♫ Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? ♫

In a back-and-forth comment exchange yesterday, our friend Michael Seidel responded to my comment that the “calendar is a human contrivance because humans, unlike any other species, seem to feel a need to compartmentalize everything, to know down to the nth of a minute just what time it is.”  His response was that he was reminded of this song by Chicago, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  Lightbulbs started flashing, bells started going “ding ding ding”, and I knew this just had to be my music post for today!  Thank you again, Michael, for helping me out!

A track from Chicago’s first album, this is an example of an early song featuring their horn section that, in my opinion, makes Chicago great, 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.  According to Lamm …

“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?’  It’s not a complicated song, but it’s certainly a quirky song. But that was my intent. I wanted to write something that wasn’t ordinary, that wasn’t blues-based, that didn’t have ice cream changes, and would allow the horns to shine and give Lee Loughnane a solo. So all that was the intent.” 

This was the first song the band recorded together. They had been playing live for over a year, but the studio was a new experience for them.  This charted at #7 in the U.S., #2 in Canada, and not at all in the UK.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is
Song by Chicago

As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my watch, yeah
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day
A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day (people runnin’ everywhere)
Being pushed and shoved by people (don’t know where to go)
Trying to beat the clock, oh, no I just don’t know (don’t know where I am)
I don’t know, I don’t know, oh (don’t have time to think past the last mile)
(Have no time to look around) And I said, yes I said (run around and think why)

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to die

Everybody’s working (I don’t care)
I don’t care (about time)
About time (no, no)
I don’t care

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Robert William Lamm
Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

29 thoughts on “♫ Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? ♫

    • It may be discordant … I hadn’t really thought about it. I mostly love hearing the horns! “25 or 6 to 4” is a great one, as well! Peanut butter … did someone say Peanut Butter? Yummyyummyyummy in my tummy! Oh … plain butter, huh? Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Chicago headlined the first concert I ever attended at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium back in 1973. The opening act was a little known band called Steely Dan.
    Guitarist Terry Kath never got the recognition he deserved.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think what I love most about Chicago is the horns! Do you still have a trombone? Being near deaf from birth, I never played a musical instrument, but my daughter played the trumpet in her early high school years, then switched to drums. Today, at age 50, she is still playing drums as a member of the Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes and Drums band, and they play all over the Eastern half of the country, plus in Canada. Or rather, they did until the pandemic hit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: ♫ Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? ♫ – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

  3. I don’t know that you will see any connection, but the early Guess Who recorded the Randy Bachman-written song Clock on the Wall in 1966. It reached No. 16, in Canada, but was ignored in the USA. In Winnipeg, of course, it hit No. 1.
    Then there was me. One of the first poems I ever wrote was about time. I can no longer remember what I called it.

    Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
    The hands on the clock
    Will never stop
    Or reach the top

    Move on, move on
    Those days are gone
    Time shall not wait
    Nor hesitate

    So slow so slow
    Now time does go
    Is not it rude
    To suit the mood?

    So fast, so fast
    Now time goes past
    You cannot rest
    Because of this pest!

    Amateurish, yes, but what do you want out of a 14 yesr-old, lol.

    Liked by 3 people

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