"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" as written by and Robert William Lamm....
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 dont 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


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" as written by Robert William Lamm

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis is an anti-war song. Was written in the time of the Veitnam War when guys of their age were getting drafted and dying in large numbers. It was also a time when you couldn't just come out with an anti-war song if you wanted to make it as musicians (I believe this was their first single), which explains why the references are veiled.

    So the time of the day seems rather trivial when your buddies are dying in Nam and you are worried about being drafted. "We've all got time enough to cry/die" seems pretty obvious. Meanwhile all of the older crowd (the ones old enough to not be drafted) are running around worried about making a buck. Remember there was also a large disparity in that the poor kids were often drafted while rich kids often found ways to avoid going to Nam. You see this also in CCR's 'Fortunate Son.'

    'A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead.' Again we have the rich/poor dichotomy along with an allusion to the thousands of dead soldiers in Nam.

    Just my two cents, but I must say I was surprised no one else commented on this song being largely related to the Vietnam War.
    Rumpelstiltskinon July 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentListening to the lyrics, I think the underlying message of this song is that everything in life is relative and that nothing is certain.

    This song was supposedly a protest against the Vietnam War, but anyone listening to it for the first time would probably not pick up on that.
    simple80sukuson March 23, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is an awesome song...i think we're playing it in jazz band this year...which would rule.
    stephibabyon May 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the writer is trying to say "slow down, relax". The diamond watch reference is to show that to this woman time is very valuable. Of course it would be nice to have the kind of life where you can disregard time, but we can't all be rock and roll stars.
    Rfeynmanon September 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anybody really know what time it is? That is the ultimate rhetorical question. Does anyone REALLY know? Well that's a thought.
    sgtpepperon December 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs far as the "we can't all be rock and roll stars" goes, at the time this was written they weren't stars (this was on their first album - which of course was a big success). So it seems much more sincere to me, as if a more average person were singing and feeling it.
    freakishordeon March 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit kinda sounds to me like this guy is a bit depressed about something
    zeppy19991on May 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song on a great album. Sad that Chicago kind of declined (imo) after they got popular.
    norderon March 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Does anybody really care
    If so I can't imagine why
    We've all got time enough to cry/die"

    To add on the theme of "slow down, and relax" these lyrics express how people are too busy to care about time, and if they allow themselves to make time, they can express human emotion, like sadness for example. (you have time enough to cry) Or, they will realize if they do not take time to experience "human emotions" etc., then life will pass them by, and they will die without experiencing anything profound (oh, but you have time enough to die!)
    raunchyon July 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis was Chicago's first big hit. And, for the record, this song helped me get into my high school jazz choir (I used this for my audition piece).
    Mattbluhalofanon July 18, 2007   Link

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