Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Ides Of March

Before The Ides Of March EXPLODED on the national scene with their chart-topping rock classic "Vehicle", they placed a couple of "garage band" tunes on our local Chicagoland charts.

First ... and certainly one of their BEST ... was 1966's "You Wouldn't Listen", a #7 smash here in Chi-Town that JUST missed cracking The National Top 40 when it peaked at #42 in Billboard.

This was followed by "Roller Coaster", a #19 local hit that peaked at #92 in Billboard.

I've also included one of MY personal favorite Ides songs from this era, "My Foolish Pride". Unfortunately, this one never charted at all ... and that's a shame. Not only does it have a very distinctive sound to it, but it almost serves as a precursor to the "horn" sound that was to come.

These guys went to the same High School that I did (but were a few years ahead of me and, as such, had already graduated by the time I hit my junior and senior years.) They practiced, however, right down the street from that High School and several of us used to go hang outside the house and listen to them rehearse in their basement.

The group started out as The Shondells (named after Troy Shondell, believe it or not, who had a #1 Hit here in Chicago with his One Hit Wonder, "This Time".) Ides guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and chef, cook and bottle washer Jim Peterik said he just fell in love with the name and thought it would make a GREAT moniker for his high school band. In 1966, however, ANOTHER group calling themselves The Shondells (as in "Tommy James and the ...") scored a #1 million selling hit single with "Hanky Panky" so our Berwyn buddies had to come up with a new name. Studying Julius Caesar in High School, they hit upon "The Ides Of March" ... and it stuck. (In fact, over the years, The Ides have come back to Morton West High School on a number of occasions to perform ON The Ides Of March!)

By the late '60's and early '70's, horn bands were big with groups like Blood, Sweat And Tears and Chicago's own Chase and The Chicago Transit Authority tearing up the charts. Peterik turned the story of what we were all taught as children ... what to do if a stranger offers you candy to get into the backseat of his car ... designed by parents to both protect us AND scare the bejeezus out of us ... into a rock and roll classic. "Vehicle" shot up the charts, eventually peaking at #2 in Billboard and going all the way to #1 here on our local radio charts. It has since gone on to become an absolute rock classic.

Several months later, an OUTSTANDING follow-up hit peaked at #2 here in Chi-Town but was virtually ignored by radio everywhere else. As such, the beautiful "L.A. Goodbye" (written about the group's return to Chicago after performing out on the west coast) only went to #72 on the national charts. It's a gem that ABSOLUTELY deserves to be heard.

The Ides Of March have gotten back together a number of times over the past fifteen years or so ... and, incredibly, with all of the original members intact. Peterik, meanwhile, has had ALL kinds of solo success, both with Survivor (Eye of the Tiger) as well as writing songs for other artists (like .38 Special). He also has become a Chicagoland fixture with his World Stage performances.

Without question, The Ides Of March STILL put on one of the most dynamic shows you're going to see around town ... and they feature music from ALL of the different phases of Peterik's career.

For a complete touring schedule, be sure to check out The Ides Of March's website here: Click here: The Ides Of March Flash Intro