Its a hard habit to break: Chicago 17 turns 40


Forty years ago — May 14, 1984 — the band Chicago released what would become the bestselling album of their career, Chicago 17. With help from both MTV and producer David Foster, it produced a string of memorable hits and won three Grammy Awards.

Hard Habit to Break,” “Stay the Night,” “You’re the Inspiration” and “Along Comes a Woman” were all top-20 smashes, and MTV’s constant rotation of the videos for “Habit,” “Inspiration” and “Stay the Night” propelled the album to sales of more than 6 million copies.

Foster was first credited with reviving Chicago’s career in 1982, when he produced Chicago 16. He brought in outside songwriters and musicians — a new idea for the veteran group — and leaned into the more soft-rock end of their sound. That approach worked: Chicago 16 became their first top-10 release since 1977 and spun off two major hits, the #1 smash “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and “Love Me Tomorrow,” both of which Foster co-wrote.

So when it came time for Chicago 17, Foster returned and repeated the formula: Chicago 17 reached #4. While Chicago would subsequently switch producers, Foster remains proud of what he did for the band’s career.

“I was a fan of Chicago’s before I produced them,” he told ABC Audio in 2023. “The first six albums … I went crazy when I heard this band. And then, like every group, singer, artist in the world, they had those down periods and they had really, really lost lost their way.”

“And what I brought to them was, I reminded them of their greatness,” he added. “That’s the gift that I think I gave them.” 


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