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09/19/2014 12:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Do You Remember? A Micro History Of 'The Happiest-Sounding Song In The World'

"Do you remember?" kicks off the classic Earth, Wind & Fire hit, "September" -- a song that's practically impossible to forget. But just in case fans wanted to know more about the wedding staple as it enters its 36th year this fall, the song's co-writer, Allee Willis, spoke to NPR's "Morning Edition" on Friday, and gave something of a mini history of what she called "the happiest-sounding song in the world."

"As a white Jewish girl getting a break, you could not get better than Earth, Wind & Fire," Willis recalled to Dan Charnas for NPR.

As Willis noted, singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams revealed during his tearful interview with Oprah Winfrey in April that Earth, Wind & Fire was among his biggest influences. The "Happy" creator played his inspiration track for Winfrey's audience on his iPad: It was "September."

Willis, who also co-wrote the theme song for "Friends" -- "I'll Be There for You," performed by The Rembrandts -- recalled bandleader Maurice White offering her the chance to co-write the song, though some of the most memorable lines Willis struggled with. One part of "September" that didn't fill her with joy: White's nonsense lyric, "Ba-dee-ya."

White's response to the word being gibberish: "Who the fuck cares?"

"September" (which, despite its name, was actually released in November of 1978), went on to sell more than a million copies for the Chicago-based band, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard chart.

As for the specific date mentioned in the song, Willis said the 21st day of September has no special significance.

Still, it's something we all remember.

Listen to full history of "September" in Willis' interview at NPR:

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