"Do you remember... the 21st night of September?"
This September 21st, and every September 21st, will never be forgotten by my dear friend-in-kitsch, Allee Willis.
If you aren't aware, Allee co-wrote the song "September" for Earth, Wind, & Fire. When it quickly climbed to the top of the charts at its release, it forever changed the course of her life for the better.
A few years ago, she shared a funny story about the song's "Ba-de-ya" lyrics with NPR:
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The story of the song begins in 1978. Allee Willis was a struggling songwriter in LA — until the night she got a call from Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. White offered her the chance of a lifetime: to co-write the band's next album. Willis arrived at the studio the next day hoping it wasn't some kind of cosmic joke.
"As I open the door, they had just written the intro to 'September.' And I just thought, 'Dear God, let this be what they want me to write!' Cause it was obviously the happiest-sounding song in the world," Willis says.
Using a progression composed by Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist Al McKay, White and Willis wrote the song over the course of a month, conjuring images of clear skies and dancing under the stars. Willis says she likes songs that tell stories, and that at a certain point, she feared the lyrics to "September" were starting to sound simplistic. One nonsense phrase bugged her in particular.