James Brown, Making September Cool
James Brown, Making September Cool

Five Songs For September, Including "September Song"

September is here. That's right, sometime last May you blinked and the whole summer happened. School bells are now ringing, leaves are falling off the trees and we're about three-and-a-half shopping months away from Christmas.  For whatever reason, September's inspired a number of great jams. From a standard to a classic funk groove, there's a lot of fun to be had, so we've assembled our five favorite September songs.

Eizo Pinza - "September Song"1950

One of the great hidden gems in the American songbook, "September Song" is a standard that several artists have put their own unique spin on over the years. Originally written by composer Kurt Weill for the 1938 Broadway play

Knickerbocker Holiday

, the song's taken on a life of its own as a sweet nod down memory lane that leads to appreciating a current love. Opera sensation Ezio Pinza rescued the song from 12 years of obscurity and took it to the top of the charts, additionally singing lines from the play at its start to give it a certain context.

Bing Crosby - "September Song"1977

September signals the start of autumn as the most vibrant lively elements of the year begin to fade. Likewise, "September Song" lent itself to being a fitting one to ride into the sunset with for crooner Bing Crosby. Recorded less than a month before he died, Crosby sounds like he's giving something of a final bow. It's one last final thank you to his audience, and is the closest thing to his wonderful Christmas album we can get away with playing this time of year.

Lou Reed - "September Song"1985

Probably the most upbeat and quirkiest rendition of "September Song" came from Lou Reed. Along with a heavy dose of Reed's '80s pep, it bears the unique stamp of being the only cover of the song to actually have the name sung as the chorus. Reed actually recorded an additional, much more somber cover of the song 11 years later

for a PBS special.
James Brown - "September Song"1969

Our favorite version of "September Song" is found on James Brown's 1969 big band album

Soul On Top

. Brown's other big backup recordings are pretty polarizing among fans, but the combination here of Maceo Parker and Louie Bellson's 18-Piece orchestra finally gets things right as Brown's bombastic brand of high energy-high reward is complimented by an outfit willing to go as far out-there as he is. His take on "September Song" vocally emphasizes the current lover in the situation, making the "I want to spend with you" all the more sincere.

Earth, Wind and Fire - "September"1978

Do you remember to always remember the 21st night of September? Quickly overtaking Labor Day as the month's most fun holiday, the recent phenomenon of people throwing Earth, Wind and Fire parties on September 21st makes for a great excuse for music lovers and fun lovers alike to get together. "September" was a #1 hit for the group upon its release in 1978 and has since been featured heavily in movies, television and even a Subway commercial. It's the song that keeps on giving and helps us eat fresh.

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