Saturday, January 13, 1979

Earth, Wind & Fire “September” hit #1 on R&B chart


Earth, Wind & Fire

Writer(s): Al McKay, Maurice White, Allee Willis (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 17, 1978

Peak: 8 US, 6 CB, 4 GR, 4 HR, 5 RR, 41 AC, 11 RB, 3 UK, 8 CN, 12 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 1.8 UK, 10.24 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 760.24 video, 1305.23 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Earth, Wind & Fire formed in Chicago in 1969. Helmed by Maurice White, the group mixed R&B, funk, and disco for sales of more than 90 million records worldwide. They reached their greatest commercial peak in 1975 with the #1 single “Shining Star” and followed it with top-10 hits “Sing a Song,” “Got to Get You into My Life,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “After the Love Has Gone,” and “Let’s Groove” over the next six years.

While it wasn’t their biggest hit from a chart standpoint, their most enduring song has been “September.” The song was a new cut released on the group’s compilation The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1. The song was a top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. It has been sampled and covered multiple times. WK

Record World called “September” “a smooth, quick song that captures the mood of autumn nostalgia.” WK Singer Maurice White said he chose the date of September 21 for the song just because it sounded good phonetically. SF However, his wife says it was the due date of their son, Kahbran WK and he put it in the song as a secret message. SF

White and songwriter Allee Willis wrote the lyrics based on a chord progression from guitarist Al McKay. It was the first song Willis wrote with the band. SF He didn’t like the nonsensical “ba-dee-ya” lyric and begged White to rewrite it WK but White said, “No, that feels great. That’s what people are going to remember.” SF Willis said he learned his “greatest lesson ever in songwriting…never let the lyric get in the way to groove.” WK


First posted 7/19/2023.