Today is September 21, which means that, as is the case every year, Earth, Wind & Fire will be on a lot of minds: The band’s classic 1978 single “September” starts with the lyrics, “Do you remember / The 21st night of September? / Love was changing the minds of pretenders / While chasing the clouds away.”
The big question, though, is what’s so special about the 21st of September? What happened on that date? Why did the band choose it for the song? It turns out Allee Willis, who co-wrote the song alongside Al McKay and Maurice White, has already answered that question.
She was asked about it in a 2014 interview with NPR and she said:
“We went through all the dates: ‘Do you remember the first, the second, the third, the fourth…,’ and the one that just felt the best was the 21st. I constantly have people coming up to me and they get so excited to know what the significance was. And there is no significance beyond it just sang better than any of the other dates. So… sorry!”
In a Wall Street Journal interview in 2019, though, Willis noted she was told by White’s widow Marilyn that September 21, 1978 was the due due date of White’s son Kahbran, so that may have been a contributing factor to the lyric.