While The Ides of March were dangerous for Julius Caesar, they were nothing but perfect for songwriter Jim Peterik, who began a lengthy career in rock as the frontman of a band of the same name.
Formed in the suburbs of Chicago, The Ides of March issued a handful of singles with only modest regional success between 1966 and 1968. But their live act was beloved by audiences, and they opened for some of the biggest names in rock, from Jimi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin.
The band's biggest hit, "Vehicle," was inspired by Peterik's woes while trying to attract a girl he knew. "I was madly in love with this girl named Karen," the songwriter told The Wall Street Journal. "I had a souped-up 1964 Plymouth Valiant, and she was always asking for rides. I drove her to modeling school every week. I was hoping flames would ignite - but they didn't. I came home one day, dejected, and thought: all I am is her vehicle."
The Ides turned the heartbreak into a fiery come-on, powered by a dramatic horn riff, and "Vehicle" had a powerful motor. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970, kept from the top by The Guess Who's "American Woman." It was the band's only Top 40 hit, and by the end of 1973, the band went on an extended hiatus. Peterik went solo for a few years before co-founding Survivor, whose powerful tracks "Eye of the Tiger," "I Can't Hold Back," "The Search is Over" and "High on You" remain rock radio staples. Peterik also co-wrote two monster hits for Southern rockers 38 Special: "Hold on Loosely" and "Caught Up in You."
And even The Ides' story had a happy ending: in 1990, the group reunited and continue to record and tour. Peterik even ended up marrying the girl he wrote "Vehicle" about. Great God in heaven!