“Beginnings” is a song written by Robert Lamm for the rock band Chicago and recorded for their debut album The 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 7:55. The original single version was cut to just under three minutes, leaving only a fraction of the climactic second half. A later edit of just over six minutes for subsequent compilation albums restores much of the second half. One notable exception is the compilation The Heart of Chicago 1967-1997, which features the original full-length version of the tune.