FUN FACT: The song that has come to signify all things September was originally released in November. "September," the perennial Earth, Wind & Fire classic was first issued as the second single from the band's stellar The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1. The track followed the first single from the set, the band's explosive take on the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life," which thrived despite being part of the ill-fated movie, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"September" hit #1 on the Billboard R&B charts, and peaked at #8 on the Hot 100 for the week of February 10, 1979. The #1 song in America that week Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"
Let's turn it up and celebrate one of the greatest songs of all-time, "September," with five more fun facts.
1. The song has made the date September 21 a pretty big deal
"People now are getting married on September 21st," bassist Verdine White told Songfacts. "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. They say it's one of the most popular songs in music history right now."
2. There's (allegedly) no significance to the date
"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," the late songwriting legend Allee Willis explained to Songfacts. "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."
3. September 21 is Earth, Wind & Fire Day in Los Angeles
At least it was in 2019, when the city council made the decree. "They made Los Angeles their home, and so we decided in the city of L.A., Sept. 21 will be 'Earth, Wind & Fire Day,'" said Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson to ABC7 in L.A. last year. Band members Ralph Johnson, Philip Bailey and Verdine White were present for the official ceremonies. "I'm from Los Angeles, born and raised," Johnson said of the moment. "I'm a product of the L.A. United School District. This is a very special moment for me."
4. "Ba-Dee-Ya" just sounds good
"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," Willis shared with Songfacts. "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," she continued. " I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove."
5. Philip Bailey was not mad at Taylor Swift for her acoustic cover of "September"
As critics were quick to drag Swift for her version of the R&B classic, none less than EW&F's own Philip Bailey supported the young singer's take. "Ain’t Got Nothing But Love For Ya," he shared, adding the hashtag, "freedom in music."
Ain’t Got Nothing But Love For Ya #freedominmusic— Philip Bailey (@PhilipBaileyEWF) April 13, 2018