It's 1969. I'm sitting on the floor, in a dark room above Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood's Sunset Strip. I'm struggling to write a song, but it's just not happening. I can't think of anything to say.
OK, I have an idea. I'll just write about my setting and what I'm going through. That much I can do, right?
I'm eager for morning to arrive. I can't find anything to talk about. Wow, those lights outside seem to be moving around. I can't do it anymore, my eyelids are falling. I'm sitting Indian-style. It's just past 3:30 am.
I'm looking forward, thousand yard stare. I'm getting up to put some liquid on myself. I don't want to fall asleep. I'm not sure how much longer I can go. I should have made a better attempt. It's just past 3:30 am.
Maybe I should rest. The room is turning, falling. I still can't find anything to talk about. I'm eager for morning to arrive. It's just past 3:30 am. It's just past 3:30 am.That's pretty bad writing.
Except, it wasn't me above Whiskey A Go Go that 1969 night. It was Robert Lamm. So although he recounted exactly the same idle musings I describe above, in that same order, he didn't use the lame lines I used. Instead, he wrote this:
The pièce de résistance was, of course, Lamm's reference to the time. "25 or 6 to 4" (twenty-five or twenty-six minutes until 4 am), which became one of the best song titles of all time.
Lamm, in a 2016 interview with CNN:
"When I had nothing to say, I made the song about writing that song."
Attribution Note: Background material for this essay was gathered from this Wikipedia article.