This edition of Anatomy Of A Song features a classic tune that hits the target in a couple of ways. First and most obvious, “September Song” names a month that is close by. But what makes it really perfect for the Geezer Music Club is that it’s a song that was originally an old man’s lament.
The guy who introduced the song in a 1938 Broadway musical was no spring chicken himself. Canadian-born Walter Huston was in his fifties at that time, and already a renowned actor (and founder of a show biz dynasty) when he was offered the lead in Knickerbocker Holiday. Although he wasn’t much of a vocalist, he insisted on a solo song in the show and the producers hired Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson to write it.
The Broadway show was not a huge success, and the song itself was seldom recorded by others in subsequent years. But when a recording of his singing performance was later featured in the 1950 romantic film September Affair, it found new life and became a best-selling record. Unfortunately, Huston had died earlier that year (as had Kurt Weill).
In the years after, “September Song” became a pop standard, although modern crooners like Sinatra and Tony Bennett usually sang different lyrics to play down the geezer aspects a little. In fact, it has also been recorded by a lot of female singers too. Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald both made outstanding versions, and even Lotte Lenya made a record of the song — but that only seems right, because she was married to its composer for many years.