The inspiring September, the month that awaits us at the turn of summer and invites us to enter the fall, has been the muse of hundreds of songs. Xavier Valiño recapitulates some of them.
Selection and text: XAVIER VALIÑO.
Tired of listening to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” every year to mark the start of the new school year for some and the end of the holidays for others? Well, here we bring ten international songs, with their respective alternatives, to mark a different month on the calendar than usual, which includes stops in various styles from several decades and different artists of recent popular music.
1. Barry White: “September when I first met you”
We started our journey in 1978, exactly the same year that Earth, Wind & Fire published the most listened song that bears the name of the month in which we are. In that year Barry White, at the height of his soul power, edited the album The Man (Yes, The man, left with ego) in which he sang to the month in which he had met one of those lovers whom he seduced just by opening his mouth to let the first word fly in the air.
Alternativa: Frank Sinatra: “The september of my years”
2. Big Star: “September gurls”
Without a doubt, the best alternative on this list to the theme of Earth, Wind & Fire, probably one of the roundest slices of power-pop written. Composed in 1974 by Alex Chilton for the band’s second album Big Star, Radio City, featured a version of The Bangles in 1986. It is the Bible that sustains the careers of, for example, Teenage Fanclub or Posies.
Alternativa: My Morning Jacket: “Old september blues”
3. David Sylvian: “September”
Three years after starting his solo career outside of Japan, David Sylvian opened his most successful album, Secrets of the Beehive, in 1987, with this delicate and precious miniature of one minute and seventeen seconds on the piano and with light string arrangements, which matched perfectly with songs from his previous band such as “Nightporter”.
Alternativa: Fiona Apple: “Pale September”
4. El Goodo: “September”
The Welsh El Goodo – who, curiously, took their name from a Big Star song, “The ballad of El Goodo” – have been one of the best-kept secrets in recent European rock. On his third album of 2017, By order of the moose, they included this cut of country trotter, a style that combines perfectly with power-pop in their more than recommended records.
Alternativa: Rosanne Cash & Johnny Cash: “September when it comes”
5. Frankie Valli: “September rain (Here comes the rain)”
What starts out as a dramatic ballad soon turns into an appreciable soul gem, the kind enjoyed by fans of the northern soul. Recorded by Frankie Valli with The Four Seasons, it appeared as the B-side of the single “I make a fool of myself” in 1967 and, the following year, on their album. Timeless.
Alternativa: The Shins: “September”
6. Ian McCulloch: “September song”
Many artists have recorded their version of the classic “September song” by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson composed in 1938 – in fact, we will return to it below. But no one expected Echo & The Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch to make his solo debut with an orchestrated version of this song in 1984, just as his band was enjoying their biggest success with their album. Ocean rain.
Alternative: Jeff Lyne: “September song”
7. Jools Holland & Paul Weller: “September in the rain”
Another classic, in this case composed by Harry Warren and Al Dublin in 1937, and that the musician, television presenter and former member of Squeeze Jools Holland recorded like this, respectful of the original and with the voice of Paul Weller, on his album The golden age of song (The golden age of song) in 2012 with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.
Alternativa: Annie Lennox: “September in the rain”
8. Marianne Faithfull: “Flaming september”
In the records recorded in her middle age by Marianne Faithfull there is a dignity and a gravity typical of a lady who has lived it all and can continue on wiser, more whole. This song is a good example, recorded for their 1995 album A secret life, produced and composed by Angelo Badalamenti, a regular contributor to David Lynch.
Alternative: Agnes Obel: “September song”
9. Lou Reed: “September song”
As we said, many have been those who have recorded the classic “September song”, but it was Lou Reed who gave it a rock treatment for the first time. Appeared on the collective album Lost in the stars of 1985, tribute to Kurt Weill, sponsored and produced by Hal Willner, in which Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits or Todd Rundgren also participated, and which had a sequel twelve years later in September songs, the music of Kurt Weill, Joining Nick Cave, PJ Harvey or Elvis Costello.
Alternativa: Bryan Ferry: “September song”
10.Nina Simone: “One september day”
We finished our journey with one of the great vocalists of all time, still close to jazz when she recorded “One September Day”. This dreamy shot appeared as part of their album I Put a spell on you in 1965 and also in A monster. Gimme some the next year.
Alternativa: Buffy Sainte Marie: “Sweet september morning”
Bonus track: Los Feliz: “Noria”
As an extra cut, a return to the beginning. If someone wants more Earth, Wind & Fire instead of all of the above, but with an unexpected twist, here is the version of “September” in Spanish by Los Feliz, signed by the irreverent Miguel Costas, former member of Siniestro Total. Appeared on the collective album Impossible version, the songs of El Jueves, in 2002 and, also, as a hidden cut in a more hilarious take even at the end of his own album marketing attack, of the same year.
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Ten international songs to accompany September