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"If You Leave Me Now" is the title of a popular hit ballad by the American rock group Chicago, from their album Chicago X. It was written and sung by bass guitar player Peter Cetera and released as a single on July 31, 1976. It is also the title of a compilation album released by Columbia Records (Columbia 38590) in 1983.

"If You Leave Me Now"
Chicago-if you leave me now.jpg
Single by Chicago
from the album Chicago X
B-side "Together Again"
Released July 31, 1976 (1976-07-31)[1]
Format 7"
Recorded March – April 1976[1]
Genre Soft rock[2][3]
Length 3:55
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Peter Cetera
Producer(s) James William Guercio
Chicago singles chronology
"Another Rainy Day in New York City"
"If You Leave Me Now"
"You Are On My Mind"
"Another Rainy Day in New York City"
"If You Leave Me Now"
"You Are On My Mind"

The single topped the US charts on October 23, 1976, and stayed there for two weeks, making it the first number one hit for the group as well as hitting number one on the Easy Listening charts.[4] It also reached number one in the UK on November 13, 1976, maintaining the position for three weeks.[5]

"If You Leave Me Now" was also Chicago's biggest hit internationally, topping the charts in other countries such as Australia. It won Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) (strings) for arranger Jimmie Haskell and producer James William Guercio and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. It also received a nomination for Record of the Year. In addition, by August 1978 it had sold 1.4 million copies in the United States alone.[6] It has been certified gold and platinum by the RIAA.[7]

The song has been featured in several television series and movies includingThree Kings, Shaun of the Dead, A Lot Like Love, Sex and the City, Happy Feet, South Park, and the video game Grand Theft Auto V.

In 2010 Chicago teamed with the American Cancer Society and offered the opportunity to bid on the chance to sing their hit, "If You Leave Me Now" with them on stage live at their concerts, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer.[8] The fund raising effort has continued in succeeding years.[9][10][11]



According to information on the sheet music for the song at MusicNotes, If You Leave Me Now is written in the key of B major, and Cetera's vocal range varies between F sharp 4 (F♯4) and D sharp 6 (D♯6).[12]


Chart performanceEdit


Preceded by
"Disco Duck (Part one)" by Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
October 23, 1976 - October 30, 1976 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Rock'n Me" by Steve Miller Band
Preceded by
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Olivia Newton-John
Billboard Adult Contemporary chart number-one single
September 25, 1976 (one week)
Succeeded by
"I Can't Hear You No More" by Helen Reddy
Preceded by
"Mississippi" by Pussycat
UK Singles Chart number-one single
November 13, 1976 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Under the Moon of Love" by Showaddywaddy


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[31] Gold 5,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versionsEdit

There have been over 100 versions of "If You Leave Me Now" recorded by artists throughout the world, among them:

Live cover performancesEdit


  • A sample of the song is used by British electronica duo Lemon Jelly on the "Nice Weather For Ducks" B-side "Soft" (2003).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The Very Best Of: Only the Beginning (Media notes). Chicago. Rhino. 2002. pp. 10, 13. R2 76170. 
  2. ^ Larry Starr; Christopher Alan Waterman; Jay Hodgson (2009). Rock: A Canadian Perspective. Oxford University Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-19-542761-5. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "VH1’s 40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs". Stereogum. SpinMedia. May 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 55. 
  5. ^ a b "1976 The Number One Singles | Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Green, Paul (August 26, 1978). "Platinum Singles Top '76–'77 Years". Billboard. 90 (34): 114. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA Chicago If You Leave Me Now". RIAA. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  8. ^ "Grammy-Winning Band Chicago and the American Cancer Society Create Extraordinary Fan Experience to Fight Breast Cancer" (Press release). American Cancer Society. March 16, 2010. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  9. ^ Cain, TIM (Oct 6, 2011). "Tim Cain column: Chicago keeps sniping after split". Decatur, Illinois U.S.A. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  10. ^ Coker, Eric (2012-08-24). "Chicago continues to make audiences smile - Inside Binghamton University". Binghamton University. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  11. ^ Byrne, Terry (2013-08-20). "Chicago at Wolf Trap by Terry Byrne". DCMetroTheaterArts. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  12. ^ Cetera, Peter. "Chicago "If You Leave Me Now" Sheet Music in B Major (transposable) - Download & Print". MusicNotes. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  13. ^ David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970-1992" Archived 2016-03-05 at
  14. ^ "Chicago – If You Leave Me Now –". (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  15. ^ " – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Top Singles". RPM. 26 (2): 23. October 9, 1976. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  17. ^ " – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Single – Chicago, If You Leave Me Now". (in German). Media Control. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – If You Leave Me Now". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  20. ^ "If You Leave Me Now". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  21. ^ " – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ " – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  23. ^ " – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Chicago – If You Leave Me Now –". (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  25. ^ Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  27. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1976 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1963-12-08. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  28. ^ "Top 100 1976 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  29. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  30. ^ Swiss Year-End Charts, 1977
  31. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". Music Canada. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 10, 2013.  Enter If You Leave Me Now in the search field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American single certifications – Chicago – If You Leave Me Now". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 10, 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External linksEdit