Even after a nearly 50-year career as a member of Chicago and a solo performer, Peter Cetera isn't a completely known quantity.
“I'm still surprised that a lot of people know my voice, but don't know my face. Or have seen me, but didn't know what songs I wrote and sang,” says Cetera, who appears 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the Arena at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. “This is the night we put it all together.”
Cetera applied his distinctive tenor to major hits for Chicago, such as the Grammy-winning “If You Leave Me Now,” “Stay the Night,” “Hard to Say I'm Sorry,” “Hard Habit to Break” and “You're My Inspiration.”
As a solo artist, he enjoyed a string of hits through the early ‘90s, including the Academy Award-nominated “The Glory of Love” from “The Karate Kid II,” “One Good Woman” and “Restless Heart.” He's also known for duets such as “Next Time I Fall” with Amy Grant, “After All” with Cher and “Feels Like Heaven” with Chaka Khan.
Cetera, who left Chicago in 1986, attributes the audience confusion to the band having three singers in its rotation.
“We were an anonymous, individual group — management wanted to keep it that way,” he says. “There was never a face of Chicago. In the early days, there were three voices. Then it tended to be me toward the middle and end of my tenure — I sang and wrote most of the hits.
“People are a bit confused, as to where Chicago stopped and where my solo career started. I do all the ones I've written and sang for both.”
Although his former band Chicago is still out there touring and recording, Cetera doesn't foresee their paths crossing on stage anytime soon.
Cetera joined Chicago in late 1967 as a bass player and singer, and by the early ’80s had become the main songwriter and vocalist for the group's radio-friendly hits, as it shifted from its experimental jazz-based rock origins to a more mainstream pop sound.
He exited in the mid ’80s to focus on his solo career, and says he's not interested in doing a reunion.
“It's like a dissolved marriage — there's reasons why people get divorced and reasons why bands break up,” Cetera says. “Most of the time, it's not a great reason. There's something you don't see eye to eye on, and it's not something where you want to go back.
“Right now, I'm not ready to sell my soul and make some extra bucks to do that again. I like doing my own thing.”
The A.C. audience will no doubt find their musical memories jogged by Cetera's renditions of his catalog, since he sticks closely to the album versions.
“I change very little — I try to keep it as much to the original as possible,” Cetera says. “I have a thing about people who change songs to unrecognizable forms. I keep them as close as possible to what I originally wrote. Along the way, you tend to make subtle changes here and there.”
While ballads have proven a mainstay for Cetera, he calls it a “misconception” that his albums are “full of slow songs.”
“If you listen on my solo stuff, there's up-tempo things and mid-tempo things,” Cetera says. “It just happens that people wanted ballads to be the singles, and they were the big hits.
“What I bring to any song, but to ballads in particular is I think I sing from the heart. That's what it takes, if you write a song.
“You sing from the heart, you sing from the soul. That's what comes forth in the music. I think people can really tell that.”