Ahhh September, at last! I love September; back in the day it marked the transition from the lazy days of summer back to the hustle and bustle of fall. Life speeds up, social activity increases as school started for another year.
This reminds me of the song “See you in September” sang by the Happenings back in 1966. It was on the playlist when I was just starting my top 40 DJ career. I know it now, but didn’t back then that The Happenings version was a cover. The Tempos recorded it in 1959 and 1962 The Quotations recorded it and Shelley Fabres released it on her album “The Things We Did Last Summer.” Also recording "September" were The Chiffons in ’63 and ’66. “See you in September” is another sterling example of “Brill Building” music written by Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards. According to Edwards they wrote the song in a single day. ”I think probably by two in the afternoon we got the song finished. It needed to be written; it was like boiling inside of us." The Happenings 1966 version was produced by Bob Crewe who wrote many of the Four Seasons songs and recorded a couple of songs that charted as “The Bob Crewe Generation.”
To me “See you in September” captured perfectly the sweet isolation of summer when high school lovers were separated by school vacation and family trips. Now, safely back in school daily contact with your significant other is re-established and the romance, put on hold for 3 months is resumed in earnest. Back to school was sometimes scary, because contrary to the old saying, absence does not always make the heart grow fonder. The first few weeks could be trying times for teenagers in love. I do believe there were more breakups in the first few weeks of school than at any other time of the year.
Back in ’66, I was doing the all night show on WCOS. I remember getting more calls at the station from broken-hearted teenagers during that month than any other. Sometimes, those conversations lasted for hours. Break up time is sleepless time. When I transitioned to the evening show at the Doug Broome’s Drive-In Restaurant the next year the trend continued with more young girls with tears in their eyes and hearts in hand as they brought requests and dedications for their lost loves. The guys were a little more subtle not admitting the hurt. Sometimes they were angry and wrote things in their dedications that I knew they would regret later. When that happened I did my best to reword those dedications to take the sting out. I could tell they really didn’t want to say what they wrote. You know, not one guy ever came back and complained, but several thanked me later for the changes.
“See you in September” was both a promise and a threat. You could see the joy in the eyes of the couples that made the transition and the pain in the faces of those that didn’t. I guess from a relationship point of view, for high school and college aged couples, September is more of a transitional month than January. As you get older and relationships no longer face the gap of summer away from school, the angst of September fades.
But, Every time I hear “See you in September” or play it on the radio, I remember the anticipation and trepidation of the Septembers of my youth. It is almost like it was yesterday. Oh MY!