I just read the NY Times obituary of Allee Willis, a songwriter who penned top ten hits for the Pointer Sisters, the Pet Shop Boys, and Dusty Springfield, as well as tunes for Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper, Sister Sledge, Taylor Dayne, and Toni Basil.

Her most famous work is the “Friends” TV theme song “I’ll Be There For You,” which she called “The whitest song I ever wrote.” The obit mentions that it was nominated for an Emmy, but lost to the main title theme music for “Star Trek: Voyager,” which I’m sure you’re humming as you read this.

Willis also wrote “September,” a huge 1978 hit for Earth, Wind, & Fire, which brings me to this paragraph:

She told NPR in 2014 that while she was working on the song with Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind, & Fire, she was annoyed by the recurring nonsense phrase he had written, “Ba-dee-ya.” She asked Mr. White what it meant, and he said, “Who cares?” That led her to a revelation: “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”