It was 1985 and Peter Cetera had made up his mind that he would leave his super group Chicago after all these years of huge successes and an influential musical legacy. It was not an easy decision to make. Peter Cetera had been the co-lead vocalist and bassist of Chicago right from its inception in 1967 and been an integral part of its first 17 albums that had been huge commercial hits and very influential. He felt the time had come to make the music he wanted to make and he didn’t want to be unfair to his group. He had released his first solo album titled Peter Cetera way back in 1981 but the record company had not promoted it at all fearing that he would leave Chicago to pursue a solo career and they would lose him. Now Peter Cetera felt it was the right time to strike out on his own and he informed his group of his decision to leave the band.
In 1986 he released his second solo album titled Solitude/Solitaire and the album was being watched with anticipation. Peter Cetera was one of the greatest pop-rock vocalists of all time and a brilliant songwriter so it was obvious that his solo album would have plenty of substance. Solitude/Solitaire was released in June 1986 and the music lovers, fans, critics, music industry watchers, record label executives, and even his ex-band Chicago watched with bated breath. They needn’t have worried. Peter Cetera had delivered a brilliant, high-quality pop album that bristled with energetic love songs, heartfelt ballads, loving paeans to emotions, and exquisite sophisticated music. The album was a cut above everything in the market and Peter Cetera proved once again that when it came to matters of the heart he was still the master of the game.
Simply a Basket of Melodious Fantastic Songs!
Everyone talks about the two massive blockbuster songs on the album – “Glory of Love” and “The Next Time I Fall” – but the album is filled with brilliant songs. There are 9 songs on the album and Cetera co-wrote all of them except “The Next Time I Fall” and they are all standards in meaning, melody, sweetness, and joy. “Big Mistake” is a song about a ruthless heartbreaker who sweeps away the ladies off their feet like its child play. He is a smooth-talking Lothario who has affairs continuously like it were a game for him. Cetera tries to warn the ladies that falling in love with seemingly Mr. Right is a Big Mistake but he knows that the women will still fall all over him and get hurt. Nostalgia and honesty shine big on the wistful song “They Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To” as Cetera says that the girls and women of today are attractive but something is missing. The women of before had some magic that made them special and once you met them you wouldn’t ever forget them. It sounds like yearning for the past but many people agree that while money was being made in the 1980s and it was termed the decade of greed life was not as good and wholesome as before. Cetera says that women make the difference and in the 80s something changed and it was difficult to find healthy women who inspired and motivated you as before.
“Queen of the Masquerade Ball” and “Daddy’s Girl” are two songs where Cetera teases the girl with affection and wit. He tells her that she is special and the focus of all attention but at the same time there is an innocence about her that is so endearing. Especially on “Daddy’s Girl” Cetera smiles and tells the girl that no matter how much she tries she will always depend on her father to make her big decisions and the boys will just have to accept it. “Wake up to Love” is a hopeful song where Cetera wants to get up in the morning and be secure that there is somebody in his life who cares for him and vice versa. Cetera has always been wise about the intricacies of relationships and he knows that having somebody in your life is the most important thing in life. The title song “Solitude/Solitaire” is a breezy number that tells how a man is lonely and sometimes he has to simply learn how to live with it.
There is Just Nothing More Powerful Than Love!
“Only Love Knows Why” is the best ballad on the album. It is the realization of a man who is suffering the aftermath of a failed relationship and understands that love is the most powerful force on earth. It’s only when you have been in love that you know why you have the feelings you have had and what they mean. It’s the understanding of how good life was when the girl he loved was a happy and inseparable part of his life and now he wants her to know that he appreciates her and everything that she has done for him. Of course, people can’t stop listening to the two mega-hits on the album. “Glory of Love” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and as part of the soundtrack of the hit film, The Karate Kid Part II helped make the movie iconic for both young and older audiences. “Glory of Love” ended up being one of the most popular, successful, inspiring, and emulated love songs of all time with its strength and robustness. The duet with gospel-to-pop crossover singer Amy Grant, “The Next Time I Fall” was another Billboard no. 1 and one of the best romantic songs of all time. For years it was played at every party where the mood turned soft and people wanted to believe in love.
The Epitome of Pop-Rock Brilliance!
Later Peter Cetera released several solo albums and became one of the most successful pop-rock artists of the 1980s and 1990s. Many of his songs are classics and his duets with accomplished female singers are legendary. Solitude/Solitaire was the album that set the ball rolling and showed what a fine artist Peter Cetera was even on his own. Over the years musical trends have come and gone but Solitude/Solitaire stands as one of the best albums that has ever been released in the modern era. It went multi-platinum in the USA and over the years has achieved popularity in other countries. While Peter Cetera will always be an integral part of the band Chicago given the sheer number of classics he gave them his solo career will also be remembered and respected. Solitude/Solitaire is one of the biggest accomplishments in Peter Cetera’s long and illustrious career.