♫ 25 Or 6 To 4 ♫ (Redux)

A night or so ago, my friend Jerry suggested this song.  I thought I had played it here a few times, but turns out I only played it once, back in 2019.  So, here is tonight’s redux and I promise to try to come up with something I haven’t played before by the end of the week!


This song has a strange title, and an equally strange history, but I love, love, love the horns in it.  Released in 1970, this song was written by Robert Lamm, who is a keyboard player and singer for Chicago.  It’s about trying to write a song, with the title referring to the time of day: either 3:35 a.m. (25 to 4) or 3:34 a.m. (26 to 4).  Confused yet?  According to Lamm …

“I was living with a bunch of hippies up above Sunset Strip. One of the advantages of this particular house was that it was in the Hollywood Hills and I could look out over the city late at night. I wanted to try to describe the process of writing the song that I was writing. So, ‘waiting for the break of day, searching for something to say, flashing lights against the sky’ – there was a neon sign across the city. That song came from the fact that it was 25 or 6 to 4 a.m. in the morning when I looked at my watch – I was looking for a line to finish the chorus.

Most songs that were written, especially in the early days, whenever I got them to the band and we started rehearsing them, that’s when the songs took shape – once these guys got hold of them. There was definitely a lot of raw material, I thought it was a song when I wrote the words down, I wrote the changes down and I brought the charts to rehearsal, but it wasn’t really a song until they all played it.”

Chicago was previously known as Chicago Transit Authority, which was the name of their first album. They shortened their name after the actual Chicago transit authority objected, and began releasing albums with their name followed by a roman numeral (Chicago II, Chicago III, Chicago IV, etc.).

Peter Cetera is the lead singer on this version.  After he left the  band in 1985, Chicago recorded an updated version for their album Chicago 18 with Jason Scheff singing lead, but I much prefer the original.

Interestingly, the song was banned in Singapore in 1970 due to “alleged allusions to drugs”; the ban extended to entire albums including the song, such as Chicago 18. In 1993, the ban on this song was lifted, along with long-time bans on songs by other artists such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

25 or 6 to 4
Chicago

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Dancing lights againnst 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 have tried 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

Songwriters: Robert Lamm
25 or 6 to 4 lyrics © Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? ♫

In a back-and-forth comment exchange yesterday, our friend Michael Seidel responded to my comment that the “calendar is a human contrivance because humans, unlike any other species, seem to feel a need to compartmentalize everything, to know down to the nth of a minute just what time it is.”  His response was that he was reminded of this song by Chicago, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  Lightbulbs started flashing, bells started going “ding ding ding”, and I knew this just had to be my music post for today!  Thank you again, Michael, for helping me out!

A track from Chicago’s first album, this is an example of an early song featuring their horn section that, in my opinion, makes Chicago great, of Walter Parazaider, James Pankow and Lee Loughnane. It’s also an example of a very cerebral lyric which asks the kind of existential question commonly posited in the ’60s. The song stresses the importance of taking time to appreciate the small pleasures in life instead of rushing from one place to another against the clock.

Chicago singer and keyboard player Robert Lamm wrote this song and sang lead.  According to Lamm …

“I was a teenager walking down the street in Brooklyn, New York where I grew up. I walked by a movie theater and there was an usher standing outside taking a cigarette break. I said to him, ‘Hey man, what time is it?’ and he said, ‘Does anybody really know what time it is?’ I remembered that when I was trying to write this sort of Beatle-esque shuffle and just explore the idea of ‘Does anybody really know what time it is?’  It’s not a complicated song, but it’s certainly a quirky song. But that was my intent. I wanted to write something that wasn’t ordinary, that wasn’t blues-based, that didn’t have ice cream changes, and would allow the horns to shine and give Lee Loughnane a solo. So all that was the intent.” 

