Quote of the Day: September Song

 

File:Leaf leaves branch maple autumn nightshot studio.jpgOh, it’s a long, long while
From May to December,
And the days grow short
When you reach September….

Well, here we are again.  Almost at the autumnal equinox (which happens this year on September 22), that time of year when the Sun hangs directly above the equator and day and night (which have been getting–respectively–shorter and longer since June’s solstice day) are of equal length.

It’s all downhill from here.  We’ll have fewer and fewer hours of daylight, and more and more darkness, until the third week of December, and then–light will come again.

Pretty much like life.  And death.  And life.  And an observation that’s been made by many others waxing poetical over the years.

September Song was the product of a successful collaboration between Maxwell Anderson (who wrote the lyrics) and Kurt Weill (who wrote the music), and first appeared in the Broadway musical Knickerbocker Holiday in 1938.  The play is an adaptation of Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York, and has a strong anti-fascist political message which was considerably toned down in the subsequent movie starring Nelson Eddy.  The play’s star, Walter Huston–who had a background in vaudeville–had agreed to accept the role only on the condition that he would be performing a romantic number, and September Song was the hurried result of Anderson’s and Weill’s efforts to accommodate Huston’s limited vocal abilities.

The song proved the most popular part of the play, took on a life of its own, and has since been covered by artists of all generations and genres.

Here, starting with Walter Huston’s own version, are a few of them:

A great many songs have been written about September.  Do you have a favorite?

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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    The patriarch of the Huston acting family, father of John, grandfather of Angelica and Danny. “Limited vocal abilities” is a very generous appraisal.

    Angelica sang “September Song” on NBC’s short lived but cult favorite Smash. She did it much better.

    • #1
  2. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    September by Earth Wind and Fire. Because my baby girl was born 9/21/2000.

    • #2
  3. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    Do you remember, 21st night of September?

    Love was changing the mind of pretenders While chasing the clouds away

    Our hearts were ringing In the key that our souls were singing

    As we danced in the night Remember

    How the stars stole the night away

    • #3
  4. James Hageman Moderator
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    https://youtu.be/fk-jh3xocd0

    i think Frank wins this one, though Willie and Sarah are close behind.

    • #4
  5. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    • #5
  6. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):
    That was one of the many Broadway classics our music/chorus teacher had us singing in high school in the 60s.

     

    • #6
  7. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Not really about September, but I like the lyric:

    “Now the days are getting longer,

    And the nights are getting colder”

    Which explains January and February.

    • #7
  8. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    September by Earth Wind and Fire. Because my baby girl was born 9/21/2000.

    Great choice.  Happy anticipated (very important) birthday to your daughter!

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    James Hageman (View Comment):

    https://youtu.be/fk-jh3xocd0

    Dina Washington–September in the Rain.  I didn’t know this one.  Lovely, thanks.

    • #9
  10. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Patrick McClure (View Comment:

    I love this song, although it is impossible for me to hear it without thinking of one of my favorite Rush Limbaugh parodies:

    • #10
  11. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    September When It Comes.  Johnny and Roseanne Cash (he previously recorded this with June Carter), but later did so with Roseanne, who wrote the song with John Leventhal.  It was Johnny Cash’s last duet with his daughter.

    • #11
  12. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    This post makes me melancholy.  My oldest did her dissertation on Weill and she featured this song in a recital of his work.  I knew it, of course, but knew nothing of its history, that it was written by a German Jew escaped, first to Paris, then London, then NYC as Hitler warred with “the world” and attempted his final solution.  I was first introduced to the song with Willie’s bare lights “Stardust” album, a record I heard playing at the Harvard Book Store record store, on vinyl.  It was brilliant and I was taken.  I had just finished my MBA, was working for Deloitte and shortly after that, I met my wife (40 years next month), who as it turns out, was cast in the ingenue role in “The Fantastiks” playing at a local rep. company.  It was a paid gig and she was great in it.  

    Now, 40 years later, the words suit me.  

    This link takes you to my daughter’s Doctoral Lecture/Recital.  If you scroll down, there is an audio link to “September Song”.  As a bonus, if you click the audio link in the second part of the recital, you can hear “Alabama Song.”  (The Doors did it.)  It starts at the 4:45 mark.  I sing the lead!

    • #12
  13. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    This post makes me melancholy. My oldest did her dissertation on Weill and she featured this song in a recital of his work. I knew it, of course, but knew nothing of its history, that it was written by a German Jew escaped, first to Paris, then London, then NYC as Hitler warred with “the world” and attempted his final solution. I was first introduced to the song with Willie’s bare lights “Stardust” album, a record I heard playing at the Harvard Book Store record store, on vinyl. It was brilliant and I was taken. I had just finished my MBA, was working for Deloitte and shortly after that, I met my wife (40 years next month), who as it turns out, was cast in the ingenue role in “The Fantastiks” playing at a local rep. company. It was a paid gig and she was great in it.

    Now, 40 years later, the words suit me.

    This link takes you to my daughter’s Doctoral Lecture/Recital. If you scroll down, there is an audio link to “September Song”. As a bonus, if you click the audio link in the second part of the recital, you can hear “Alabama Song.” (The Doors did it.) It starts at the 4:45 mark. I sing the lead!

    This comment makes me happy.  (Sorry, @dougkimball, I know you’re experiencing less cheerful thoughts.)  But it’s the sharing of memories, emotions, thoughts, and experience like this that makes this site so special to me.  I write what’s sort of a “fluff” post, pleasant enough, but not terribly deep, and you come up with this?  Thank you, and God bless.

    • #13
  14. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    First September song that sprang to mind…

    .

    • #14
  15. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    It’s possible to look forward to September . . .

     

    • #15
  16. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    First September song that sprang to mind.

    Great choice. I am a fan of the Bangles’ cover of this song too: 

     

     

     

     

    .

     

    • #16
  17. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    And Willie Nelson’s version of September Song is just dripping with ache and melancholy. Which is why it’s great. 

     

     

     

     

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    The September of My Years.  Another one by Sinatra.  I just turned 67, and perhaps that’s why this one passed through my mind…

    The warm September of my years
    The golden, warm September of my years.

     

    • #18
  19. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    • #19