Months Of The Year In Song: Sad September

I can’t believe I’ve reached the age I have, without noticing the names given to the last four months of the year come from the Latin words for seven, eight, nine and ten: Septem, Octo, Novem and Decem. It’s so obvious now but of course at first glance it makes no sense as we have 12 months in our calendar and those months find themselves sitting at ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth positions. That would be because the first calendar was a Roman one, and they liked the decimal system of doing things in tens. Their calendar year started in March but of course the summer and winter months would soon become misplaced so additional days belonging to no particular month were added as an “unorganised winter”, allowing things (nature) to restore to their proper place.

In time the Julian and then Gregorian calendars took over which included January and February, and the introduction of an extra day every four years (a leap year) to more closely approximate the 365.2422-day solar year determined by the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. The mathematically astute amongst you will notice that every so often another adjustment has to be made to keep things in line, but the last time that happened was in the year 1900 and the next time it’ll happen will be the year 2100, so not going to be during my lifetime.

But why am I rabbiting on about calendars? Well, I had prewarned you I intended to start a new series featuring songs relating to months of the year and despite this month having not turned out as I had expected here in the UK, what with the passing of our monarch, there is still time to list the great suggestions put forward for September. As I’ve already written about the Earth, Wind & Fire song September as part of my Wheel of the Year in Song series (link here), I’ll concentrate on new finds.

The first song I’m going to include is September Gurls by Big Star, that suggestion put forward by both Charity Chic and C from Sun Dried Sparrows. This is a new song for me, and to be honest, until I saw the band pop up on some of the other more serious music blogs, I had always assumed Big Star were a pop outfit, lumping them in with Big Fun and Five Star! My bad, but thanks guys for drawing my attention to a band from my favourite era who are very much in my wheelhouse. This song often talked about by fans as “the greatest number-one song that never charted”.

The next suggestion comes from Khayem who is a relatively new follower of this blog but his recent comments have been much appreciated. We could probably include this one again in 11 months time because of the title, but here is August & September by The The. Powerful lyrics there from Matt Johnson.

Another relatively new follower to this blog is Lizza, who is the same age as me and seems to have led a bit of a parallel life, enjoying the same songs in similar contexts. She first mentioned these two suggestions last year when I wrote a post about the Autumnal Equinox and Harvest Moon, which happened to coincide that year. Here are her own words:

“I love September Song, J P Cooper’s 2017 tale of teen romance, and also a much earlier September Song, first recorded by Walter Huston in 1938. It was one of my mum’s favourite songs – it was featured in a 1950s film, September Affair, which she saw on one of her first visits to the cinema after she moved to London to begin her career as a teacher … The singer admits that he’s lost a tooth, and is a little lame – but on the plus side: “I have a little money and I have a little fame”. September Song has been recorded by many other artists since Walter Huston, from Frank Sinatra to Jeff Lynne, but I think they all leave out the reference to the lost tooth and the lameness!”

A couple of great September songs there and the first one takes me right back to my teenage years. Both sad songs however as many that mention the month of September invariably are.

To finish off I’m going to share a couple of songs from opposite ends of the spectrum. The first by Green Day and the second by Julie London who made an entire album of songs, each of them featuring a different month of the year. The Green Day song was an ode to the songwriter’s father, who died in the month of September. Julie’s song is a standard and has been recorded by many others, but again a sad song, this time about nostalgia (first shared by CC who liberated the album from one of the many fine charity shops in his locale and created a whole series out of it!).

Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day:

September In The Rain by Julie London:

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I always feel a bit sad when we hit September and it seems I’m not alone as the month does seem to be a bit of a metaphor for the passing of time and the end of things (for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere). Others however, like my daughter, who enjoy wrapping up in their winter woollies and sitting around roaring fires, would beg to differ.

Whatever camp you fall into, there certainly seem to be plenty of songs out there featuring the month of September. Will there be as many about the month of October? Not sure yet, but hopefully some of you will be able to help me out. As ever, suggestions would be most welcome.

Until next time…

September In The Rain Lyrics
(Song by Al Dubin/Harry Warren)

The leaves of brown came tumbling down
Remember, in September, in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying ember
That September in the rain

To every word of love I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it’s still September
That September in the rain

To every word of love I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it is still September
That September in the rain
That September that brought the pain
That September in the rain

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

22 thoughts on “Months Of The Year In Song: Sad September”

  1. Not surprised to read that Big Star float your boat, but very surprised that, name confusion excepted, they’d not really crossed your radar before. I’m sure someone will have told you, or you’ve since discovered for yourself, that BS main dude was Alex Chilton who’ll you’ll know from his time in The Box Tops (of ‘The Letter’ fame, which I’m pretty sure you’ve featured before).

