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After leaving Chicago, Peter Cetera spent six months ''looking for people who believed in me as a solo artist as much as I believed in myself.''

If anyone had doubts that ''Glory of Love'' could be a No. 1 hit, they should have asked Peter Cetera,*who wrote and sang it for the film ''Karate Kid II,'' as well as for his own album. ''If I said, 'No, I'm not surprised (it hit No. 1),' I'd be telling the truth,'' said Cetera, the former singer and bassist of Chicago. ''I had faith in the song right from the beginning. If it wouldn't have been No. 1, then I would've been surprised.''

The only problem Cetera has now is reminding record buyers that ''Glory of Love'' -- a soft love song along the lines of Chicago's ''Hard Habit to Break'' -- is on ''Solitude-Solitaire,'' his second solo album, as well as on the movie's soundtrack. ''People have been buying the 'Karate Kid' sound track because of that song,'' he said. ''They assume off the bat that it's the only place they can get it. That's a problem.''

But no matter which way Cetera gets his songwriting royalties, the song's success is confirmation that he made the right decision when he left Chicago almost two years ago to pursue a solo career.

It was certainly a risky move. One of the first rock bands to use a horn section, Chicago had gone from stadium-filling superstardom through a dry period and eventually made it back to the top of the charts with its 16th and 17th albums. The future looked lucrative, and Cetera, whose voice and face were the hallmarks of singles (and videos) like ''Hard Habit to Break,'' ''Along Comes a Woman,'' ''Stay the Night'' and ''Hard to Say I'm Sorry,'' seemed an indispensable part of the group's newfound hit-making formula.

But he didn't quite see it that way. ''I had always wanted time and space to record another solo album,'' explained Cetera, 39, whose first solo project, ''Full Moon,'' was released in 1981 and had a minor hit in ''Limelight.'' ''But Chicago had decided it was time to do another Chicago album and go out on tour again. We couldn't agree on what to do, so the best thing for both of us was to kind ah part company.''

Cetera then spent a year writing and recording ''Solitude-Solitaire,'' a slick pop collection that he predicted will have four or five hit singles. 

DATE: SUNDAY August 24, 1986 EDITION: Valley SECTION: L.A. Life ZONE: rop PAGE: 20 LENGTH: SHORT SOURCE: By GARY GRAFF, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

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