This was the first song the band recorded together. They had been playing live for over a year, but the studio was a new experience for them.  This charted at #7 in the U.S., #2 in Canada, and not at all in the UK.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is
Song by Chicago

As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my watch, yeah
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day
A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day (people runnin’ everywhere)
Being pushed and shoved by people (don’t know where to go)
Trying to beat the clock, oh, no I just don’t know (don’t know where I am)
I don’t know, I don’t know, oh (don’t have time to think past the last mile)
(Have no time to look around) And I said, yes I said (run around and think why)

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to die

Everybody’s working (I don’t care)
I don’t care (about time)
About time (no, no)
I don’t care

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Robert William Lamm
Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ The Next Time I Fall ♫

Some nights I struggle to find a favourite song that I haven’t already played, after over two years … 694 music posts thus far!  Other nights, though, a song pops into my head, I find I haven’t played it, and BINGO!  Tonight was one such night … Peter Cetera came into my head while I was working on the squirrels for Saturday Surprise, and by some miracle he was still there when I finished and got ready to start on my music post.

This was written by Bobby Caldwell and Paul Gordon.  They originally offered the song to Chicago, unaware that Peter Cetera had left the group.  Caldwell, a friend of Peter Cetera’s, then offered the song to him, and Cetera decided to perform it as a duet.  He decided that he wanted to help a young singer, somebody who hadn’t been used before. Amy Grant was relatively unknown at the time outside of the Christian music scene where she was known as the “Queen of Christian Pop.”  When Amy Grant was suggested Cetera had initial reservations because of her Christian music background, but he liked what she stood for and thought she had a great voice. Grant was grateful for the opportunity as it gave her an entry into the secular pop scene.

Bobby Caldwell is best known for his 1979 U.S. #9 hit What You Won’t Do For Love, which has subsequently had over 70 cover recordings and samples. These include Go West’s 1993 version, which peaked at #15 in the UK & #55 in the US and rapper Tupac Shakur who had a Top 30 hit in both the UK and US in 1998 with his version, Do For Love. Bobby Caldwell is even better known in Japan where in 1992, he received the nation’s equivalent of a Grammy as the “best international artist.”

Released in 1986, this song hit #1 in the U.S. and Canada, and #78 in the UK.  78???  C’mon, guys … it’s a good song!

The Next Time I Fall
Peter Cetera

Love like a road that never ends
How it leads me back again
To heartache
I’ll never understand
Darling I put my heart up on a shelf
‘Till the moment was right and I told myself
Next time I fall in love
I’ll know better what to do
Next time I fall in love
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
The next time I fall in love
The next time I fall in love
It will be with you

Now as I look into your eyes
Well I wonder if it’s wise
To hold you
Like I’ve wanted to before
Tonight oh I was thinking that you might
Be the one who breathes life in this heart of mine

Next time I fall in love
I’ll know better what to do
Next time I fall in love
Oh oh oh
The next time I fall in love
The next time I fall in love
(It will be with you)

Next time I’m gonna follow through
And if it drives me crazy
I will know better why
The next time I try

Next time I fall in love
I’ll know better what to do
Next time I fall in love
Oh oh oh
The next time I fall in love
The next time I fall in love
The next time I fall in love
the next time I fall in love

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: B. Caldwell / P. Gordon
The Next Time I Fall lyrics © The Music Force LLC

♫ Just You ‘n’ Me ♫

I actually went in search of an entirely different song … Just You and I, which I later found out was done by Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle.  You will likely see that one pop up within the next few days, but along my journey, I came across this by Chicago, and thought perhaps it was the better choice for a Saturday Wednesday.  

This song was written by James Pankow for the group Chicago and recorded for their fifth studio album Chicago VI (1973). The lead vocals are sung by bassist Peter Cetera.

The second single released from that album, it was more successful than the first single, Feelin’ Stronger Every Day, reaching #4 in the U.S. and #3 in Canada.  

