Hard to Say I’m Sorry is a No. 1 song by the American rock band Chicago. Formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, the band initially called themselves the Chicago Transit Authority before shortening the name in 1969. The self-described “rock and roll band with horns” blended elements of classical music, jazz, R&B and pop music. Chicago was one of the first rock bands of the ’60s and ’70s to take on a softer, more keyboard-driven sound in the ’80s, downplaying their famous horn section.
Hard to Say I’m Sorry was written by Peter Cetera (Chicago’s bassist, who also sang lead vocals) and the group’s producer David Foster (who also played piano on the track). It was released in May 1982, as the lead single for the album Chicago 16. The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in September of that year, where it remained for two weeks . It was the group’s second No. 1 single (their first was If You Leave Me Now) and their first top 50 hit since Tell No Lover in 1978. It spent twelve weeks in the top 5 of the Billboard chart.
The song is about a person trying desperately to hold on to a relationship that has fizzled out, promising to make up for his/her indiscretions and playing the “we’ve been through so much” card. It is interesting to note that David Foster had worked on a similarly themed song for Earth, Wind & Fire a few years earlier called After the Love has Gone.
Hard to Say I’m Sorry was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1982. Peter Cetera won an ASCAP Pop Music Award for the song in the category, Most Performed Songs.
Two arrangements of Hard to Say I’m Sorry are available for immediate download: one for SATB choir and one for SSA voicing, both with piano accompaniment.