    I say all this simply because I missed your post asking for September suggestions, and also because I’m stalling for time whilst I try and think of something for October…nope…I got nothing (yet…)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Jez, I think you’ll remember when I first started this blog, I was only familiar with chart music and what had appeared on ToTP back in the day. Over the last few years I’ve learnt a lot from the other blogs, and have widened my horizons somewhat so I am now familiar with Big Star and Alex Chilton, but wouldn’t have been seven years ago. I’ve never featured the Box Tops ‘The Letter’ around here, but I have noticed it being shared elsewhere (you?) and left comments. A fine song.

      October doesn’t lend itself as well to appearing in song lyrics – less words to rhyme with perhaps? October songs do exist however so I’m going to have to listen to a few and see if they are worth including. If you find anything, you know where I am.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard only good things about Big Star but wasn’t really familiar with them at all as they never graced our charts over here. It’s a bit of an irony that they didn’t ever make it really big, considering their name.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I stand corrected – I had a bus pass trip to Nairn with a friend not that long ago and did a CC, visited a few charity shops looking for some gems. Sadly it was all Daniel O’Donnell records!


  2. A fine selection of songs, Alyson. I have a fondness for September Song that goes back many years, though I’m not sure which was the first version I heard.

    My favourite October song is October Swimmer by JJ72. I imagine Martin likes that one too.

    Anything but “that Irish band”, as George calls them, will be fine by me…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the October suggestion. Maybe like my short-lived Solar System in Song series, I might run out of ideas fast. September, because it rhymes with remember, lends itself well to nostalgic sad songs. Some of the other months don’t rhyme with much at all so don’t crop up nearly as often in song lyrics.

      I like finding out all the trivia as well though so as with that revelation about the names of the months of the year, and the leap year adjustment, there will be plenty of new snippets to discover.


  3. I’m so glad you like the Big Star and The The songs here. I know what you mean about that certain September sadness too. It really feels like a transition – once we get to October I start to feel glad again that we’re still some distance from the depths of Winter but September is our introduction to that descent and all the more poignant for it.
    As for October songs – apart from the ‘Irish band’ I couldn’t think of anything but a quick little search (I know you’ll do one too!) uncovered a song called October Grey by the Screaming Jets, it has quite a nice Americana/REM-ish feel to it. And Amy Winehouse had a track called October Song which was apparently written in memory of her pet canary… or was it about her use of marijuana?… both have been suggested!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by C as I know you are busy.

      My summer clothes are no longer being worn and will have to be rotated soon with winter garments – I hate the in-between stage though where I haven’t come up with new outfits yet for the season, and don’t have any go-to things to put on in the morning. With no shops now locally where I can try things on before you buy, it’s all very difficult.

      No-one has mentioned my info about the names of the months yet which makes me suspect everyone else already knew about the Roman and Gregorian calendars. I enjoyed that calculation they have to do with leap years to keep things in line but maybe not everyone else is as fascinated by such trivia – I’m obviously still a numbers person at heart and think there will be more interesting trivia about the other months if I can keep this series going.

      Thanks for the suggestions – I promise not to share anything by ‘the Irish band’! I saw that Amy had an October Song but haven’t even listened to it yet so that will be for next month.


  4. For various reasons my visits here (and everywhere else come to think of it!) have been a little sporadic of late, so I missed your call for September related songs. Big Star would certainly have been high on my list of suggestions, but right at the top would’ve been ‘September Come Take This Heart Away’ by Carissa’s Wierd (yes, that’s how they spelt it!). It’s a thing of beauty, utterly drenched in melancholy. Their 2002 album ‘Song’s About Leaving’ was a big favourite at Swede Towers back in the day and comes highly recommended if you’re in the mood for a bit of a wallow!
    As for October, I have seven tracks that come to mind. I don’t want to hog the suggestions though, so I’ll just go for ‘October Song’ by The Incredible String Band, another rather melancholy selection I’m afraid! Let me know if you need more and I’ll forward the others on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Swede – hope you’re feeling a bit better now. No excuses needed for not having much time for blogging.

      As we missed your suggestion I’ll add it here in the comments boxes. It is lovely and confirms my theory that September songs are the most melancholy. Thanks for your suggestion for October and it’s one that has also been put forward by Lynchie so it’s a shoo-in.


    1. Actually not that familiar but I will be once January comes along, although looking at the lyrics it includes every month. Mike Harding is a really good friend of close relatives of Mr WIAA, and at his cousin’s wedding, the main venue became quite empty as Mike and some other musician friends did an impromptu session in another part of the building. Not sure if he sang January Man as it was November!