Walter Parazaider plays a soprano saxophone solo during the instrumental section while guitarist Terry Kath uses a wah-wah pedal and phase shifter on his guitar. Just You ‘n’ Me was written after a fight between Pankow and his future wife Karen.  Says Pankow …

“We had had a huge fight, it was a nasty lovers’ quarrel, if you will. She locked herself in the bathroom and wouldn’t come out…’Just You ‘n’ Me’ poured out of me in its entirety. Usually when I write songs I come up with an idea for a chorus or a hook and fill in the blanks in stages. This was a moment of clarity I’ve never experienced before or after. It remains a special event in my songwriting experience”.

This may not be my favourite Chicago tune, but then it would be hard to pick just one fave!  And I do love the brass on this!

Just You And Me
Chicago


You are my love in my life
And you are my inspiration
Just you and me
Simple and free
Baby you’re everything I’ve ever dreamed of
Yeah, yeah


Give me your own special smile
Promise you’ll never leave me
Just you and me
Simple and free


Life is so easy
When you’re beside me
Oh girl


Come hold me close
Never release me
Oh, baby don’t release me
Open your arms, let my love in
Let me in, let me in, let me in
Love me tonight, love me forever
And ever
You know I can’t forget you


Just you and me to carry on
Simple and free my lovely
To flow as one as love’s reward
Lovin’ you girl is so damn easy


Yeah, yeah
You are my love in my life
You are my inspiration
Just you ‘n me
Simple and free
Baby you’re everything I’ve ever dreamed of, yeah yeah


Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: James Pankow
Just You And Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Glory Of Love ♫

Every song that popped into my head tonight, I’ve already played, some as recently as last week, though I had already forgotten (senility???).  So, I just sat back and relaxed, let the ‘net take me where it would, and it landed me squarely in the midst of Peter Cetera’s lovely voice.

Released in 1986, this was Peter Cetera’s first solo single after leaving Chicago the previous year. The theme song for the film The Karate Kid: Part II, it fit the movie perfectly. The song quickly became a favorite at weddings and proms across America.

This song was written by Peter Cetera, his ex-wife Diane Nini, and David Foster, who produced Chicago’s highly successful albums Chicago 16 (1982) and Chicago 17 (1984) when Cetera was with the group. Cetera was asked by a friend to write the love song for the Karate Kid: Part II’ film, and was shown part of the movie. He has claimed that the song was destined to be a hit whether it was used for the film or not.

The song peaked at #1 in the U.S., #3 in the UK, and the Canadians apparently didn’t much like it, for it didn’t chart there.

Glory of Love
Peter Cetera

Tonight it’s very clear as we’re both lyin’ here
There’s so many things I want to say
I will always love you
I would never leave you alone

Sometimes I just forget, say things I might regret
It breaks my heart to see you cryin’
I don’t want to lose you
I could never make it alone

I am a man who will fight for your honor
I’ll be the hero you’re dreamin’ of
We’ll live forever, knowin’ together
That we did it all for the glory of love

You keep me standing tall, you help me through it all
I’m always strong when you’re beside me
I have always needed you
I could never make it alone

I am a man who will fight for your honor
I’ll be the hero you’ve been dreamin’ of
We’ll live forever, knowin’ together
That we did it all for the glory of love

It’s like a knight in shining armor from a long time ago
Just in time I will save the day
Take you to my castle far away

I am a man who will fight for your honor
I’ll be the hero that you’re dreamin’ of
We’re gonna live forever, knowin’ together
That we did it all for the glory of love

We’ll live forever, knowin’ together
That we did it all for the glory of love

We did it all for love
We did it all for love
We did it all for love
We did it all for love

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Foster / Peter Cetera / Diane Nini
Glory of Love lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ My Life ♫

Rawgod said he was in the mood for some of the older music by The Doors, so I went in search of …  But in my travels ‘cross the music world, I came across this and it cried out, “Me, ME … Play ME!!!”  Another night, rawgod … I promise not to forget!

