|The Ides of March|
The Ides of March in December 2014 in St. Charles, IL. Photo by Paul Braun
|Origin||Berwyn, Illinois, United States|
|Labels||Parrot, Warner Bros., RCA|
The Ides of March are an American rock band that had a major US and minor UK hit with the song "Vehicle" in 1970. After going on hiatus in 1973, the band returned with their original line-up in 1990 and has been active since then.
The Ides of March began in Berwyn, Illinois (a near western suburb of Chicago) on October 16, 1964, as a four-piece band called "The Shon-Dels." Their first record, "Like It Or Lump It," was released on their own "Epitome" record label in 1965.
In 1966, after changing their name to The Ides of March (a name suggested by bassist Bob Bergland after reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in high school), the band released their first single on Parrot Records, "You Wouldn't Listen." The song reached #7 on WLS Chicago in spring 1966 and #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in summer 1966. This record and its follow-ups (all pre-"Vehicle") have been re-released on the Sundazed Records CD Ideology. By the end of the 1960s, the band added a brass section, although Bergland often doubled up on tenor saxophone.
(** these are the only two tracks they recorded in stereo during the Parrot years)
Like Columbia's The Cryan Shames, they had local success in the Chicago area without much label support. Unlike the Cryan Shames, who issued 3 albums on Columbia, Parrot never scheduled an album for the Ides of March.
Having secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records, in 1970 the band released the track "Vehicle," which allegedly became the fastest selling single in Warner's history. Fourteen seconds of the completed "Vehicle" master tape (primarily the guitar solo) was accidentally erased in the recording studio. The missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take.
The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the corresponding Cash Box listings. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc in November 1972. The following album, Vehicle, reached #55 nationally.
The band toured extensively throughout 1970 in support of many top acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin. The Ides of March were also among the participants in the "Festival Express" train tour documented in a 2003 film, although they were not featured in the film.
In 1971, the band released their second album Common Bond. The featured single was "L.A. Goodbye". The song was at #1 on regional charts for five weeks, #2 on WCFL Chicago, #5 on WLS Chicago, but only #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1972, the band moved to RCA Records and released World Woven. At this point, the band departed from the "brass" sound (though one song featured a single trumpet) and the album produced no hit singles. In 1973, the Midnight Oil album was released. The band played its final show of their "first era" at Morton West High School in Berwyn that November.
Between 1973 and 1990, The Ides of March went on an extended hiatus, during which Jim Peterik co-founded the band Survivor and co-wrote all of their platinum hits including "Eye of the Tiger," "The Search Is Over," "High on You" and "I Can't Hold Back".
He also began a career of writing collaborations which resulted in many platinum hits for other artists, most notably "Hold on Loosely," "Rockin' Into The Night," "Fantasy Girl" and "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys" for .38 Special and "Heavy Metal" for Sammy Hagar.
In 1990, The Ides' home town of Berwyn offered to have the re-united group headline their "Summerfaire." The concert was attended by over 20,000 and the Ides returned to live performances. The following year they released their first new music since 1973, a four-song cassette EP entitled "Beware - The Ides of March". Trumpeter and backing vocalist Chuck Soumar is credited with being primarily responsible for reuniting the band.
In 1992, the album Ideology was released with re-recordings of "Vehicle", and "You Wouldn't Listen", plus new material. After another five-year gap, 1997 saw the EP "Age Before Beauty" being released. By 1998 the band wrote and released "Finally Next Year" to commemorate the Chicago Cubs' season. The song was included on a CD entitled The Cubs' Greatest Hits which was sold at all Major League ballparks. The song was used on many Cubs-themed radio and television programs.
By 2001, The Ides had expanded their schedule, and returned to national touring. The band recorded a two-hour live performance for XM Satellite radio in Washington, D.C.. Also, "Vehicle" was used for an extensive national advertising campaign by General Motors.
A double live album, Beware: The Ides of March Live, captured their concert at the McAninch Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Rhino was issued in 2002. Handmade Records released Friendly Strangers, a double CD limited run set of the original Warner Bros. recordings.
In 2004, the Ides of March celebrated 40 years since their original formation, together with a series of multi-media shows emceed by Dick Biondi. The sold-out show at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois can be seen on the DVD, A Vehicle Through Time.
2005 saw "Vehicle" get further promotion when American Idol runner-up Bo Bice performed the song three times on the show. That same year, the Ides released their compilation CD, Ide Essentials. It included past hits ("Vehicle," and "You Wouldn't Listen") and versions of Survivor songs including "Eye of the Tiger", "High on You" and "Rebel Girl", as well as new material. It featured the new single "Come Dancing", and a re-release of the Ides' first recording "Like It or Lump It."
The Ides sang their Christmas carol "Sharing Christmas" to a capacity crowd at the 6 o'clock Mass at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral in 2005. They sang along with Dick Biondi. They have performed at Holy Name Cathedral's 6:00 Christmas Eve Mass since then, at the request of pastor Father Dan Mayall. They recorded their four Christmas songs on the Sharing Christmas album; copies were sold to raise funds for Holy Name Cathedral's Thursday Night Suppers.
In 2006, The Ides' first two albums, Vehicle and Common Bond, were nationally re-released on the Collector's Choice label. Sony BMG released Ides of March Extended Play nationally; the album was culled from the band's live recordings. The band continues to tour the US to this day.
In September 2010, the City of Berwyn, Illinois, dedicated Home Avenue between Riverside Drive and Cermak Road (the location of J. Sterling Morton High School West, the school most of the band members attended) to "Ides of March Way" in tribute of the band.
Chuck Soumar quit the band in 2011 to pursue other interests.
The Ides are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band. The original four members - Bergland, Borch, Millas and Peterik - are still playing together (after Peterik's hiatus to form Survivor). They have released a 50th anniversary career retrospective box set and a DVD called "Last Band Standing," and continue to write and record new music. At their anniversary concert on September 27, 2014, they received a citation from the State of Illinois honoring their achievement as well as their charity work (the band established a scholarship fund at their alma mater, Morton West High School in Berwyn, IL).
As of 2018, the Ides continue to enjoy a busy touring schedule, both by themselves and as part of the "Cornerstones Of Rock" series where they act as the house band for a variety of '60s-era Chicago-area bands. They are also in the writing stages for a brand-new album.
|Last Band Standing||
|"--" denotes releases that did not chart|