1997) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 77
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[21] 29
Dutch Top 40 72[22]

Music Video (Peter Cetera featuring Az Yet)[edit]

The music video for "You're the Inspiration" (Peter Cetera featuring Az Yet) was directed by Steven R. Monroe and was filmed at Westward Beach (Malibu, California).[23]

Other recordings[edit]

  • Covered by UK singer Elkie Brooks on her 1989 album, Inspiration.
  • Covered by David Foster as an instrumental-piano version on his 1991 album, Rechordings.
  • Covered by pop singer Stevie Brock on his 2003 debut self-titled album.
  • Covered by Julian Miranda for the 2006 Nintendo DS game Elite Beat Agents.
  • Covered by Relient K for inclusion on their 2011 album, Is for Karaoke.
  • Recorded by CC & Lee on the 2009 album Gåva till dig.[24]
  • Covered by Jamaican Reggae group L.U.S.T. in 2009
  • Covered by dance/pop singer Jon Alkalay in 2014

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Chicago – The Collection". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 55. 
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Chuck (July 12, 1997). "For former Chicago crooner Cetera, making hits is a hard habit to break". Billboard. 109 (28). p. 85. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (October 25, 1997). "Chart Beat: Jackson Lassoes No. 1 With 'Rope'". Billboard. 109 (43). USA. p. 102. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  5. ^ Cetera, Peter. "unknown" (Interview). Interview with unknown. Youtube title: Peter Cetera Interview 2004 
  6. ^ Neveau, James (2017-02-06). "Baby Ditka Steals Spotlight in Super Bowl Ad". NBC Chicago. NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  7. ^ Duffy, Thom (May 27, 2016). "Drake, Skrillex and More Music Stars Reaping Rewards From International Synchs". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  8. ^ HUGAR, JOHN (2016-02-18). "On 'Deadpool' And The Secret Power Of The Sappy Love Ballad". UPROXX. Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  9. ^ Chicago | You're The Inspiration | Music Video | MTV, Viacom, retrieved 2017-02-06 
  10. ^ "Chicago Chart History The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  11. ^ "Chicago Chart History Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  12. ^ "RPM 100 Singles for Feb. 16, 1985". RPM. Canada. 1985-02-16. p. 6. 
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – You're the Inspiration". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "You're the Inspiration". Dutchcharts. 1985. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "You're the Inspiration". Charts. 1985. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "You're the Inspiration". Charts. 1985. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Chicago: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Canada. 1985-12-28. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Peter Cetera Chart History The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  21. ^ "Peter Cetera Chart History Adult Contemporary (p2)". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  22. ^ "You're the Inspiration". Dutchcharts. 1997. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "Production Notes: Other Cities". Billboard. 109 (40). USA. October 4, 1997. p. 103. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Gåva till dig" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 

External links[edit]