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1 Rollie Sielaff’s Experience With Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics
2 Is Stress Making You Forgetful? 2 Great Activities to Kick Off the Fall Season 3 Have You Tried These Methods for Fighting Procrastination? 3 Easy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
4 The Truth Behind the 21st Night of September
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE 21ST NIGHT OF SEPTEMBER? 4 Decades of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’
“Do you remember the 21st night of September?”
White and Willis proved to be excellent songwriting partners, but they clashed over one key element of the song: the nonsensical phrase “ba-dee-ya,” which White included in the chorus. Throughout the songwriting process, Willis begged to change the phrase to real words. At the final vocal session, Willis finally demanded to know what ba-dee-ya meant. White replied, “Who cares?” “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him,” Willis recalled in a 2014 interview with NPR, “which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.” The groove is why “September” has stood the test of time, right from that very first lyric. For decades, people have asked Willis and members of the band about the significance of September 21. As it turns out, there isn’t much beyond the sound. “We went through all the dates: ‘Do you remember the first, the second, the third, the fourth …’ and the one that just felt the best was the 21st,” Willis explained.
In 1978, Maurice White of the band Earth, Wind & Fire first asked this question in the song “September,” a funky disco song that quickly
topped the charts. While disco may be dead today, “September” certainly
isn’t. The song is still featured in movies, TV shows, and wedding playlists. On Sept. 21, 2019,
the funk hit was streamed over 2.5 million times. It’s no wonder that the Los Angeles City Council declared Sept. 21 Earth, Wind & Fire Day.
The story behind “September” is almost as enduring as the song itself. It was co-written by White and Allee Willis, who eventually became a Grammy-winning songwriter and Tony nominee. But before any of that, Willis was a struggling songwriter in Los Angeles living off food stamps. When White reached out and asked Willis to help write the next Earth, Wind & Fire hit, it was truly her big break.
The truth is that nothing happened on the 21st night of September — except a whole lot of dancing.
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