25 or 6 to 4

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"25 or 6 to 4"
25 or 6 to 4.jpg
Single by Chicago
from the album Chicago
B-side "Where Do We Go from Here"
Released June 1970
Format 7"
Recorded August 1969
Genre Hard rock, jazz 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"
"25 or 6 to 4"
"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

"Along Comes a Woman"

"25 or 6 to 4/One More Day"

"Will You Still Love Me?"
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.


Speculation that the song's lyrics are drug-related has been largely dismissed. Lamm has stated 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 title serves as an answer to a concurrent Chicago song "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?". The answer is 25 or 26 minutes to 4 o'clock.[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by several artists, including Straitjacket; Local H; Intruder; Bruce Foxton; The Moog Cookbook; Earth, Wind & Fire; Paul Gilbert; Pacifika; Vince Neil; 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.[8] 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.[9]



  1. ^ "Chicago Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  2. ^ "What does the Chicago lyric "25 or 6 to 4" mean?". The Straight Dope. October 18, 2000. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  4. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  5. ^ "CHICAGO | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  6. ^ "Top 100 1970 – UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  7. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1970/Top 100 Songs of 1970". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  8. ^ "Jonathan Coulton". Jonathan Coulton. 2005-11-18. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  9. ^ 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 April 22, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-13.