Why Earth, Wind & Fire settled on Sept. 21 as subject of iconic song 'September'

HOLLYWOOD - JULY 7: (L-R) Musicians Verdine White, Maurice Bailey, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson pose for a photograph at Earth, Wind & Fire's induction into the Hollywood RockWalk of Fame at Guitar Center on July 7, 2003 in Hollywood, Cali

Among the handful of songs that nearly everyone can recognize in an instant is Earth, Wind & Fire's "September."

The song became the group's biggest hit when it was released in 1978 and features a question that has since then become rather iconic: "Do you remember the 21st night of September?"

The lyrics of the song allude to the date being a fun one between two lovers, but the exact significance is never revealed.

As is turns out, that's because the significance is a bit murky even to the songwriters.

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Co-writer Allee Willis spoke to Songfacts back in 2008 -- and the interview recently resurfaced via Ultimate Classic Rock.on Monday -- where she revealed that she came into contact with Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White after working with Patti Labelle and Herbie Hancock.

Eventually, the band's frontman Maurice White caught wind of Willis and gave her a call, years before Willis' passing in 2016.

"Is this Allee Willis?" she remembered being asked.

"Yeah," responded Willis.

"This is Maurice White. I want you to come write the next Earth, Wind & Fire album," said the funk icon.

The band was a longtime favorite of hers, so Willis jumped on board and joined the group for a writing session.

"Just as I opened the door and I heard that little guitar intro, I thought, 'Oh God, please let this be what they want to work with me on,'" Willis recalled. "Because it was so obviously a hit."

The song had a loose concept of what became the chorus.

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