“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” is a song written and sung by Robert Lamm while in the rock band The Chicago Transit Authority (later shortened to “Chicago”) and recorded for their eponymous debut album The Chicago Transit Authority in 1969.
The song was not released as a single until two tracks from the band’s second album, “Make Me Smile” and “25 or 6 to 4”, had become hits. It became the band’s third straight Top 10 single, peaking at number seven in the U.S. and number two in Canada. Because the song straddled years in its chart run, it is not ranked on the major U.S. year-end charts. However, in Canada, where it charted higher, it is ranked as both the 59th biggest hit of 1970 and the 37th biggest hit of 1971.
The original uncut album version opens with a brief “free form” piano solo performed by Lamm. A spoken verse by Lamm is mixed into the sung final verse of the album version. The single version does not include the “free form” intro or the spoken verse, and was originally mixed and issued in mono. A stereo re-edit (beginning from the point where the “free form” intro leaves off) was issued on the group’s Only the Beginning greatest hits CD set.
A 2:54 shorter edit (without the opening fanfare or piano break, starting at the trumpet solo) was included on the original vinyl version of Chicago’s Greatest Hits, but was not included on the CD version. This short edit was included on the CD version of the compilation album If You Leave Me Now. This version was used as a radio edit version. A shorter version at 2:46 (starting midway through the trumpet solo) was issued as a promotional single, which finally appeared on 2007’s The Best of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition.
A live version on the Chicago at Carnegie Hall box set presents an expanded version of the “free form” intro, which itself is given its own track.
Various versions of the song receive airplay; the promotional single edit is the version played on certain ‘Classic Hits’ stations and 1970s radio shows. For example, radio station KKMJ would play the promo edit version on its ‘Super Songs’ of the 70s weekend. Classic Hits KXBT would also play the promo edit, and by contrast the True Oldies Channel would play the 3:20 single version. An AM radio station in Boston (WJIB 740 which also simulcasts in Maine as WJTO 730) plays the original vinyl Chicago IX edit.