Throwback Thursday: Earth, Wind & Fire – “September”
Do you remember the 21st night of September? Summer officially ends tomorrow and I am verklempt. It was too short and the weather was trash for half of it. The only good thing about September 21 is that it reminds me of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” which mentions that specific date in the opening line.
Released in November 1978, the song peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has gone on to become the band’s signature hit. During the making of the song, co-songwriter Allee Willis supposedly took issue with Maurice White repeating “ba-dee-ya” throughout the song and actually tried to get him to change that lyric. He refused, and Willis later admitted, “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”
That little anecdote, as insignificant as it may seem, speaks very directly to how I have always felt about music, and why I have so much contempt for people that try to denigrate songs for not being “deep enough.” Some of the best songs ever have nonsensical lyrics, and as a matter of fact, there are lots of great songs that have no lyrics at all. Music is — first and foremost — about the melody, and anyone who tells you any different simply doesn’t know.
In celebration of melodies and in mourning of the summer, join me in screaming “Ba-dee-ya!”