Earth, Wind & Fire released the song September in 1978, and still, decades later, it’s still celebrated by everyone when the month that marks the end of summer arrives. September is the equinox month and the period with the best summer weather, as the hot temperatures get milder.

As a joyful classic, the song has appeared in a variety of commercials and movies and has even served as the inspiration for a movie title. Interest in the song spikes yearly every September 21. The song also inspired the City of Los Angeles to declare that the 21st of September would be Earth, Wind & Fire Day, in honor of the band’s connections to the city.

This 1978 hit became number one on the U.S. R&B chart and reached the eighth position on the Billboard Hot 100. It was written by Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis.

September is a melancholy song about a love born in this month. The band remembers those magic moments when the protagonists danced together in the night, and “their soul was ringing.”

Do you remember
The 21st night of September?
Love was changin’ the minds of pretenders
While chasin’ the clouds away
Our hearts were ringin’
In the key that our souls were singin’
As we danced in the night, remember
How the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah

There was a considerable debate about the choice of the 21st night of September. Many believed it was related precisely to the equinox, which marks the end of summer. However, the band revealed that the choice was just because of how the number 21st sounded in the lyrics: it was just a metric matter.

According to many, the song was inspired by the poem September, written in 1892 by Helen Hunt Jackson. That poem describes the colors and the natural elements that blossom in this month of the year, as Earth, Wind & Fire do:

Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya, dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day

When people try to find the hidden meaning behind the lyrics of September, they have to keep this in mind: Earth, Wind & Fire chose the words and built the lines caring most about how they sounded. That’s why the song also mentions December (it rhymes), and the chorus contains the “ba-dee-ya”: most of those choices were made because… they just sounded right in the song.

My thoughts are with you
Holdin’ hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love, remember
How we knew love was here to stay
Now December
Found the love that we shared in September

After all, September is a song that wants to make you dance with memorable lines, and it’s not strictly necessary that the lyrics have a deep meaning. That’s why the song was so popular, reaching the higher floors of the music charts worldwide and entering the soundtracks of many movies and commercials.

Excerpts from Auralcrave and Genius

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