Wishing You Were Here

Album: Chicago VII (1974)
Charted: 11
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  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This is a breakup song in which the man is regretting his decision. It was written by Chicago frontman Peter Cetera, although most of the vocals are sung by the late Terry Kath. The song portended a shift in the band's musical style, as they began recording more ballads and relying less on their horn section. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine of The Beach Boys sang backup on this track.

    In 1975, Chicago and The Beach Boys toured together on what was billed the "Beachago" tour. On this tour, Chicago's manager, James William Guercio, played bass for The Beach Boys. The bands would join together to perform "Wishing You Were Here" - 17 musicians on the stage at once for that one.
  • This was the third Chicago song to hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, following "Beginnings" and "Call on Me."
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Comments: 15

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAgreed, not a breakup song. More like Paul Simon's "Homeward Bound," about a roaming musician wishing he didn't have to be away so much.
  • Stacie from San Diego I agree with the comments that this is not a breakup song. It does indeed have a haunting quality, especially with the waves. Many comments noted the idea that the singer is traveling, separated from his fantasy person. I don't think it is confined to that scenario though. It's a song about longing. For whatever reason, he cannot be with that person. It's all about the longing of someone not available, a feeling displayed here as so strong and lonely and yet romantic. I hope his longing is powerful enough to materialize the object of his affection....
  • Sabrina from Phoenix, ArizonaIt's interesting that songfacts calls this song a "breakup" song. I never considered it as such. Rather, I saw the song as being a song about some who is definitely in a current ongoing relationship. However, it might be a long distance relationship and/or a relationship where one of the partners has a job that keeps them traveling a lot such as a musician, a salesperson or someone in the military and is deployed a lot. Maybe it's because I was a military wife? lol Such LDR are very common nowaday compared to when the song came out back in '74. At any rate, I've loved this song since my teens. Used to play it on the guitar and I'd have the various neighborhood kids join in. Of course we didn't sound a good as the original lol Didn't know until about 10 years ago that the Beach Boys sang in this. I had a sense it was, but was nice to see it confirmed. Chicago and the Beach Boys are two of my favorite groups, so it's a very nice collaboration. Recently heard a cover of "Wishing You Were Here" done by a Chicago cover band out of Moscow, Russia called Leonid and Friends. It's quite good, too!
  • Bruce from San Jose, Calif.The haunting, melancholy tone of the song really hits you in the heart... it's the kind of song you'd listen to as you sit alone on a beach, just watching the waves and the seagulls go by...
  • Martin from Fresno, CaMy favorite of all the Chicago songs. And the Beach boys harmonies are excellent.It makes you realize how much Dennis Wilson contributed to the Beach Boys vocals although everyone else says otherwise.
  • Diana from Bronxville, NyDo not like this song, bad time in my life when it came out. Too many memories!
  • Ricky from Ohsweken, -Strange as this sounds, musically, this song sent a chill up my spine and to a small degree it still does.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhMarch 2010-@ Henry from RI, you're right, this isn't a breakup song; more like the thoughts of a working man who has sacrifices and choices to make to keep his career going. And he's really missing his woman this night. As others said, this tune definitely has a haunting quality to it. When you're continually traveling from town to town, you can feel removed from everyone else's "normal" life, as if you're in another realm, and this song seems to capture that feeling rather well.
  • Moogs from Wilmington, DeGreat tune from a great album - Chicago VII was the last double album from the original group. A very ambitious and experimental album yet you can see the movement towards pop-ballads approaching with songs like this. Kath played bass here as well as on Lamm's first solo album (done about the same time). This song also appeared live on Dick Clark's "Rocking New Years Eve" show from 1975 complete with Beach Boys and Chicago taking on original instrument roles from the album. You can catch that tape on YouTube these day.
  • Jim from Indio, CaI like the Moog synthesizer solo in the middle. Very haunting. Terry played bass on this song.
  • Tom from Springfield, VaSorry, Brian, This was well known pretty soon after the album was released. Of course, I am old so I bought the album (LP) when it was released, being a diehard Chicago fan!
  • Mike from Spokane, Wa., Waan almost haunting tone to this song.......and the beginning of this song with the sound of waves hitting the beach gently.....how appropriate w/ the 3 Beach Boys singing background....i wonder if it were their idea to introduce the beach theme?
  • Henry from Pawtucket, RiThis song is not really a break up tune. It was written by Cetera on the night before they left for another long tour. It just speaks to a long time on the road. It appears on Chicago VII.
  • J from Everett, MaPeter Cetera had wanted to sing the whole lead vocal on this song. However after recording the backing track, Peter realized that the key was to low for him to sing it. So he had Terry Kath sing it instead. The chorus was a bit higher so Peter was able to sing that part.
  • Brian from Medway, OhWhen this song was popular, I swore I had heard that The Beach Boys sang back-up. Over the years I had been unable to find that stated anywhere until this site. Thanks!!
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