  5. Thank you, Alyson, for including my comments about both the September songs which are actually called September Song! It was interesting to hear the Frank Sinatra version of the 1930s September Song again, although in my view it lacks the simplicity and poignancy of the Walter Huston originally. Coincidentally, I heard the Rosemary Clooney version for the first time on the radio yesterday – I thought it was languid and lacking in emotion.

    I love the Green Day song, which I think of as very recent, so I couldn’t believe it when I looked it up and discovered it was released in 2005. The problem I have with September in the Rain is that leaves don’t turn brown and come tumbling down in September, at least not in this part of the country – it will be weeks before that happens! Also, it doesn’t usually rain much, although September 2022 has certainly been wetter than usual.

    I don’t find September sad, as I’m “there on the beach from July to the end of September”, to quote the 1974 song Beach Baby by First Class, and we have a local festival in the middle two weeks, so there’s always a lot going on. And I always set aside a day, a weekend or a week (depending on how much time and/or money I have!) to do something special for my birthday.

    I can’t think of any song featuring October. Maybe it’s because, as you say, the word “October” doesn’t rhyme with anything, or because it’s such a fast-changing month. At the start, I’m emptying sand from my beach bag and sadly putting away the summer clothes, and by the end it’s all about dark evenings and warm jumpers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for putting forward the suggestions. I was perhaps remiss in not sharing the Walter Huston one you mentioned from the film, but not too late to do that now.

      Anything from the 21st century still feels new to me – I know what you mean. As for the leaves, you are right, it will be a while until we see the autumn leaves around here too – end of October tends to be the peak time for colour and falling leaves. I always thought the song California Dreamin’ was confusing too as it’s about all the leaves being brown but then it’s about a walk on a winter’s day, so there should be no leaves at all. Poetic license from the lyric writers.

      I’m very jealous of your Septembers on the beach – I think you live at the opposite end of the country from me though so might explain it. I’ve had the winter wardrobe clothes on for a couple of weeks now. Great excuse to quote a line from Beach Baby though, takes me right back.

      I’m guessing the birthday is past now so hope you did something special this year – a belated happy birthday to you!


      1. I once went to Loch Lomond in mid-October, when the autumn colours were glorious – the leaves weren’t yet turning brown and tumbling down! That’s a good point you made about California Dreamin’ – it would have made more sense if the first line was “All the trees are bare”.

        Thank you for the birthday wishes – I’d planned a trip to London, including a tour of Buckingham Palace (booked by my sister) which not surprisingly was cancelled when the Queen died. So I postponed the trip, and instead had lots of lovely food and drink and an afternoon on the beach. It was a beautiful day and I was still in the sea at 6pm!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes think the colours up here are at their best from mid the the end of October. A few windy days in November and all the leaves blow off the trees!

          Sounds like you had a good birthday – impressed that you could be in the sea at 6pm.


  6. September is my favourite month, it evokes exactly the feelings you mentioned and is, I think – generally – a uniquely quiet and calm month in terms of the weather and, especially, the light.

    With the slowly advancing seasons that climate change appear to be bringing I guess the same can be said for a good deal of October too nowadays.

    Regarding October songs the only one that immediately comes to mind is Outubro by Azymuth. The album’s title track is very relaxing and fits the northern hemisphere September and early October vibe very well. There are no words, which you may want, and Azymuth are a southern hemisphere band which may mean they are going for a Spring feel, but I think it works for us Northerners. Apart from that I could suggest something from the Copper Family’s A Song For All Seasons, which must have something on it, probably side 3? (I haven’t listened to it for a long time so am not able to pinpoint a specific track).

    It’s good to find another blog in this twittering tiktoking age. I’m starting to read them again after a most of the year off and this could even end up with me kickstarting my own again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a bit too much going wrong in the world this September to truly appreciate the month, but yes, it can be quiet and calm with the slow turning of the leaves into their autumn hues.

      Thanks for the suggestions for October – both are new to me, so I’ll have to investigate.

      Blogging seems to be an old man’s (or woman’s) game nowadays as the youngsters seem to gravitate toward the newer platforms. It still suits me however, when I have the time. Good luck with kickstarting your own blog – go for it!


  7. Nat King Cole has a nice version of September Song. I’ve always loved the quality of his voice. As my friends and I play mostly swing music composed of jazz standards, that is a tune we enjoy calling. Something tells me we might be talking about U2 soon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bill P – yes Nat King Cole has a beautiful voice. Worth including his version too I think. Some very quaint, old-fashioned lyrics in that song but nothing wrong with that – it’s of its time. As for the U2 song, I wouldn’t be so sure about that!


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