This song by Billy Joel first appeared on his 1978 album 52nd Street, and a single version was released in the fall of 1978.

My  Life was used as the theme song for the ABC television series Bosom Buddies starring Tom Hanks (1980–82), albeit in a re-recorded version with a different vocalist. However, due to licensing issues it does not appear on the VHS and DVD releases of the series, nor is it used in the show’s syndicated airings.

I don’t find much trivia about this song, but the one tidbit I found fun is that Chicago members Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus performed the backing vocals and sang along with Billy Joel during the bridge and in the outro (“Keep it to yourself, it’s my life”).

My Life
Billy Joel

Got a call from an old friend we’d used to be real close
Said he couldn’t go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house, bought a ticket to the west coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

I don’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don’t get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

They will tell you you can’t sleep alone in a strange place
Then they’ll tell you can’t sleep with somebody else
Ah but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it’s O.K. you wake up with yourself

I don’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don’t get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
My Life lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ You’re The Inspiration ♫

I had just finished scheduling my a.m. post and catching up on comments, when I turned to thinking about my music post.  I debated reprising a previous one, but … all of a sudden, it came to me that I was in the mood for some Chicago.  Flipping past the ones I’ve already played, I came to this one …

David Foster, who became one of the biggest hitmakers of the ’80s and ’90s, wrote this song with Peter Cetera and also produced the album. In working with Foster, the band made some adjustments to their sound in the interest of achieving more hits. Three members of the band were primarily horn players, and they had little to do on most of the Foster/Cetera songs.

The upside was huge, however, as the band found a new audience and was able to continue unabated for three more decades.  According to Bill Champlin, who joined the band in 1981 …

“They were unhappy with it because a lot of these tunes just didn’t call for horns. So, they were very unhappy with it, because they always saw themselves as the star of Chicago. And, at one point, when they first came out, they probably were. But, suddenly, the listeners and the fans of Chicago all listened to the singers and the guitar playing.”

Personally, I am partial to the horns, but that doesn’t keep me from liking the rest of their music, as well.

I did not know that Cetera and Foster wrote this song for Kenny Rogers. When Rogers didn’t record it, they rewrote it a bit and recorded it for Chicago.  Says Cetera …

“David Foster called me up and he said, ‘I’m in the studio with Kenny Rogers, and he would like you to write a song for him.’ And I said, ‘That’s great! As a matter of fact, I’m leaving for Italy…’ I was going to Europe for something. I don’t remember … and this was like nine o’clock in the morning. I said, ‘I’m leaving for Italy tonight around five o’clock. I’ll be there about two weeks, and I’ll call you when I come back.’ And he goes, ‘No, no, no, he means, like, now.’ (….) And so David was in the studio…and of course…you know, last minute. And so I said, ‘Alright, well you come over here right now, and we’ll see what we can do.’ So in the midst of packing, David drove out to where I was then living. And we basically, in about three hours, came up with a little chordal structure for “You’re the Inspiration,” which it wasn’t called that at the time. And we sort of made this little tape of this chord structure; I took it on the plane, and went to Italy. And, of course, lying in these beautiful baroque and marble rooms, and singing out the window…I was writing things about, ‘Michelangelo you should know, Michelangelo.’ And I came up with, oh…you’re the inspiration! So, I came back with the words, worked on this melody, and came back and presented the song. And Kenny basically didn’t have the time or didn’t want to do it. Good for me!”

