Chicago singer/keyboardist Robert Lamm and trumpet player Lee Loughnane (pr: LOCK-nayn) are the guests on the latest episode of the AXS TV series The Big Interview, which airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. On the show, the two Rock & Roll Hall of Famers chat with host Dan Rather about the band’s long, storied career, while recalling how some of the group’s most enduring tunes came to be.
In a preview clip from the program, Lamm shares his memory of how he wrote the Chicago classic “25 or 6 to 4.”
Lamm says he came up with the idea for the music for the tune while Chicago was serving as the house band on certain nights at the famous Los Angeles club the Whisky a Go Go.
“I was living up the street from the Whisky. Coming home one night, I was just kind of unwinding, I sat down at the piano and started playing something like the riff, which had no name and had no lyrics yet,” Robert recalls. “And I just kind of fooled around with it for…maybe half an hour, looked out over the city, looking at the lights on the tall buildings. So that was, like, [the] ‘flashing lights against the sky’ lyric.”
Then, as he tried to figure out what the song was going to be about, he came across the inspiration for the enigmatic lyric to the its chorus.
“I couldn’t quite make out what the time was, but the hands on the clock were somewhere around 25 or 26 to 4 a.m.,” Lamm explains. “And I thought, ‘Well, for now, I’m just going to describe the process of writing this song. I’ll figure out what the lyrics are going to be later.’ But I didn’t need to.”
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