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25 Minutes to Go is a song performed by The Brothers Four in 1963 on the album Cross Country Concert. The song was written by Shel Silverstein.


The song is literally "gallows humor", as it is sung by a man awaiting his own execution by hanging. Each verse consists of two lines, of which the first line is anything from humorous to poignant, and the second line is a minute-by-minute countdown.

Well they're buildin' the gallows outside my cell. I got 25 minutes to go.

And in 25 minutes I'll be in Hell. I got 24 minutes to go.

The song is similar in concept to Silverstein's kiddy song "Boa Constrictor": It presents the point of view of someone who is experiencing a calamity in "real time," composing and singing as the events unfold, with a fatal conclusion. ("Boa Constrictor", like "25 Minutes to Go", appeared on Silverstein's 1962 album Inside Folk Songs.

Cover versions



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