“Beginnings” is a song written by Robert Lamm for the rock band Chicago Transit Authority and recorded for their debut album Chicago Transit Authority, released in 1969. Lamm also provided lead vocals. The song was the band’s second single (after “Questions 67 and 68”), but failed to chart on its initial release.
After the band’s success with subsequent singles, “Beginnings” was re-released in June 1971, backed with “Colour My World”. Both sides became U.S. radio hits, and the combined single climbed to number seven on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. “Beginnings” reached number one on the U.S. Easy Listening chart.
The distinctive acoustic guitar was originally played by Chicago’s guitarist Terry Kath. In concert, Lamm has played guitar for the song, though he is primarily known as the group’s keyboard player.
The uncut album version clocked in at 7:54. The original single version was cut to just under three minutes, leaving only a fraction of the climactic second half. A later edit of over six minutes for subsequent compilation albums restores much of the second half (leaving off only the extended percussion outro). Two notable exceptions are the compilations Chicago IX: Chicago’s Greatest Hits (in its CD edition) and The Heart of Chicago 1967-1997, both of which feature the original full-length version of the tune.