Earth, Wind & Fire’s hit ‘September’ survives the test of time
Interest in the song consistently peaks during the month of September
There are few songs that have endured as well as Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 international smash hit September.
41 years after its initial release, it still enjoys considerable radio play as well as utilisation in commercials, television shows, sports events and movies.
The song begins with a simple question, “Do you remember the 21st night of September?”
Perhaps it’s that first line of the song that keeps it in the rotation 41 years later.
Just last year, according to Billboard, September made a return to Number 1 in R&B digital song sales on, you guessed it, September 21st.
A look at the Google Trends search data would give weight to the hypothesis as well. For the previous five years, global web search interest in the track has skyrocketed during the month of September.
For other bands who have since put the catchy tune in their repertoire, like 4 The Music, a South-African band based out of Dubai, there’s more to it than the lyrics.
“It’s just a feel-good song,” said band-member Peter-John Frans. “We just love the way the crowd responds to it.”
Frans says his brother sings the song during gigs, noting the need for a falsetto during the lyric, "ba-de-ya".
“It’s one of our all-time favourite songs to sing,” he added.
As for the infectious and crowd-pleasing lyric, "ba-de-ya", in an interview with National Public Radio, songwriter Allee Willis explains how that particular line came from the band’s lead singer, Maurice White, and that it's something he made up.
Willis, who contributed to several Earth, Wind & Fire songs, also told NPR that initially she wanted the "ba-de-ya" line replaced with something that actually made sense, but White told her, “…never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”
41 years after the song’s release, "ba-de-ya" lives on as interest in the monster-hit song 'September' continues.
Updated: September 16, 2020 09:40 AM