You’re the Inspiration
Chicago

You know our love was meant to be
The kind of love to last forever
And I want you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know
Everywhere I go
Always on my mind
In my heart
In my soul
Baby

You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration
Want to have you near me
I want to have you hear me saying
“No one needs you more than I need you”

And I know (And I know)
Yes I know that it’s plain to see
So in love when we’re together
Now I know (Now I know)
That I need you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know (Yes, you need to know )
Everywhere I go
You’re always on my mind
You’re in my heart
In my soul

You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration
Want to have you near me
I want to have you hear me saying
“No one needs you more than I need you”
(No one needs you more than I)
Want to have you near me
I want to have you hear me saying
“No one needs you more than I need you”
(No one needs you more)
You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration

When you love somebody
‘Til the end of time
When you love somebody
Always on my mind / No one needs you more than I
When you love somebody
‘Til the end of time
When you love somebody
Always on my mind / No on needs you more than I

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Peter Cetera / David Foster
You’re the Inspiration lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Hard To Say I’m Sorry ♫

I’m hungry … and therefore, it is inevitable that I would play something by Chicago tonight, right?

This song marked a resurgence for Chicago, who had been dropped from their longtime label, Columbia Records, and picked up by the Full Moon label, distributed by Warner Bros.  Hard to Say I’m Sorry was their first single on Full Moon, providing an instant return for the label when the song went to #1 in the U.S. and even became a rare UK hit for Chicago, reaching #4.

Chicago vocalist Peter Cetera wrote this with David Foster, who also played piano on the track.  Foster worked on a similarly themed song for Earth, Wind & Fire a few years earlier in After The Love Has Gone .

Steve Lukather (guitar), David Paich (synthesizer) and Steve Porcaro (synthesizer), all played on this track. These guys were top studio musicians as well as members of Toto. Bringing them in caused plenty of friction in the band, which didn’t like the idea of other musicians playing their parts. But David Foster knew exactly what he wanted, and was willing to bring in the guys who could achieve it.  Bill Champlin, who joined the band in 1981 and suggested they use Foster, explained …

“Foster would just as soon call the A players and bring them in, and I really don’t blame him. Real major players that can get this stuff for you in a minute. They really eyeball with the producer once and give it to him on take one.”

Hard to Say I’m Sorry
Chicago

Everybody needs a little time away
I heard her say
From each other

Even lovers need a holiday
Far away from each other

Hold me now
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to stay

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to

And after all that’s been said and done
You’re just a part of me I can’t let go

Couldn’t stand to be kept away
Just for the day
From your body
Wouldn’t want to be swept away
Far away
From the one that I love

Hold me now
It is hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to know
Hold me now
I really want to tell you I’m sorry
I could never let you go

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to

After all that’s been said and done
You’re just a part of me I can’t let go

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to

Songwriters: Peter P. Cetera / David Walter Foster
Hard to Say I’m Sorry lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ After All ♫

As we’ve discussed before, understanding the lyrics to a song is not my strongsuit, for I am nigh on deaf.  For example, tonight daughter Chris was talking about a project she was going to start for Christmas gifts, handmade dishtowels.  She showed me the snowflakes she had designed to decorate a set of dishtowels, and then I thought she said she would be adding pineapples to them.  I was puzzled … snowflakes and pineapples, snowflakes and tropical fruit on the same pattern?  Turns out she said something about  ‘design apps’, not pineapples.

Anyway … I had a point … what was it?  Oh yeah, lyrics.  Do you know what it’s like to have a song stuck in your head for days and not know enough lyrics to even Google it?  If you have, say, a five-word string of the lyrics, Google does a fine job of finding the song.  But, when this first dropped into my head on Friday, I had nary a word.  I tried humming it for my resident musical expert daughter Chris, but she finally looked bewildered and asked if I was about to be ill, so I gave that up.  Eventually, over the course of the weekend, enough lyrics crept back into the brain that I was able to successfully Google and come up with this after all!  Yes, After All!

This was the theme song to the 1989 movie Chances Are, starring Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr. and Ryan O’Neal. The song was written by Dean Pitchford (lyrics) and Tom Snow (music), who couldn’t use the title Chances Are because it is the name of a famous Johnny Mathis song that I played back in February.

