Earth Wind & Fire Performs ‘September’ Over The Years
What better way to kick off September than with the infectious feel-good funk of Earth Wind and Fire’s titular track? While frontman Maurice White and company released “September” as a single in November of 1978, the band originally put the song to wax in the ninth month of the year. For this September edition of Sunday Cinema, below is a video compilation of live performances of EWF’s most famous song.
The insanely catchy tune naturally spent time at the top of the charts. “September” hit No. 1 on the R&B chart and cracked the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 8. The record also did well across the pond, breaking into the Top 5 of the U.K. Singles chart.
Part of what made the song so memorable was it’s infectious “ba-dee-ya” chant during the chorus. But the lyrics were almost cut from the song. White came up with the phrase but co-writer Allee Willis didn’t like the gibberish.
“Who the fuck cares?” was White’s response.
“I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyrics get in the way of the groove,” Willis told NPR in 2018.
Being EWF’s most well-known song, the band’s various incarnations have performed it live a number of times over the years. YouTube creator Neil Menon has compiled many live video performances into one convenient video. The visual kicks off with EWF’s official 1978 video followed by performances of the tune from UNICEF and Japan in the late ‘70s. A performance from Brazil kicks off the ‘80s while the band also plays the tune for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2007. The group also offers up a live rendition of “September” for Motown. The video comes to a close with EWF joining Chicago for a version of the song in 2013.
Check out EWF’s “September” over the years below: