September 21 is always time to celebrate the song that celebrates this day: “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire.
It was a hit when it was first released in 1978.
Today it’s an anthem, especially on social media, where people take the lyrics’ advice and keep dancing in September.
“September” is arguably Earth, Wind & Fire’s greatest hit, so it’s ironic that it was originally written as a new track to add to a greatest hits album.
It started as a groove written by guitarist Al McKay.
Then, singer Maurice White sketched out a set of lyrics built on remembering what happened on the 21st of September.
He said he just liked the way the words sounded in the song, though later his wife revealed the 21st was the due date for their son (who actually showed up in August).
White brought in songwriter Allee Willis to help finish the lyrics.
She said when she heard the groove for the first time, she thought it sounded like the happiest song in the world.
Willis and White wove a story about falling in love, making memories, and, of course, dancing.
The words don’t reveal too many details, but that lets listeners fill in the story for themselves.
The song almost feels more personal that way.
Willis says she tried several times to get White to remove the “ba-dee-ya” from the chorus.
She said the syllables didn’t mean anything
But White said, why do the syllables have to mean anything if they sound great?
He said the chorus was just right the way it was.
Willis said later that was the most important lesson she ever got: “never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”
Very little has gotten in the way of “September” and its groove.
The song hit the Billboard pop top ten when it came out in 1979, and it was number one on the R&B chart.
It’s been in movies, TV shows, commercials, even video games.
And if you’re reading this on September 21st, there’s a very good chance this song is trending online.
For this track, there never was a cloudy day.
If you’re one of those workers who had to go back to the office and really didn’t want to, this may help register your discontent.
Making the rounds online is a design for an office chair that’s shaped like a big wooden coffin.
On that note, who’s up for a long meeting in the conference room?
Do You Remember? The Message in Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’ (Wall Street Journal)