According to Pitchford …

“The movie was about a woman who falls in love with a man only to lose him. He gets killed, and then his soul migrates into another body and comes back in a younger man. And that soul is trying to reunite with her, but inevitably she ends up with a man who has been staying by her side all her life, and has been there for her. And that’s the soul match that was to have been made. So when she walks down the aisle at the end of the movie with Ryan O’Neal, it’s the end of a long journey. So I wrote ‘After all the stops and starts, we keep coming back to these two hearts. Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall.’ I thought that that was really the summation of the movie, because you get some scenes in Heaven, where the soul gets misassigned. And I always liked the idea of angels being rescued from the fall, and I also liked that ‘fall’ rhymed with ‘all.’ So I brought Tom the ‘After All’ concept of ‘we keep coming back to these two hearts,’ and that was the taking off point.”

The single peaked at number six in the United States and Canada. It also managed to enter some European charts, including Ireland, where it peaked at 24, and the United Kingdom, where it reached 84.

After All
Peter Cetera & Cher

Well, here we are again
I guess it must be fate
We’ve tried it on our own
But deep inside we’ve known
We’d be back to set things straight
I still remember when your kiss was so brand new
Every memory repeats
Every step I take retreats
Every journey always brings me back to you

After all the stops and starts
We keep comin’ back to these two hearts
Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall
After all that we’ve been through
It all comes down to me and you
I guess it’s meant to be, forever you and me, after all

When love is truly right
(This time it’s truly right)
It lives from year to year
It changes as it goes
Oh, and on the way it grows
But it never disappears

After all the stops and starts
We keep comin’ back to these two hearts
Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall
After all that we’ve been through
It all comes down to me and you
I guess it’s meant to be, forever you and me, after all

Always just beyond my touch
You know I needed you so much
After all, what else is livin’ for?

After all the stops and starts
We keep comin’ back to these two hearts
Two angels who’ve been rescued from the fall
After all that we’ve been through
It all comes down to me and you
I guess it’s meant to be, forever you and me, after all

Songwriters: Dean Pitchford / Tom Snow
After All lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Karen Schauben Publishing Administration

♫ 25 Or 6 To 4 ♫

This song has a strange title, and an equally strange history, but I love, love, love the horns in it.  Released in 1970, this song was written by Robert Lamm, who is a keyboard player and singer for Chicago.  It’s about trying to write a song, with the title referring to the time of day: either 3:35 a.m. (25 to 4) or 3:34 a.m. (26 to 4).  Confused yet?  According to Lamm …

“I was living with a bunch of hippies up above Sunset Strip. One of the advantages of this particular house was that it was in the Hollywood Hills and I could look out over the city late at night. I wanted to try to describe the process of writing the song that I was writing. So, ‘waiting for the break of day, searching for something to say, flashing lights against the sky’ – there was a neon sign across the city. That song came from the fact that it was 25 or 6 to 4 a.m. in the morning when I looked at my watch – I was looking for a line to finish the chorus.

Most songs that were written, especially in the early days, whenever I got them to the band and we started rehearsing them, that’s when the songs took shape – once these guys got hold of them. There was definitely a lot of raw material, I thought it was a song when I wrote the words down, I wrote the changes down and I brought the charts to rehearsal, but it wasn’t really a song until they all played it.”

Chicago was previously known as Chicago Transit Authority, which was the name of their first album. They shortened their name after the actual Chicago transit authority objected, and began releasing albums with their name followed by a roman numeral (Chicago II, Chicago III, Chicago IV, etc.).

Peter Cetera is the lead singer on this version.  After he left the  band in 1985, Chicago recorded an updated version for their album Chicago 18 with Jason Scheff singing lead, but I much prefer the original.

Interestingly, the song was banned in Singapore in 1970 due to “alleged allusions to drugs”; the ban extended to entire albums including the song, such as Chicago 18. In 1993, the ban on this song was lifted, along with long-time bans on songs by other artists such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

25 or 6 to 4
Chicago

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Dancing lights againnst 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 have tried 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

Songwriters: Robert Lamm
25 or 6 to 4 lyrics © Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management