Wrote "Questions 67 & 68," "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" and "Saturday in the Park," among others
Lamm has been a guest lecturer on music production at Stanford University, and at NYU, on songwriting
Keyboardist, singer and songwriter Robert Lamm is a founding member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Chicago. He wrote many of the band's biggest hits, including "Questions 67 & 68," "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," "Beginnings," "25 or 6 to 4," "Saturday in the Park," "Dialogue (Part I & II)" and "Harry Truman." In fact, although Lamm has always enjoyed playing music and singing, he realized early on that composing would always be his primary interest.
Born in Brooklyn in 1944, Lamm was drawn to music by way of his parents, who listened to the jazz and Broadway music of their generation. He sang in the Grace Episcopal Church choir in Brooklyn, where he was exposed to the great sacred music from the Middle Ages through Bach and 20th century composers—at the same time that rock 'n' roll was coming into being.
Lamm spent his teen years in Chicago, where he heard jazz, rock 'n' roll, R&B and blues on the radio, studied art in high school and played in rock 'n' roll bands. He then entered the music program at Chicago's Roosevelt University to study music theory and composition, and while it widened his appreciation for classical music, he was also listeneing closely to the music of Ray Charles, and discovered that Charles wrote much of his early repertoire, as did the Beatles, who followed. Lamm was also influenced on the jazz side by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Then in 1967 Lamm was invited to join the band that would become Chicago. This allowed him to constantly experiment in both songwriting and arranging horns for his songs. Named after its original name prior to being shortened to Chicago, the band's first album, Chicago Transit Authority (1969), featured seven of his compositions out of the 12 tracks. It was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.
While staying in the band, Lamm's songwriting and vocal contributions to Chicago were curtailed in the late '80s and he relocated back to New York in 1991. There he resumed a solo career that began in the mid-'70s with the release of his first solo album, Skinny Boy (1974), which had been featured as a top pick in Billboard. His album output outside of Chicago included Like a Brother (2000) with the trio BeckleyLammWilson, which also starred America's Gerry Beckley and the Beach Boys' Carl Wilson, who died before the album was released.
Lamm was now reenergized as a songwriter, writing not only for his own albums but once again for Chicago's now sporadic album releases. He has also been a guest lecturer on music production at Stanford University, and at New York University, on songwriting.