May 312009

Written by Steve Kipner & John Parker

Chicago’s “Hard Habit To Break” is one of David Foster’s most successful productions. Released in 1984 as the second single from the band’s multi-platinum “Chicago 17,” this lush, dramatic power ballad was an out of the box smash hit reaching #3 on both Billboard’s Hot 100 and on the Adult Contemporary chart.

“Hard Habit To Break” was co-written by top songwriter and old Foster collaborator Steve Kipner with John Parker. Their musical creation, through Foster’s impeccable arrangement and Chicago’s familiar vocal harmonies, became the perfect follow-up to “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.” We’re obviously talking about a love song, but rarely a hit ballad has been this sophisticated in its arrangement and overall delivery. The vocals by Peter Cetera and Bill Champlin are exceptional and their interplay is one of the best we’ve heard in pop music. Foster’s work is outstanding; from the tender first verses to the emotional horns break and over the top climax. Another key element is Jeremy Lubbock’s fantastic orchestral arrangement that rises to the spotlight in the song’s coda.

Foster often declared that “Hard Habit To Break” is his favorite production ever and we gotta agree because all the elements are in place; a great composition played wonderfully, sung by the perfect singers, and directed by a music maker at the top of his artistic game. “Hard Habit To Break” was also nominated for several Grammys including Record Of The Year. It won Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals for Foster and Lubbock.

Let’s not overlook the single’s b-side, “Remember The Feeling.” It’s another beautiful ballad co-written by Cetera and Champlin that could have easily been another hit for the band, but was probably overshadowed by “You’re The Inspiration.”


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Lead Vocals: Peter Cetera & Bill Champlin
Keyboards: David Foster
Guitars: Chris Pinnick & Michael Landau
Drums: Danny Seraphine
Trumpet: Lee Loughnane
Trombone: James Pankow
Saxophone: Walter Parazaider
Backing Vocals: Peter Cetera, Bill Champlin & Robert Lamm

Strings Arrangement by Jeremy Lubbock
Produced & Arranged by David Foster


I guess I thought you’d be here forever
Another illusion I chose to create
You don’t know what ya got until it’s gone
And I found out just a little too late

I was acting as if you were lucky to have me
Doin’ you a favor I hardly knew you were there
But then you were gone and it was all wrong
Had no idea how much I cared

Now being without you
Takes a lot of getting used to
Should learn to live with it
But I don’t want to
Living without you
Is all a big mistake
Instead of getting easier
It’s the hardest thing to take
I’m addicted to ya babe
You’re a hard habit to break

You found someone else you had every reason
You know I can’t blame you for runnin’ to him
Two people together but living alone
I was spreading my love too thin

After all of these years
I’m still tryin’ to shake it
Doin’ much better they say that it just takes time
But deep in the night it’s an endless flight
I can’t get ya out of my mind


2nd Chorus:
Being without you
Takes a lot of getting used to
Should learn to live with it
I don’t want to
Being without you
Is all a big mistake
Instead of getting any easier
It’s the hardest thing to take
I’m addicted to you
You’re a hard habit to break