One of - and this is debatable, but it's what I think - the best rock songs ever is by a band called Chicago. But the name has always confused me. The song is called "25 Or 6 To 4". What does this mean? It's said repeatedly in the lyrics, but they give no hint as to what it actually means.
"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."
25 Or 6 To 4
should be interpreted as:
Twenty five or [twenty] six [minutes until] four [o'clock, AM]
I have always understood that the song was about the act of songwriting itself. Robert Lamm was describing the process of staying up all night and suffering sleep deprivation and confusion while trying to find the inspiration to compose a new song on a deadline.
At that time LSD 25 was prevalent and one of the prescription drugs people were doing was methequalone in 400 mg.(version of qualudes). On the side of the pills was the number 624. I doubt very much he was sitting cross legged on the floor trying to write a song on his lap to meet some deadline. It is the position (usually while rocking back and forth) that many people who where tripping late at night would be in. 624 would bring him down to sleep and 25 would continue the trip which he was obviously enjoying. "Spinning room is sinking deep" is hardly an issue when staying up late writing. Writing a song late at night is a good clean story for the masses but more likely at some "hippie house" at that time I would think the drug induced answer would be far more likely and a more memorable experience worth writing a song about. Do you really think I was writing a song at 4 am., gee what a great thing to write a song about? Good luck and believe what you want. Maybe 25 or 6 to 4 is a time for the sake of catchy song but it sounds like a trip either way and going to work is the last thing on someones mind. Been there done that!
This song is about a decision. The subject of the song has been up tripping on LSD (25) all night, but is now faced with this decision, as he is coming down, as to whether or not to attempt to leave the flat to go be responsible (6 to 4 - a typical time period one is away from home during a work or school day). Just about anyone who has tripped on psychedelics on a work night has faced this dilemma and instantly recognizes this scenario. Do I party on fearlessly, or do I go out and face the world?
Even if the stated songwriting meaning was meant, the double entendre is undoubtedly intended. Come on, this was 1970, people!
Here's your answer Most of you are all wrong but the "timing" was right
protected by Chris Sunami Dec 4 '17 at 15:26
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