Sunday, May 26, 2013

Numbers: 25 or 6 to 4

Chicago/Earth, Wind & Fire: 25 or 6 to 4 (YouTube)
Purchase CTA version

Not one, not two, but three numbers in a single title: 25 or 6 to 4 (and when you say it aloud, you hear a fourth, no?) Releasing their first album in the late 60s as the Chicago Transit Authority, the band quickly renamed themselves Chicago when faced with legal action from the “official” CTA.
My friends and I (and obviously millions more) had their music on heavy rotation in the early 70s. You must know their major hits such as Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is and Color My World. They rank 13th on the Billboard list of All Time Top Artists.
There was speculation that the songs was about drugs (“Flashing lights against the sky …”?) So much else in that era was. However, Chicago band member and the song’s composer, Robert Lamm, says it is a reference to 3:35AM (“Waiting for the break of day …”)
There are a number of YouTube versions of this song, but as I viewed them, one stood out in particular: Chicago and EWF together. Sorry: the sync seems to be off just a little, but the color, energy (check out Verdine White, the EWF bass player!) and sound quality here is better than in many of the other online files.
Earth Wind and Fire rank a little lower on Billboard’s list, but still within the Top 100. Like Chicago, they also hail from the Windy City and trace their roots back to within a year or two of Chicago’s. Like Chicago, one of their strengths is a horn section. I think they make a great combination on stage.

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