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Song of the month club: Calendar hits

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Listening to the radio often brings odd questions to mind. Just last week, Earth Wind & Fire were singing their classic hit "September" on my local radio station which led to the question, how many songs with the name of the month in the title are there? Is there one for each month? This became a question bandied about the office, each co-worker tossing in two cents and song titles around the water cooler. There were the cheaters who tried to toss in things like "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel, or "March of the Pigs" by Nine Inch Nails, to which one must cry foul. Those do not count for they are not months. Rules are so difficult for some people.

In researching the question, I discovered that actress and singer Julie London released an album called "Calendar Girl" in 1956 which had a song for every month. For trivia buffs, or simply those with an interest, London was married to Dragnet actor Jack Webb. Both had a love of jazz music. London would later marry actor/musician Bobby Troup, and Webb, nice guy that he was, would cast both in his television series, "Emergency!", which ran for seven years in the 70s. London released over 30 albums during the 50s and 60s.

Some months have more songs sung about them than others. Not surprisingly, the beautiful month of April gets the most love and affection from musicians. Ol blue eyes, Frank Sinatra sang at least two songs about April; "I'll Remember April" in 1945 and "April in Paris" in 1954. March is the unfortunate month with the least adoration.

Check out our month by month list by clicking on the photos above to find some of the more notable songs about months. Before you do, see how many months you can think of a song for. No cheating!

January
January Electrola

January

There were but a few notable songs about the month of January. Among them are Gilbert O'Sullivan's "January Girl" in 1972, the Goo Goo Dolls "January Friend" in 1998, and "June in January" sung by both Bing Crosby in 1934 and later by Dean Martin in 1953.

Scotland's early 70's pop band, Pilot, which featured former members of the Bay City Rollers, had a monster hit with the song "Magic" in 1974, but one year later they had a lesser hit with the track, "January".

Sir Elton John achieved moderate success with his 1997 album, "The Big Picture" for the hit, "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" which took the album to #9 on the Billboard charts, Buried near the end of that record was the track, "January"

February
February Getty Images

February

One wouldn't expect there to be many songs about the shortest month, but there are quite a few notable tracks. Among them are "February" by Dar Williams, of which the singer hails as one her favorite songs she's written, stating the song, ""kept on evolving into, not only what I wanted to say, but what I wanted to say and didn't even know was in there." She liked the way the song "kept on breaking its own rules in a way that art is all about."

Other notable cuts include Lou Reed's "Xmas in February" from 1989, and the Frankie Goes To Hollywood track, "One February Friday" which appeared on a special remastered 2000 version of the band's 1984 debut album, "Welcome to the Pleasure Dome" which featured the monster hit, "Relax".

Foo Fighters broke out big with their sophomore album "The Colour and the Shape" in 1997. Among the tracks on this record was "February Stars", which was not among the four singles on the album. A variation of the song was recorded in some form for a Nirvana album that never came to fruition.

March
March Getty Images

March

As a month, March may have received the least amount of love from musicians over the years, but when the attention was given it was by multi-platinum recording artists.

When Journey added vocalist Steve Perry for their fourth album, "Infinity" in 1978, in blew the "Winds of March". The song, coincidentally was co-written by Journey's former vocalist Robert Fleischman along with Perry and fellow vocalist (and keyboardist), Gregg Rolie.

Across the pond, New Wave of British Heavy Metal upstarts, Iron Maiden opened their 1981 sophomore album, "Killers" with the instrumental track, "The Ides of March". This was the band's first album with current guitarist Adrian Smith, and the last to feature original vocalist, Paul Di'Anno. It is also the only Iron Maiden album to feature two instrumental tracks. "Ghengis Khan" is the other from this record.

April
April Getty Images

April

April is a big month for inspiration it would appear, as artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Soul Asylum, Doris Day, Dionne Warwick and Sam Brown have sung its graces.

Legendary British rockers, "Deep Purple" released "April" in 1968. American rockers, Three Dog Night had a top 20 hit with "Pieces of April" in 1972.

Reggae rockers, Sublime recorded "April 29, 1992 (Miami)" in 1996, and Prince released "Sometimes it Snows in April" in 1986.

Iconic singer/songwriters, Simon & Garfunkel offered up "April She Will Come" on their 1966 breakthrough release, "Sounds of Silence". The less than two-minute song bears structural resemblance to a traditional English rhyme, "Cuckoo, cuckoo, what do you do?", a phenology of the Common Cuckoo from April through September.

May
May Getty Images

May

Grammy Award winning jazz crooner, Michael BublĂ© released "End of May" as bonus only track on the Hollywood Edition of his 2009 "Crazy Love" album.

Other notable May songs include; The Bee Gees "First of May" from 1969, Arcade Fire's single "Month of May" from 2010, Peter, Paul & Mary's "Autumn to May" from 1962, and AC/DC's "Stormy May Day" from their most recent 2008 studio album, "Black Ice".

June
June Getty Images

June

June is another of those months often overlooked by songwriters, but after a thorough perusal of the old vinyl collection a few tunes emerged. Mr. "Year of the Cat", Al Stewart released "The Last Day of June, 1934" on his 1973 album, "Past, Present and Future". Forty years later, Hank Williams, Sr.'s granddaughter, Holly Williams would release the song, "Waiting on June" on her third album, "The Highway".

