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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? by Chicago
Album: The Chicago Transit AuthorityReleased: 1969Charted:
A track from Chicago's first album, this is an example of an early Chicago song featuring their horn section of Walter Parazaider, James Pankow and Lee Loughnane. It's also an example of a very cerebral lyric which asks the kind of existential question commonly posited in the '60s. The song stresses the importance of taking time to appreciate the small pleasures in life instead of rushing from one place to another against the clock.
Chicago singer and keyboard player Robert Lamm wrote this song and sang lead. He explained on The Chris Isaak Hour: "I was a teenager walking down the street in Brooklyn, New York where I grew up. I walked by a movie theater and there was an usher standing outside taking a cigarette break. I said to him, 'Hey man, what time is it?' and he said, 'Does anybody really know what time it is?' I remembered that when I was trying to write this sort of Beatle-esque shuffle and just explore the idea of 'Does anybody really know what time it is?'"
The album version runs 4:33 and contains a piano intro by Robert Lamm that was removed for the single release, which was cut down to 3:17. Lamm would often play the intro when they performed this song live, which can be heard on their Chicago At Carnegie Hall album.
Even thought this song first appeared on the album in 1969, it wasn't released as a single until late 1970, long after their second album had been issued. The song reached its peak of #7 the first week of 1971.
The jazz guitarist Grant Green released a 5:10 instrumental cover of this song on his 1971 album Visions.