The month of September brings a characteristic change in weather, the anticipation of the end of a time of increased lightheartedness, social gatherings, outdoor events and, yes, love affairs. The mind turns to thoughts of autumn leaves, apple season, and the time of the Full Corn Moon. As a “turn point” month, September is also the time when, as the leaves turn, children are back in school, football season arrives, and excitement starts to grow in anticipation of the coming holiday season right around the corner. So many songs were written about September, especially because the word “September” has a natural rhythm and a sweet lilt to it when you speak the word. How many songs about September do you recall? Here are a few you may remember:
1. September by the band Earth, Wind and Fire is THE most popular song about September. Yes, really! It is played in movie weddings, at sporting events, in television shows and used in commercials. In 2008, the song was played at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Will history repeat itself? Written by Allee Willis and Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind and Fire, in 1978 and using a progression composed by Earth, Wind and Fire guitarist, Al McKay, the song conjures images of clear skies and dancing under the stars. It’s a song all generations still groove to!
2. September Song is an American standard and popular song written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson. Introduced by Walter Huston in a 1938 Broadway musical, the song was recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943 and Frank Sinatra in 1946, then again by Sinatra in 1965, which is one of the most played versions of the song. Since being featured in the 1950 film “September Affair,” the song has been recorded by multiple artists including Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson, Sarah Vaughan, Burl Ives and Lotte Lenya, whose chilly version was recorded in 1957. The song is about an older man cautioning a younger potential love interest that the activities of a younger person and the object of their desires are time-wasting and transient. As an older suiter, he has no time for playing a waiting game.
3. See You in September was first recorded in 1959 by a Pittsburgh vocal group called The Tempos; however, it was a recording in 1966 by a group called The Happenings that is responsible for the song’s popularity. Fun Fact: The song, written by Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards, was a spurof- the-moment song. At 11:00 a.m. on a Friday in June, 1959, Wayne and Edwards met at a studio and one said to the other, “What do you want to write today?” The other answered, “A song called ‘See You in September.’” By 2:00 p.m., the song was finished. By 4:30 p.m., after simplifying the composition a bit to appeal to more of a teen audience, the songwriters took the song to a local recording label. By 8:00 p.m., The Tempos’ manager contacted the group who then flew to New York on Saturday and recorded the song on Sunday. The song was cut on Monday and released on the air the following Friday. Unfortunately, that particular recording of the song was not a hit. It was said to be a great song, just a very poor recording of it. The song did make the hit parade in 1966 when The Happenings recorded it with a different tempo. Since then, a number of rock groups and solo artists have recorded the song on their albums.
4. September in the Rain is a popular song about nostalgia and was written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, and published in 1937. It was first introduced by James Melton and Guy Lombardo in the film “Melody for Two” and has become a standard, recorded many, many times by singers including Sam Donahue and the George Shearing Quintet in 1948 and 1949, along with Frank Sinatra in 1961, Doris Day and Bing Crosby. The Beatles also made a recorded version of the song during an ill-fated audition for Decca Records in 1962. Paul McCartney, who was very familiar with show tunes and soundtrack songs, liked to incorporate the Beatles’ beat into such tunes. Their version, however, still remains unreleased. I guess it didn’t make the cut!
5. September Morn is the title of the thirteenth studio album recorded by Neil Diamond, an American singer who released the album in 1979. As the 90th biggest U.S. charting single, the individual song, “September Morn”, was an unintentional hit record. Diamond wrote the song with French composer Gilbert Bécaud, the same person he worked with on the “Jazz Singer” soundtrack. The song is about a couple who come back together after an emotional breakup and, as they dance until morning, they try to remember the good times they once had. What’s really unusual about this song is that, in 2011, a 20-year-old nursing student vanished. Many psychics came forward to claim that the lyrics to “September Morn” contained clues to the girl’s disappearance. What exactly the lyrics supposedly revealed about the case was not made clear – yet the story made BIG news in 2011. Oddly, the girl’s remains were eventually found – in September of 2014.
6. Try to Remember is a beautiful song written by the Texan team of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt for the 1960 musical comedy, “The Fantasticks,” which ran for 42 years and 17,162 performances making it the world’s longest running musical. Sung by Jerry Orbach in the original off-Broadway production, it is the first song of the show and encourages the audience to imagine what the sparse set suggests. Listen to the lyrics – their distinct pattern famously rhyming “remember” with “September,” “so tender” with “ember” and “December.” The repetition of –llow throughout the song (yellow, mellow, fellow, willow, pillow) is unique and all verses end with follow. The song found new audiences and soared again to the top 40 hit parade when, in 1975, Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded the song for the movie “The Way We Were.”
By Diana Blidy