Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?"

I rarely listen to the car radio anymore.

I have CDs. I have an I-Pod.

This morning, David took my car and filled it up with gas.

Awww. Yes, he's sweet like that --- I was headed to the doctor today -- across town, and he made sure that I was gassed up and ready to go.

That's a little bit of a pun since I was headed to the gastro doctor.

*tee hee*

Anyway, David listens to the radio -- he loves Clark Howard.

Clark kind of gives me rickets. I don't know what it is -- his long-winded explanations?

When I got in my car today, the radio was on AM so I just switched it to FM, and it happened to be on an oldies station.

You know what was playing? --- "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?" by Chicago Transit Authority, later shortened to Chicago, since the real CTA threatened legal action.

I love that freakin' song.

The song came out in April of 1969 -- and the summer of 1969, I was a rising, high-school sophomore, approaching a new understanding and appreciation of rock music, courtesy of my oldest brother who had flown the coop, gone away to college for two years at The University of Virginia, and come back with reel to reel tapes sporting ninety minutes of non stop rock music.

One of the songs on that reel to reel was --- "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?" as well as others like "Easy to be Hard" by Three Dog Night (a song that made me fall in love with them -- even though they were unbelievably cheesy) and "Light My Fire" by the Doors.

Aside: When I was a junior in high school, our drill team, of which I was co-captain, did an award winning routine to "Light My Fire."

Okay, it wasn't award winning, but I still know some of the moves. LOL

That summer of 1969, we played that "reel to reel" over and over -- and I not only memorized the lyrics to all the songs, but the order that the songs came on the tape. I played it so much that my family was sick of it, but when they weren't home, I was cranking the stereo up and playing that tape and singing loudly.

I can't believe my parents allowed all that noise to be played on Daddy's stereo (they were pretty tolerant and good-natured about it -- I mean, I guess life could be worse -- we could have been at Woodstock) --but my dad loved that stereo, a RCA cabinet wonder complete with wood veneer, a record player, and FM radio.

Whooo wee. We were living high on the hog.

Another aside: My dad actually loved electronics and gadgets. I remember at one time -- he had this thing about clock radios. That, btw, has nothing to do with the Chicago song. Just sayin'.

The reel to reel that my brother shared was an eclectic mixture of the favorite songs of his current suite mates at UVA, and they named it after the dorm and room number (the name and number escapes me now) -- something like 214 Manget.

My daddy had fifty or sixty reel to reels as well -- his were mostly Mitch Miller and old show tunes. I liked those too -- until 1969 -- then I became an official rocker, and I gave up trying to sing like Julie Andrews or pretend I was in Oklahoma or Showboat or Porgy and Bess.

I admit I memorized a few of those lyrics too. They came in handy later, when my college sorority used them in a show that we put on during Rush.


At that time, tape masters stored reel to reel tapes in brown boxes, and most labeled them on the outside. My dad stacked his, nicely identified, on the bookcase next to his stereo. He had spent hours and hours moving his 78s and 33lps to reel to reel since they were "the way" of the future.

Ha. Ha.

Today, as I was headed to the doctor, I was taken back in time -- and just so you know, I still knew all the lyrics to that song.

What's up with that? It's like brain washing. LOL

At the time the song was popular, and it received a tremendous amount of air play throughout the 1970s, I just knew that the lyrics were profound, perhaps carrying a deeper meaning, and that if I thought about it enough, I could analyze and apply to modern life.

At some point, I came to the conclusion that they just rhymed.


BTW: Chicago, by the standards of the time, was a pretty clean cut band, made up of eight musicians, some of them classically trained, out of the midwest. My favorite was the trombone player named James Pankow. He had the best hair.

What can I tell you? I was fifteen.

That's all I got.

I had this album.

And that picture above -- is a poster than came with one of their albums -- I hung it on my wall --- and James Pankow, far right on floor. :)

Note to young readers of my blog: You are gonna have to Google "reel to reel" -- I ain't explaining that to ya. I ain't got the time. Muah.


  1. I love Chicago, and this was one of my favorite songs! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Your final paragraph made me laugh aloud!

  2. 1. Chicago was the very first concert I ever went to;
    2. Music from my childhood will always be my favorite music.

  3. 河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。....................................................................

  4. I can't believe that you think Three Dog Night was cheesy. We have history with Three Dog Night. My first concert, I was in the 5th grade and went to see the Guess Who. (American Woman... My kids think what's his name started it) Anyway, my father said I could go then bought a ticket and sat two rows behind us. I guess at 11, I was lucky to go.

  5. Yep...I have no idea what reel to reel is :)

  6. Great blog. Music brings back the best memories doesn't it? I recall listening to Helen Reddy and Olivia Newton John on 8 track. LOL. "I Honestly Love You" was an all-time favorite. I can still see my sister and I sitting in our family room sitting on our floor listening to it over and over. Good times.

  7. Four things:
    ~ I think I would have liked your dad... He sounds like my dad. Electronics and gadgets, musical preference, reel-to-reel tapes, and all.

    ~ By the time I came along, Chicago had been shortened to Peter Cetera. Bwahaha (I know he really left the group, but they weren't ever as popular post-Cetera.)

    ~ Music always makes everything more memorable. One song I remember from church choir in childhood had the lyrics "Sing it... you'll never forget it. Sing it... you'll never for get it. If you have something to remember put it in a melody. Who can think of any way to learn more easily?" I guess that's true seeing as how I still remember those words. Cheesy but true.

    ~ I always love reading about your trips down memory lane.

  8. I know what reel to reel means! No googling necessary.

    I HATE the radio...especially in Germany...all news and bad music. However, a few months bad I did stumble upon Dostoevsky on the radio, which I though was pretty awesome