Song Lyric Sunday — 25 or 6 to 4

This week, Helen Vahdati’s Song Lyric Sunday theme is “numbers.” She instructed us to “find a song that features a number, or go with the word itself.”

Well, duh! “25 or 6 to 4.” This is one of my all-time favorite songs from one of my all-time favorite bands, Chicago. And when it comes to songs about numbers, it’s the obvious choice, right?

“25 or 6 to 4″ was written by Robert Lamm, one of the founding members of the band. It was recorded in 1969 for the group’s second album, “Chicago,” which was released in January 1970. In addition to being on the album, an edited version was released as a single in June 1970. The single made it number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was the band’s first song to reach the top five in the U.S.

It was widely believed that the song’s title, “25 or 6 to 4,” was a veiled reference to drug quantities, or to some drug related mystical allusion. But according to composer Robert Lamm, it’s about trying to write a song in the middle of the night. The song’s title is the time at which the song is set: 25 or 26 minutes before 4 a.m.

Or maybe it was a little bit of both and Lamm was simply high and felt dizzy as if the room were spinning (“spinning room is sinking deep”) when he wrote a song.

Here are the song’s lyrics.

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Flashing lights against the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
25 or 6 to 4

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wondering how much I can take
Should I try to do some more
25 or 6 to 4

Feeling like I ought to sleep
Spinning room is sinking deep
Searching for something to say
Waiting for the break of day
25 or 6 to 4
25 or 6 to 4


12 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — 25 or 6 to 4

  1. Brandewulf March 4, 2018 / 4:57 am

    Nice choice…we must have been thinking the same thing. 🙂


  2. J-Dub March 4, 2018 / 9:06 am

    Fantastic! A favorite of mine. Glad to see it lighting up the posts today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen Vahdati March 4, 2018 / 1:21 pm

    I hadn’t actually heard this song until I listened to it on another post last night. I was saying that the lyrics pretty accurately describe being awake in the middle of the night, but I can also see the drug reference. Great pick! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ghostmmnc March 4, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    Yes! Super choice, and a classic favorite of mine. The explanation of the lyrics were interesting, too, as I hadn’t ever knew what it was they were singing about! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. leigha66 March 5, 2018 / 10:38 pm

    I LOVE Chicago! Got the pleasure of seeing them live about 30 years ago or more and it was a phenomenal show! Great song!

    Liked by 1 person

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