born in brooklyn, new york and raised in chicago, illinois, robert lamm's early musical influences were ray charles, the beatles, marvin gaye, burt bachrach. later on, it was thelonius monk, antonio carlos jobim, and mose alison. musically and philosophically, all shaped his musical objectives.
robert was an art major in high school, studying drawing and painting, but changed direction, enrolling at the music school at roosevelt university in chicago. it was here that the classical composers made an impression on him. although piano was his instrument, composition was his focus.
as a founding member of the legendary rock with horns band chicago, robert has lived the changes that have occurred in the band and the world of music. this rock band, which began as an experiment in 1967, has alternately broken new musical ground, set trends, fallen into critics’ disfavor, considered disbanding, rebounded and continued to be successful, and found a permanent and influential place in the mainstream of pop/rock. robert’s presence and participation has had much impact.
however, he has not been altogether comfortable with the musical directions the band has chosen to make survive. rock is a vicious game. as a result he has also had an active solo career with six well-received albums:
"skinny boy" (columbia records 1974, 2.0 blue infinity 2006)
"life is good in my neighborhood"(wb 1992, 2.0 blue infinity 2006),
"in my head" (mystic 1999)
“subtlety&passion” (blue infinity 2003)
“too many voices” (blue infinity 2004)
“leap of faith” (elements music 2005)
as if that weren't enough, he also formed a trio, beckley-lamm-wilson with america's gerry beckley and beach boys' carl wilson. there was real connection between them and they were looking forward to a long association and productive recording career as a trio. only one album exists, a very unique work or art. after untimely passing of carl, the project was put on hold, but ultimately, this album entitled "like a brother" (transparent music) was released to rave reviews in the summer of 2000. in june 2001 an expanded version was released in japan on jvc records, and as of 2005 blue infinity. as of 2006 robert is at work on a recording of a selection of bossa nova music, both original and classic.
his solo activities have brought interaction with a wide range of other musicians, and the producers, phil ramone, john van eps, hank linderman, all experiences which he treasures. stylistically, his music is in the domain of urban pop / art pop / world music, which reflect his openness to all music. robert has been thought of as a“ social conscience” because of the nature of his song writing. his songs are very personal expressions in content and concept. he is constantly stimulated and challenged by writing lyrics and music about his view of the human condition as well as the conditions of his own heart. with each new song he feels as if he has learned something new rather than having recycled something he already knew. he considers himself a work in progress.
his list of hit songs includes such classics as:
“does anybody really know what time it is?"
"questions 67 & 68"
"25 or 6 to 4"
"another rainy day in new york city"
"saturday in the park"
he has written dozens of other songs recorded with chicago, and continues to compose actively.