By Jim Fusco:
Hello all and welcome to another installment of the Laptop Sessions!!
Here’s a neat one because of the collaborative effort on the original. This song, Wishing You Were Here, written by the great Peter Cetera, is one of my favorite Chicago songs. I love many of their other songs as well, and you’ll be hearing them in the coming weeks!
But, this one has to be one of Cetera’s best. I mean, he got bandmate Terry Kath to sing lead on the verses with a real raspy voice, then the Beach Boys (well, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, and Dennis Wilson, anyway) come in with the rest of Chicago and sing those great harmonies on the “Wishing You Were Here” part. Plus, Cetera even sings a great lead on the middle 8! I’ve always been drawn to this Chicago song, even before I knew the Beach Boys were on it. I guess when you like a certain style of music, certain tones just strike a chord with you…no pun intended. 🙂
Over the years, I’ve also come to appreciate the subject matter of “Wishing You Were Here”. Lines like, “Same old show in a different town, on another time,” tell us about how life on the road in a band can be tough. Fans can only see the good things- the wealth, the fame, and the opportunity to sing and play music. What could be better than that? But often, I find myself thinking that I would very quickly miss my family and friends. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why I never just dropped everything to pursue music! It’s the subject of my 2009 album, “Halfway There”, available on my website at http://jimfusco.com. On that album, there are original songs that talk about my passion for music, but also my want to get married and settle down. It was quite the dueling conflict with me for a while. I think I summed it up pretty well on that album- I hope you think my songwriting gets the sentiment across. Anyway, when you’re in a very popular band making hit songs like Chicago was in the 70s, you realize that the fans only want to hear the songs they heard on the radio. Hey, there weren’t any free internet radio stations like WCJM Radio back in the day to play all of the obscure tracks. So, the fans wanted to hear all the hits…so as a band, you had to play the hits everywhere you went! It’s still that way now, but I just think Peter Cetera pointed out that fact of “popular band life” in “Wishing You Were Here”.
I’ve been playing this song since I learned to play a G minor chord, and thanks to my brother for buying me a Chicago music book! It’s definitely come in handy…
Anyway, this is definitely one of those “check it off the list” songs for me, because I’ve always wanted to pay homage to this tune. I hope you enjoy this Chicago cover song!