Next we travel back to The Kinks fourth album, "Face to Face" which featured the song, "Rainy Day in June". The album took a while to release as the band was in a battle with its label, Pye. Singer Ray Davies was never happy with the album's psychedelic cover art which he considered inappropriate for the record.

Of course we cannot forget The Belfast Cowboy--Mr. Van Morrison. The legendary singer/songwriter was well into his storied career when he released his 30th album, "What's Wrong with This Picture?" in 2003. The album won a Grammy nomination and featured the track, "Evening in June".

July
July Getty Images

July

Next to April, July is probably the most sung about month of the year. The likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Charlie Rich and Freddie Cannon have all sung her praises.

Among the more notable offerings are The Dixie Chicks 2000 Top 10 hit, "Cold Day in July" from their mammoth 10x platinum selling "Fly" album. It was the record's fourth single and had been previously recorded by Suzy Bogguss and Joy Lynn White.

"4th of July" was an instrumental track on U2's 1984 album "The Unforgettable Fire". The band has never performed it live.

English rockers, Uriah Heep recorded their hit "July Morning" for their third album, 1971's "Look at Yourself". The song has become the inspiration for a Bulgarian Hippie tradition, known eponymously as July Morning. Fellow musician, Manfred Mann, according to the album's liner notes, "appears for the first time with his Moog synthesizer". Manfred Mann's Earth Band would later have a couple of huge hits with songs written by the the man below, including, "Blinded By the Light". 

The Boss, Bruce Springsteen released his own track, "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" on his second album, 1973's, "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle".
 

August
August Getty Images

August

August songs offered up a few sentimental and poignant moments. "August 7, 4:15" is a song from Jon Bon Jovi's 1997 solo album "Destination Anywhere". The track was inspired by the death of Katherine Korzilius, the daughter of Bon Jovi's tour manager at the time.Tragically the little girl was murdered: A crime which is as yet unsolved. The child's story was on a 1998 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

Punk rockers NOFX offered up "August 8" in 1996, while Counting Crows named their debut album, "August and Everything After". However, the song of the same name did not appear on the record, though the lyrics are in the artwork. It would be a decade before the song would surface.

British rockers, Jethro Tull released "Stuck in the August Rain" in 1995, and Van Morrison gave us "Cold Wind in August" in 1977.

 

September
September RCA

September

Earth, Wind & Fire's 1978 hit, "September" was the inspiration for the list you are now reading. The song was a #1 R&B hit and a Top 10 Billboard success.The song has appeared in movies as varied as; as The Ringer, Soul Food, Dan in Real Life, Lost & Found, Get Over It, Night at the Museum, and Last Vegas.

Former American Idol Chris Daughtry wrote his own "September" song, which appeared on Daughtry's 2009 sophomore album, "Leave This Town". The song has sold over 400,000 digital downloads.

Other tracks from the entrance to fall month include; "September Sun" by Type O Negative, "Come September" by Natalie Imbruglia, and the 1980 hit, "September Morn" by Neil Diamond.

October
October Getty Images

October

Some of October's odes include "My October Symphony" by Pet Shop Boys, "October 26" by The Pretty Things, and the the beautifully powerful ballad, "Leaving October Behind" from the debut album from Sons of the Desert.

Troubled English singer and songwriter, Amy Winehouse delivered "October Song" on her 2003 debut album, "Frank".

Irleand's U2 named its 1981 sophomore album, "October" which featured the hits "Fire" and "Gloria".

November
November Geffen

November

November is one of the easist months to rattle off a song for thanks to a massive power ballad by Guns N' Roses. The band's 1992 "Use Your Illusion" album featured the Top 3 hit, "November Rain", which remains the longest song to ever break the Billboard Top 10. Rumor has it, vocalist Axl Rose had been working on the song for at least a decade before it was finally recorded. That explains why he cannot get a new Guns N' Roses album finished.

Other notable songs for the month include; "November Spawned a Monster" by Morrissey in 1990. "Gone Till November" by Wyclef Jean in 1998, "November" by Emerson Drive in 2004, and the country, war story ballad, "8th of November" by Big & Rich in 2005. The song features a spoken intro from Kris Kristofferson.

December
December Warner/Curb

December

The holiday season has a plethora of fantastic songs that celebrate the momentousness of December. A few of them are gems that actually carry the month in the title. Among them are Kate Bush's "December Will Be Magic Again" (1980), Merle Haggard's "If We Can Make it Through December" (1973), Stevie Wonder's "I Can See the Sun in Late December" (1975), Collective Soul's "December" (1995), and Counting Crows' "A Long December" (1996).

Linkin Park released "My December" as a bonus track on their 2000 debut album, "Hybrid Theory".

Among all the December songs, my personal favorite remains, The Four Seasons 1975 hit "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)”. The song was a #1 hit for the band which saw lead singer, Frankie Valli take on a secondary role on the track. The song was originally about the repeal of prohibition with the title of "December 5th, 1933," but the lyrics were changed at the urgings of Valli and lyricist Judy Parker. The song became a nostalgic remembrance of a young man's first affair with a woman.

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