September (Earth, Wind & Fire song)

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"September"
EarthWindAndFireSeptember7InchSingleCover.jpg
Single by Earth, Wind & Fire
from the album The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1
B-side
  • "Love's Holiday"
  • "Can't Hide Love"
ReleasedNovember 18, 1978 (1978-11-18)
Format
RecordedSeptember 1978
Genre
Length3:35
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Maurice White
Earth, Wind & Fire singles chronology
"Got to Get You into My Life"
(1978)
"September"
(1978)
"Boogie Wonderland"
(1979)
"Got to Get You into My Life"
(1978)
"September"
(1978)
"Boogie Wonderland"
(1979)
Music video
"September" on YouTube

"September" is a song by the American funk band Earth, Wind & Fire. It was recorded during the sessions for their album I Am (1979) and released as a single in 1978. It was included on The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 (1978).

"September" reached number one on the US R&B chart, number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100,[1] and number three on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Composition[edit]

"September" is in the key of A major with a tempo of 126 beats per minute in common time. The vocals span from E4 to F5.[3][4]

Using a chord progression written by Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist Al McKay, Allee Willis and Maurice White wrote the song over one month. Willis was originally bothered by the gibberish "ba-dee-ya" lyric White used through the song, and begged him to rewrite it: "I just said, 'What the fuck does 'ba-dee-ya' mean?' And he essentially said, 'Who the fuck cares?' I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove."[5]

Although several theories about the significance of the date have been suggested, the songwriters simply chose the 21st due to how it sounded when sung.[6]

Reception[edit]

The song was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry and certified gold in the US (until the RIAA lowered the sales levels for certified singles in 1989, a Gold single equaled 1 million units sold.) "September" was later certified Gold for digital sales by the RIAA,[7][8][9] and has sold over 2 million digital copies in the US as of September 2017.[10] Earth, Wind & Fire recorded a new version of the song, retitled "December", for their 2014 Christmas album Holiday.

In the United Kingdom the song has been popular as the basis of football chants at a number of clubs: according to a Guardian article this originated at Newcastle United F.C. where fans started singing a chant about player Chancel Mbemba in the autumn of 2015.[11] It was also adapted by fans of the England national football team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: "Woah, England are in Russia / Woah, drinking all the vodka / Woah, England’s going all the way".[12]

September 99[edit]

"September '99"
EarthWind&Fire - September 99.jpg
Single by Earth, Wind & Fire
from the album The Ultimate Collection
Released1999
GenrePop, R&B
Length3:43
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Maurice White, Allee Willis, Al McKay
Producer(s)Maurice White
Earth, Wind & Fire singles chronology
"When Love Goes Wrong"
(1997)
"September '99"
(1999)
"Boogie Wonderland '99"
(1999)
"When Love Goes Wrong"
(1997)
"September '99"
(1999)
"Boogie Wonderland '99"
(1999)

A remix of the song was released by Sony Music in 1999 under the title "September '99", reaching No. 25 on the UK Singles Chart.[13][14][15][16]

The song was remixed by English dance music duo Phats and Small.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[50] Gold 45,000^
Italy (FIMI)[51] Platinum 50,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[52]
Digital download
Gold 30,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[53]
Physical release
Silver 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[55]
Physical release
Gold 1,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[55]
Digital download
Gold 2,065,000[10]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Accolades[edit]

The information regarding accolades attributed to "September" is adapted from AcclaimedMusic.net.[56]

Author Country Publication Year Rank
Bruce Pollock US The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944–2000 2005 *
Gary Mulholland UK This Is Uncool: The 500 Best Singles Since Punk Rock 2002 *

(*) designates lists that are unordered.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 179.
  2. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 289. ISBN 0-87586-207-1.
  3. ^ White, Maurice. "Earth Wind & Fire "September" Sheet Music in F# Minor (transposable) – Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  4. ^ "September – Earth, Wind & Fire – Spot On Track". www.spotontrack.com. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  5. ^ "The Song That Never Ends: Why 'September' Sustains". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  6. ^ Charnas, Dan (September 19, 2014). "The Song That Never Ends: Why Earth, Wind & Fire's 'September' Sustains". Morning Edition.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
  8. ^ "Rock Music, etc., Terms". spider.georgetowncollege.edu. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  10. ^ a b "Nielsen SoundScan charts – Digital Songs – Week Ending: 09/28/2017" (PDF). Nielsen SoundScan. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 2, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  11. ^ MacInnes, Paul (23 November 2017). "When a terrace tune goes viral: the hunt for the source of the September chant". theguardian.com. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  12. ^ Simpson, Dave (11 July 2018). "Why Atomic Kitten and Earth, Wind & Fire became England's World Cup chants". theguardian.com. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  13. ^ Kellman, Andy. "The Ultimate Collection – Earth Wind & Fire – Songs, Reviews, Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  14. ^ "EARTH, WIND & FIRE – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION". Hitparade.ch.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100: 25 July 1999 - 31 July 1999". Billboard.com.
  16. ^ a b c "Earth, Wind & Fire: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Phats & Small". allmusic.com.
  18. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Earth, Wind & Fire – September" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0103a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 4507." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  22. ^ a b "Musicline.de – Earth, Wind & Fire Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – September". Irish Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "Hit Parade Italia – Indice per Interprete: E". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 4, 1979" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Earth, Wind & Fire – September" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  27. ^ "Charts.nz – Earth, Wind & Fire – September". Top 40 Singles.
  28. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September". VG-lista.
  29. ^ "SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Songs S". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  30. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September". Singles Top 100.
  31. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–2002
  32. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 27, 1979
  33. ^ "Ultratop.be – Earth, Wind & Fire – September 99 (Phats & Small Remix)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  34. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  35. ^ "Lescharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September 99 (Phats & Small Remix)" (in French). Les classement single.
  36. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 336 Vikuna 12.8. - 19.8. 1999)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  37. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Earth, Wind & Fire" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  38. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Earth, Wind & Fire – September 99 (Phats & Small Remix)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  39. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September 99 (Phats & Small Remix)". VG-lista.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  41. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September 99 (Phats & Small Remix)". Singles Top 100.
  42. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September 99 (Phats & Small Remix)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  43. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". officialcharts.com.
  44. ^ "Lescharts.com – Earth, Wind & Fire – September" (in French). Les classement single.
  45. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  46. ^ "1979 Top 200 Singles". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  47. ^ Top 100 1979 - UK Music Charts
  48. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  49. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 29, 1979
  50. ^ "Earth Wind & Fire "September"". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  51. ^ "Italian single certifications – Earth, Wind & Fire – September" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  52. ^ "Certificaciones" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved 14 February 2016. Type Earth, Wind & Fire in the box under the ARTISTA column heading and September in the box under TÍTULO
  53. ^ "British single certifications – Earth, Wind & Fire – September". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 October 2014. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type September in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  54. ^ "British single certifications – Earth, Wind & Fire – September". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 August 2018. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type September in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  55. ^ a b "American single certifications – Earth, Wind & Fire – September". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 3 October 2014. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  56. ^ "Shining Star". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 2016-10-13.

External links[edit]