The Fight That Changed Peter Cetera's Career

Peter Cetera in concert
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David Redfern/Redferns

On May 20, 1969, the Chicago Cubs scored a decisive victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in their own stadium, shutting them out 7-0. Unfortunately, there was another famous Chicagoan who was clobbered by some Californians at the game that day - and it actually changed the course of his career.

That Windy City native: Chicago singer/bassist Peter Cetera.

READ MORE: April 1969: Chicago Debuts as "Chicago Transit Authority"

Cetera and his bandmates weren't exactly known quantities at the time - they were still known as Chicago Transit Authority, and had only released an album under that name a month before - but during a break in their touring schedule, Peter enjoyed a Cubs game - or at least, attempted to, before a quartet of Dodger fans accosted him.

"Four marines didn't like a long-haired rock 'n' roller in a baseball park," he later recounted. "And of course I was a Cub fan, and I was in Dodger Stadium, and that didn't do so well. I got in a fight and got a broken jaw in three places, and I was in intensive care for a couple of days."

While he recovered, he admitted it did literally impact his craft. "The only funny thing I can think about the whole incident is that, with my jaw wired together, I actually went on the road," he explained. "And I was actually singing through my clenched jaw, which, to this day, is still the way I sing."

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Luckily, it didn't pose a problem for him or his fans: the next year, Chicago II spun off the single "25 or 6 to 4," which Cetera sang lead on; it became their second Top 10 hit of 1970 and set them up for a dazzling run of success that continued even after Peter exited the group in 1985.

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