“Do You Remember The 21st Night of September?”
I sure do, because today is my wedding anniversary! Many people who attend weddings, whether they fall on Sept. 21 or not, know the classic Earth, Wind & Fire song, “September,” which croons, “Do you remember, the 21st night of September?” On the anniversary of the song, let’s go over its history as well as the history of the band and what they’re up to now in 2023.
“September” is perhaps Earth, Wind & Fire’s most recognizable song. While it is no doubt a dance hit, it has roots in spirituality too. The song was first released in 1978 and gains popularity again each year on Sept. 21. It features soul, jazz, R&B, and funk influences and was written by Al McKay, Maurice White, and Allee Willis. McKay once shared about the making of the tune, “It was one of those mornings. I came downstairs feeling really good. (I) went to my studio, set up a groove, and it just came piece by piece by piece. I brought it to Maurice, and he liked it right away. Then he said, ‘Play it again.’ And I kept playing it for him. The last time, he looked at me and he sang, ‘Do you remember …’”
Willis said, shortly before her death in 2019, that she changed a very important part of the song. She revealed that the opening line was originally going to be “Do you remember/The 21st ‘day’ of September.” “First thing I said,” she told White, “’day’s’ gotta go. It’s gotta be night. It’s more romantic.” None of the writers have revealed what the specific date has anything to do with except the changing of seasons and how the syllables sound when sung. She added, “I think the song’s just eternally uplifting. It’s impossible to be depressed when you hear it.”
Earth, Wind & Fire became one of the most popular bands in the ’70s. The original members were Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Fred White, Al McKay, Johnny Graham, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk. Maurice White was the one to create the group and they went on to release 11 consecutive gold albums, which was quite a feat back in the day. Perhaps the reason that the band touches so many music lovers is the diversity of their songs, with ballads to anthems to dance hits to rock. They truly can deliver it all, in a way that just bounces energy off the stage.
While several of the original band members have since passed away, the group continues today with Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Myron McKinley, Philip Bailey, Jr., B. David Whitworth, Morris O’Connor, Serg Dimitrijevic, and John Paris. They just finished up a summer tour with Lionel Ritchie and are now performing several shows at the Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas. Click here to check out their upcoming tour dates and buy tickets.