Peter Cetera to Rock Hall: ‘Just Not Meant to Be’

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Chicago in the early '80s via the band's website. Cetera is third from left.

Chicago in the early ’80s via the band’s website. Cetera is third from left.

Update (2/22/16): Peter Cetera has chimed in again regarding his status. From his website:

“My final HoF decision!

Regretfully, I’ve decided NOT to participate in the 2016 HoF induction ceremonies. I appreciate the award and I want to thank all of you who voted and finally made it happen.
Many of you will be disappointed and that’s understandable. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed as well. There comes a time when you need to make a decision based on what’s best for you without worrying about the consequences and this it that time.

Every idea or suggestion I offered about how it could work musically was either rejected or changed by the shows producers. Together with the fact that while I sent those same emails to the group, the only reply I ever received back from them was a very snarky “Take a chill pill dude!” Whoa! Really?

At this point in my life, I really don’t care to reintroduce the same negativity, misplaced egos, and petty jealousies I experienced years ago.
I’m very happy right where I am now, touring and playing my music with a band I love. You should all come and see us if you have the chance and please check my site for performance updates.

Peacefully moving on, Peter”

In what’s become a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll soap opera, it now appears that the “Will He or Won’t He” decision of whether former Chicago lead singer Peter Cetera will join his longtime bandmates at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s Class of 2016 induction ceremony in April has come to a conclusion. Or has it?

In a new post on his website on Monday, February 8, Cetera writes:

I just sent this to the RnR hall of fame people. This is the the short high road nice version of what I really wanted to say. I’ll post that response at the appropriate time. Ciao,

Hello Alex and Joel!
Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t work for me. I know we all did our best to make it happen, but I guess it’s just not meant to be.
Personally, I’m frustrated and tired of dealing with this and it’s time to move on. I have a life with two beautiful daughters and a solo career and its time to get back and give them all the full attention they deserve.
Thanks for all your help and consideration! Have a great show and please send any individual award I receive to the contact you have for me.
All the best, Peter Cetera

“Joel” refers to Joel Peresman, President/CEO of the Rock Hall’s Foundation, which oversees the entire induction process.

Best Classic Bands has been following this story since December 28, 2015 when Chicago’s Robert Lamm had to initially retract a statement that he had made that indicated Cetera would, indeed, perform. Cetera first teased his potential involvement on January 4 and we’ve been covering the story ever since. On January 5 he formally offered to perform but with conditions and it apparently was never accepted by his former bandmates. Hence, today’s announcement.

Prior to leaving the band in 1985, Cetera sang lead on many of the classic rock band’s hit singles like “25 or 6 to 4,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” “Baby, What a Big Surprise” and “If You Leave Me Now.”

(If you’re a new Best Classic Bands reader, we’d be grateful if you would Like our Facebook page and/or bookmark our Home page.)

For now, here’s Chicago during what some have called their jazzy, live peak. This performance at Tanglewood in 1970 features a blistering guitar solo by the late Terry Kath and Cetera on lead vocals.

Here is what Cetera had proposed on January 5:

Hello Everyone! I’ve just sent this mail to everyone involved. Hopefully it will answer all the questions concerning my participation in the Hall of Fame induction..Thanks

Hello Robert [Lamm], Danny [Seraphine], Lee [Loughnane], Walter [Parazaider], and James [Pankow]. I’m sending this to you and Danny since yours are the only email addresses I have. Please forward this to everyone.

First off, congratulations all around on this long overdue honor. While our fans believe we should have been inducted years ago, they find it harder to believe that we haven’t even been nominated in all that time. Oh well, we are now!

All the credit goes to those who voted for us in overwhelming numbers during the recent poll. They alone deserve our thanks for finally making this happen.

I know we all look forward to speaking that evening and I’m sure we all wish that Terry was there to join us. That can’t happen unfortunately, but I have one thing that can.

As a finale, we can walk onstage together one last time as a group, I’ll strap on the bass, and we can do 25or6to4 in the key of E. I believe it would make for one fantastic Hall of Fame moment and satisfy those who have always wanted some sort of reunion.

Along with your current members, I would also like us to invite past members Laudir de Oliveira, Donnie Dacus, Kenny Cetera, Chris Pinnick, and Bill Champlin to join us up there as well on the song. They’ve all contributed to the legacy of the group and I think this would be a fitting way to honor them.

In the end, this should go a long way towards healing old wounds and showing solidarity on that night. At least I hope so!

See you all in Brooklyn, Peter

Best Classic Bands Staff

5 Comments so far

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  1. karaandhim
    #1 karaandhim 21 May, 2016, 17:58

    That was the email of a gentleman who put his ego and past mistreatment aside for the band and the fans. The reality is, Peter looks the best and has the best voice of anyone in Chicago. That’s why we were going. Where did the jealousy come from? Was it Lamm (wouldn’t be top banana), horns, or management (to close to original sound)? All of the above? Danny got dirty looks for speaking. Think about who gained the most then you’ll know who really pushed Peter out, in my opinion.

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  2. chicagowasgoodbutnotTHATgood
    #2 chicagowasgoodbutnotTHATgood 26 January, 2018, 14:02

    I was just glancing at the Top Studio Double Albums chart…WHO THE HELL ARE YOUR
    BOTH Chicago doubles at the top and no Songs in the Key of Life, and the White Album at # 9? No Endless Summer?

    Reply this comment
    #3 CHICAGOENDEDATCHICAGO17 2 January, 2019, 16:22

    Peter took the high road as he stated and honestly I cannot blame him for not showing up. Why subject himself to the possible embarrassment or worse. CMI has stated that they can transpose any piece of music to any key. So, why couldn’t these music theory and composition college grads lower the song he suggested to the key he suggested? Regardless if it was for a “one time” thing, you just do it and get the man there on the stage for the sake of the fans. Now the bad blood has started all over again and neither are speaking. I’m glad Danny had his rant and thanked all of the past producers, road managers and band members, he was the only one that did! That itself shows his gratitude. These guys are all in their 70’s now. Thankfully the fans still have the music that the original 7 made and will forever enjoy but it’s time to let bygones be bygones before it’s too late.

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  4. Carl
    #4 Carl 25 October, 2021, 12:32

    The remaining original members of CHICAGO are just grumpy old men now – and bitter that Peter Cetera is still so important to the history, sound and image of the band, even though he’s been gone for over 3 decades.

    I saw their official Documentary – and I can understand why Cetera doesn’t like them. They totally minimized his contributions or erased it where they could.

    So many ex-members of CHICAGO has nothing good to say about the remaining band-members – Peter Cetera, Bill Champlin, Donny Dacus, Jeff Pinnick, Jason Scheff, etc.

    The current CHICAGO line-up is now nothing more than ‘tribute band’ to it’s past.

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  5. Artman
    #5 Artman 31 January, 2022, 11:47

    Chicago is and has been for years nothing more than a glorified karaoke band. The innovative rock band it once was died with Terry Kath.
    Like many bands who hit it big, originality was sacrificed for “safe” hits, top 40s schtick.
    The lineup has been a revolving door of use, abuse, then toss to the side of the road anyone who questions the “fab four” (remaining original members). Time to put the shit show to bed.

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