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Originally released on the band's debut album Chicago Transit Authority (that was their original name), the song was not released as a single until Autumn 1971, almost 3 years after the album came out. While the album went gold and stayed on the album charts through 1972, the initial single release "Beginnings" did not attract any attention in 1969 from AM radio, which at the time was essential for airplay. College FM stations played cuts from the album in 1969, and the group gained an underground popularity. This gave way to mainstream success in 1970 and 1971, once their second album Chicago II was released.
This song was written by Robert Lamm, who was their primary songwriter. He expressed his political views in many of his early songs.
Radio stations started threatening to stop playing the group's songs when this one came out, saying they were tired of re-releases. (thanks, Charles - Charlotte, NC, for all above)
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