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Why Earth, Wind and Fire chose ‘September 21st Night’

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One of the most famous lines of “September” from Earth, Wind & Fire: “Do You Remember the Night of September 21st?”

This is one of the lines analyzed for deeper meaning throughout the year, and the meaning of the date is actually quite simple.

In 1978, Allie Willis She was a struggling lyricist, but she formed from strong friendships with truly remarkable talents. With big names like Patti label And Herbie Hancock, Introduced Willis Verdin White, Bassist of earth, wind and fire. While preparing their best hit album of the same year, Willis received a call from the legendary funk band.

“Is this Allie Willis?” I remember the lyricist asking over the phone. “It simply came to our notice then Maurice White (Co-lead singer and primary lyricist). I want you to write the next Earth, Wind & Fire album. Of course, Willis is trapped. “I absolutely loved them. I have always loved them and they have been my favorite group, ”she admitted years later in Songfact.

When she arrived at the studio the first day with the band, an attractive riff was already coming out of the room.

“I opened the door and I heard that little guitar introduction,” Willis explained. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, they want to work with me, please.’ Because it was very successful. ”

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Behold, the “hit” she hears is the first phase of “September” and she plans to include a new song in The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire and Vol. 1 In an effort to increase sales for the collection. Upon hearing the instrument, Willis immediately began composing the lyrics with the band, trying to add a hilarious song that had a little nostalgia to it. Maurice White already had an idea for the chorus, but no real words yet.

“The word used in all the songs Maurice wrote was ‘ba-dee-ya’,” Willis explained in a 2014 NPR interview. So he sang from the beginning, ‘Ba-dee, say, do you remember / Ba-dee-ya, dancing in September?’ I said, ‘We’re going to translate’ ba-di-ya ‘into real words, right? ‘

As the song progressed, the band was ready to write lyrics and record a new track. Still, the chorus had not changed, and Willis began to realize that it would never happen.

“Finally, when it became clear that he was not going to do that, I said, ‘What does’ ba-dee-ya’ mean? And [White] ‘Who cares about F ** k?’ Willis recalled. I learned the best lesson of all time from the lyricist, which never allowed the lyricist to get in the way of the abyss. ”

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So, as they continued to think about that opening verse, the band tried several other dates.

“We went through all the dates: ‘Do you remember the first, the second, the third, the fourth …’ Do you think the best date is the 21st?” Willis explained. There is nothing more important than singing well. So … sorry! ”

When the song was called “September”, it was originally released in November 1978. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, easily becoming Earth, Wind & Fire all time favorite songs.

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