Earth, Wind, & Fire – September

My wife asked me if I have ever posted this song before. So for her… here it is…September by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It was her…”Jr High Song.” One warning…when you hear it you cannot get it out of your head.

Maurice White, Al McKay, Allee Willis wrote this song. Maurice White said he got the idea for this song in an unlikely place… a hotel room in Washington DC while there was some kind of protest going on below. Said White, “There’s all these cats screaming and throwing things and going crazy and this tune just evolved.”

September peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #3 in the UK, #10 in Canada, and #12 in New Zealand in 1979.

Earth, Wind, and Fire had 33 songs in the top 100, 7 top ten hits, and one number 1.

Verdine White (Bass Player): “People now are getting married on September 21st,” he said. “The stock market goes up on September 21st. Every kid I know now that is in their 20s, they always thank me because they were born on September 21st.”

 

From Songfacts

This song has a tendency to make people happy when they hear it. Allee Willis, who wrote the song with Maurice White and Al McKay from Earth, Wind & Fire, describes it as “Joyful Music.”

It was the first song Willis wrote with the band, and quite a learning experience. She told us: “Their stuff was very much based on Eastern philosophies, an incredibly positive outlook on life; the lyrical content of their songs was not typical of what would have been in soul music at that time. So when I left the studio that first day, Maurice gave me the name of a book, it was called The Greatest Salesman In The World, and he sent me to the Bodhi Tree, which is a very spiritual bookstore here in LA. I got that and a bunch of other books that the saleswoman said was the philosophy. And what went from being a very simple experience turned into, for me, an incredibly complex experience. Because I dove into these books.

And even the way they were written, the language they were written in, I kind of didn’t understand anything. But Maurice told me right from the jump he thought I was a very spiritual person, and I was put here to communicate. And I thought, if Maurice was saying that to me, I need to hang with this.

I was pouring through these books for a couple of months. Lyrics started being 25-30 pages long as I’m trying to figure all this stuff out. Reading all that stuff changed me forever. He lead me to a path I’ve stayed on.

“So ‘September’ was fantastic and thrilling, and they had started the intro of it by the time I had walked into the studio to meet everyone. Just as I opened the door and I heard that little guitar intro, I thought, Oh God, please let this be what they want to work with me on. Because it was so obviously a hit.” (Here’s our full Allee Willis interview. Her website is alleewillis.com.)

While there are many theories as to the “21st night of September” in the opening lyrics, the truth is they just felt right. Willis told us: “Maurice had that very first line, and I said to him, ‘Why the 21st?’ Because I’m someone who likes to tie up all the ends very neatly, so if I’m saying the 21st, I want to know during the song what’s the significance. But he always told me there was no real significance. So whether that’s true or not I can’t say. But as far as I know, it’s just something that sang really well. And I would say the main lesson I learned from Earth, Wind & Fire, especially Maurice White, was never let a lyric get in the way of a groove. Ultimately it’s the feel that is the most important, and someone will feel what you’re saying if those words fit in there right. I do remember us experimenting with other dates, but 21st just sang phonetically fantastic.”

Willis co-wrote most of the songs on Earth, Wind & Fire’s next album I Am, including the hit “Boogie Wonderland.”

Although many people hear the first words in the chorus as “Party On,” it’s really “Bada-Ya.” Allee Willis explained in her Songfacts interview: “I absolutely could not deal with lyrics that were nonsensical, or lines that weren’t complete sentences. And I’m exceedingly happy that I lost that attitude. I went, ‘You cannot leave bada-ya in the chorus, that has to mean something.’ Maurice said, ‘No, that feels great. That’s what people are going to remember. We’re leaving it.’ We did try other stuff, and it always sounded clunky – thank God.”

This was written specifically for Earth, Wind & Fire’s greatest hits album The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1. Along with their cover of “Got To Get You Into My Life,” it was one of two new songs included on the set, which became their best-selling album and helped the band cross over to a broader audience.

Movies that used this song include Night at the Museum, The Ringer, Soul Food, Dan In Real Life and Babel.

This was featured on the NBC spy comedy Chuck in the 2010 episode “Chuck Versus the Living Dead.” On the show, Buy More manager Big Mike claims he was once a member of the band back when they were called Earth, Wind, Fire & Rain (he was Rain).

Taylor Swift released an airy, banjo-and-acoustic-guitar version of this song on April 13, 2018 that provoked ire on social media. Her recording was part of a Spotify promotion; she explained that she covered it for “sentimental reasons” and because the month of September is when one of her memorable breakups occurred.

Philip Bailey of EW&F came to her defense, tweeting,”Music is free like that… Ain’t Got Nothing But Love for Ya.”

September

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love
Remember how we knew love was here to stay
Now December found the love that we shared in September
Only blue talk and love
Remember the true love we share today

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

The bell was ringing
Our souls were singing
Do you remember, never a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

11 thoughts on “Earth, Wind, & Fire – September”

      1. Leonid is a musical genius. He listens to the song and writes out the entire arrangement, by ear. That’s an incredible talent. Especially since the arrangement is as close as he gets it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A very big talent who can do that…especially for strings. Guitar is one thing but all of that would not be easy to put together.
        I’ll have to check out more.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s