25 or 6 to 4
|"25 or 6 to 4"|
|Single by Chicago|
|from the album Chicago|
|B-side||"Where Do We Go from Here"|
|Genre||Hard rock, jazz rock|
|Length||4:50 (Album version)
2:53 (Single version)
|Producer(s)||James William Guercio|
|Chicago singles chronology|
"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 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?".
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.
Weekly singles charts
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. 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.
- Peter Cetera – lead vocals, bass
- Terry Kath – backing vocals, fuzzed wah-wah electric guitar (plus solo), unamplified electric guitar
- Robert Lamm – backing vocals, piano
- Danny Seraphine – double-tracked drums
- Jimmy Pankow – trombone
- Lee Loughnane – trumpet
- Walt Parazaider – tenor saxophone
- "Chicago Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "What does the Chicago lyric "25 or 6 to 4" mean?". The Straight Dope. October 18, 2000. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Top 100 1970 – UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1970/Top 100 Songs of 1970". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- Jonathan Coulton Blog Archive
- 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.