Today in History: Sweet September

There are many songs that feature the word “September” in the title and as a theme—”September Song,” of course, and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “The September of My Years,” “Miss September,” “September” (Earth, Wind, & Fire). All of us together can probably name several dozen September songs. Each one represents a different reason for crafting a song with September in the title and as a theme.

Here is one other, Bill McGuffie’s “Sweet September,” in a 1963 recording by pianist Bill Evans (video after the jump):

 
It is from an album called Bill Evans Plays the Theme from The V.I.P.s and Other Great Songs, and the arranger, Claus Ogerman, and producer really attempted to suffocate the track: they threw everything at it, including sleigh bells, Ogerman’s own string orchestra, and a choir. At first, that was all I could hear, the “Mantovani treatment” that pegs this recording not only as from 1963 but recorded specifically in the spring of that year. Every bit of Easy Listening pop music recorded in that era wound up with many strings recorded on a single track, as if the strings were angels’ voices telling us what to feel and how to feel it. (We should feel bland, and blandly.)

But Evans’ piano slices through the pablum of the lush strings with a spare energy and even a real, sweet (as opposed to bland) optimism.

* * * *
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day:

 
* * * *
World War II officially started on this date in 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland under a false claim that Polish troops had attacked a German radio station.

* * * *
Once upon a time, the passenger pigeon was one of the most abundant bird species in the world; it is believed that the species accounted for up to 25% of all birds in North America in the nineteenth century. That abundance led to over-hunting, which along with deforestation led to a sharp decrease in the bird species population in the late part of that century. By the time the decline in population was noticed, it was too late. On this date in 1914, the last living passenger pigeon on the planet, a bird named “Martha,” died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.

* * * *
On this date in 1983, the Soviet Union shot down a civilian airliner, Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a 747 that was carrying 269 passengers and crew, including a member of the U.S. House Of Representatives, Larry McDonald. The flight originated in New York City and was due in Seoul, South Korea; lacking GPS because the technology was reserved for military planes only at the time and still in development, the plane wandered off-course and ventured over Soviet territory. Two missiles destroyed the plane; what wreckage that remained was not found until 1991.

* * * *
King Louis XIV of France died on this date in 1715. He had been king for 72 years and 110 days, since the age of 4. Eero Saarinen died 55 years ago today.

* * * *
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born 120 years ago today. Richard Farnsworth was born on this date in 1920. Yvonne De Carlo was born on this date in 1922. Rocky Marciano was born on this date in 1923. Art Pepper was born on this date in 1925. Conway Twitty was born on this date in 1933. Governor Ann Richards was born in 1933 on this date.

* * * *
George Maharis is 88. Seiji Ozawa is 81. Alan M. Dershowitz is 78. Lily Tomlin is 77 today. Barry Gibb is 70 today. He has a new album out. “Jive Talkin'” from 2014:

 
Billy Blanks is 61. Gloria Estefan is 59. Kenny Mayne is 57. Padma Lakshmi is 46.

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One comment

  1. loisajay · September 1

    I immediately thought of “See You in September” by The Happenings. yeah, I am a different era than you….Oh, thank you for Jive Talkin’–that was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

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