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]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chicago Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  2. ^ "What does the Chicago lyric "25 or 6 to 4" mean?". The Straight Dope. Archived from the original on 22 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  3. ^ "Chicago History, Chapter VI". Official Site of Chicago the Band. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Coulton Blog Archive
  5. ^ Chicago Admin. "Constantine Maroulis releases his version of Chicago classic: 25 Or 6 To 4". Chicago The Band Music Community. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-13.