Song of the Day #4,666: ‘If You Leave Me Now’ – Chicago

It took 21 years for Chicago to make the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. First eligible in 1995, the Windy City rock band went un-nominated until 2016, when they finally made it in.

Formed in 1967, the band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, with scores of gold, platinum and multi-platinum records to their credit. At one point in the mid-70s, Chicago had seven albums on the Billboard 200 at the same time. Whatever you think of their music, these guys were huge.

Rumor has it a personal vendetta by Rolling Stone founder and Rock Hall committee member Jann Werner kept Chicago out of the running for inclusion in the Hall.

Chicago’s innovative jazz rock sound in the 70s gave way to more syrupy easy listening pop in the 80s, damaging their reputation and offering another possible reason for the delay in their admission.

The band didn’t draw much attention after 1990, but they have continued recording. They dropped their 37th album in 2019, a holiday release titled Chicago XXXVII: Chicago Christmas (the band includes Roman numerals in most of their album titles as if they were sequels in a never-ending movie franchise).

I don’t know much of Chicago’s output beyond the biggest hits, but I will admit a soft spot for their first #1, the 1976 yacht rock classic ‘If You Leave Me Now.’ This is top-grade cheese and I love it.

[Verse 1]
If you leave me now
You’ll take away the biggest part of me
Ooh no, baby please don’t go

[Verse 2]
And if you leave me now
You’ll take away the very heart of me
Ooh no baby please don’t go
Ooh girl, I just want you to stay

[Chorus]
A love like ours is love that’s hard to find
How could we let it slip away
We’ve come too far to leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way
When tomorrow comes and we’ll both regret
The things we said today

[Chorus]
A love like ours is love that’s hard to find
How could we let it slip away
We’ve come too far to leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way
When tomorrow comes and we’ll both regret
The things we said today

[Verse 1]
If you leave me now
You’ll take away the biggest part of me
Ooh no, baby please don’t go

[Outro]
Ooh girl, I just got to have you by my side
Ooh no, baby please don’t go
Ooh mama, I just got to have your lovin’

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,666: ‘If You Leave Me Now’ – Chicago

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Chicago’s output in the 70’s was wonderful and merits their inclusion in the Rock Hall. The Peter Cetera led schmaltz of the 80’s not so much.

    One song that best exemplifies the conflicting style of the band was 1982’s big hit “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” When that song began climbing the charts, radio stations would play the whole song, which transitioned from the sappy main part to this fantastic jazzy ending called “Get Away.” Then, stations largely decided to fade the song right before the best part, something that just infuriated my 15 year old music nerd self!

    Coincidentally, Amy and i were eating dinner a few weeks ago at one of our favorite go-to places, Shenanigan’s (arguably the best chicken wings in Florida – recognized as such by MSN Lifestyle magazine😁), when their jukebox (which features almost exclusively 80’s music) started playing “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” I waited to see if the song would be truncated as usual when, much to my pleasant surprise, it played through to the end! I was so disproportionately excited by this that I regaled Amy with my long suffering over the tragic radio history of this song. Adding fuel to my fire, Amy confessed that she had NEVER heard the ending! A true travesty in my world!

    Anyway, for those of you who, like Amy, have never heard the whole song, I provide it here for your listening pleasure. I would put Chicago in the Rock Hall for this ending alone!

    • Clay says:

      Wow.. I had never heard the ending part either. It’s certainly quite a departure from the rest of the song ( a good one).

      Many of the comments on that YouTube video share the same frustration you had at 15. You have found your people!

    • Clay says:

      More important, though… I need to try these chicken wings at Shenanigans.

  2. Peg says:

    Wow that’s high praise for an ending of a song!

  3. Amy says:

    I just remember being fascinated by this cover of our parents’ reel to reel version. I loved how the wrapper seemed to rise off the cover in some 3Dish fashion. The band also piqued my curiosity about the city. As for their music… I,too, have a soft spot for today’s song but have to admit I thought Dana’s beloved ending would never end and could completely appreciate why DJ’s cut it after the sappy part ended. 😜

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