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"You're the Inspiration"
Single by Chicago
from the album Chicago 17
B-side "Once In a Lifetime"
Released November 1984
Format 7"
Genre Rock
Length 3:53
Label Full Moon/Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Peter Cetera, David Foster
Producer David Foster
Chicago singles chronology
Hard Habit to Break
You're the Inspiration
Along Comes a Woman

"You're the Inspiration" is a song written by Peter Cetera and David Foster for the group Chicago and recorded for their album Chicago 17 (1984), with Cetera singing lead vocals. The third single released from that album, it reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1985, and also climbed to the top position on the adult contemporary chart at the same time. It also ranked at #18 as one of Blender magazine's "50 Worst Songs Ever". [1]


Cetera stated in a 2004 interview that "Inspiration" started out as a song for Kenny Rogers. David Foster was working in the studio with Rogers and called Cetera to tell him that Kenny wanted Peter to write a song for him. Cetera said in the interview, "David Foster called me up and he said 'I'm in the studio with Kenny Rogers and he would like you to write a song for him.' I said that's great: as a matter of fact I'm leaving for Italy tonight at around nine o'clock, I'll be there about two weeks, and I'll call you when I come back. He said 'No, he needs it now.' So David was in the studio last minute and I told him, 'Come out here right now and we'll see what we can do.' Well in the midst of packing David drove out to where I was then living, and we basically in about three hours came up with a little chordal structure for 'Inspiration'; and I made a tape of this chord structure, took it on the plane to Italy, and of course lying in these beautiful boroque and marble, I was writing things about 'Michaelangelo, you should know, Michaelangelo. Then I came up with, oh, you're the inspiration! Anyway, I came back with the words and melody, and presented the song: and he basically didn't have the time or didn't want to do it...good for me!" He then changed some of the words and recorded it with Chicago for their Chicago 17 album.

Music video

The music video for this song was a simple blend of performance miming and scenario playing interspersed throughout. Various couplings are shown showing affection for one another. Cetera is shown strumming his bass (which is flipped upside down, perhaps to better fit the shot or possibly done by Cetera as a bit of a joke) while seated informally on a plush chair for most of the video's duration. Cetera is shown throughout the video wearing a t-shirt for the goth rock pioneers Bauhaus. The band's name is hidden but the logo is unmistakable. This is noteworthy because Bauhaus and Peter Cetera are so incongruous in the public's perception of the two. Also during the video, band member Walt Parazaider is just sitting around, reading a newspaper, looking very bored. Artist Matt Dillon makes a cameo in the music video.

Cover versions

"You're the Inspiration" was covered by UK singer Elkie Brooks on her 1989 Inspiration album.

A version by Julian Miranda appears on the Nintendo DS game Elite Beat Agents, which is used as a Christmas anthem for the Christmas-themed stage.



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