25 or 6 to 4

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"25 or 6 to 4"
Single by Chicago
from the album Chicago
B-side "Where Do We Go From Here"
Released June 1970
Format 7"
Recorded August 1969
Genre Rock
Length 4:50 (album version)
2:53 (single version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Robert Lamm
Producer(s) James William Guercio
Chicago singles chronology
"Make Me Smile" /
"Colour My World"
(1970)
"25 or 6 to 4"
(1970)
"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"
(1970)

"Along Comes a Woman"
(1985)

"25 or 6 to 4" /
"One More Day"
(1986)

"Will You Still Love Me?"
(1986)
Music sample

"25 or 6 to 4", also written as "Twenty-Five Or Six To Four", is a song written by the American musician Robert Lamm, one of the founding members of the rock/jazz fusion band Chicago. It was recorded for their second album, Chicago in 1970, with Peter Cetera on lead vocals. The song was edited and released as a single in June that year, climbing to number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart[1] and number seven on the UK Singles Chart. This recording features an electric guitar solo using a wah-wah pedal by Chicago guitarist Terry Kath, and has been included in numerous Chicago compilation albums.

An updated version of "25 or 6 to 4" was recorded for the 1986 album Chicago 18 with James Pankow listed as co-writer. With the new band member Jason Scheff on lead vocals, the single reached number 48 on the U.S. chart. This version was also used as the B-side for the band's next single in 1986, "Will You Still Love Me?".

The song appears as an on-disc track in the video game Rock Band 3 and has been made available as a download for the game/learning software Rocksmith 2014.

Meaning[edit]

Speculation that the song's lyrics are drug related has been largely dismissed. Lamm himself says that the title is "just a reference to the time of day" and that "the song is about writing a song. It's not mystical." The time of day in reference is 3:35 AM (or 3:34 AM), which would then be 25 (or 26) minutes to 4 AM.[2][3]

Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by several artists, including Straitjacket; Local H; Robert Forster; Intruder; Bruce Foxton; The Moog Cookbook; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Paul Gilbert; Pacifika; and Umphrey's McGee. It was also covered by Nick Ingman on Soft Rock Invention.

In 2005, Jonathan Coulton made "When I'm 25 or 64", a mashup of "25 or 6 to 4" with "When I'm Sixty-Four" by The Beatles.[7] For the results night performance of the finale of the ninth season of American Idol, Lee DeWyze performed "25 or 6 to 4" with the band. Constantine Maroulis released his version of the song as a single in 2011.[8]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]