According to James Pankow’s commentary in the liner notes of the 2002 remastered CD edition of Chicago Transit Authority (1969), “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” “was the first track that we started.” Thus began the band’s four-plus decade long recording career. This catchy Robert Lamm composition has also had quite an impact on the charts as it became Chicago’s third Top Ten hit in less than seven months. Although it was considerably lighter fare than other album sides such as “Questions 67 & 68” or the edgy “South California Purples”, it pointed the way for the Adult Contemporary leanings that would become synonymous with the combo during the ensuing decades. The narrative is a fairly straight-forward observation of the hurried and harried modern society as it ultimately fails to take the ‘time’ to appreciate anything existing outside of its’ insular world. Musically, the juxtaposition of Chicago’s biting horn section -- in particular, Lee Loughnane’s stunning trumpet -- and Lamm’s slightly dissonant piano introduction, gives “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” a distinct flavour and ultimately sets the tenure for the band’s sound. When the song was issued as the A-side of a 7” single (b/w “Listen”) in November of 1970, Lamm’s piano intro was judiciously removed. Although the original 45 featured a monaural mix, a stereo version of the single edit is available on the two-CD Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning compilation. In addition to becoming one of Chicago’s most identifiable hits, there are several live renditions available -- most notably on the Live in Japan 1972 (1973) double-disc set, which is linked to the extended “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? [Free Form Intro]” from Lamm. There are also a few interesting covers, including a rare recording from Brit metal icons Deep Purple on their Listen Learn Read On (2002) box set as well as jazzy readings from Grant Green and Sunny Sumter, respectively. Although never officially released, former Public Enemy member Flavor Flav’s unissued It’s About Time (1999) includes, as one might expect, a decidedly hard-core rap rendering.