Detroit’s Allee Willis Comes Home

Celebrating the 21st Night of September with the Detroiter Who Wrote the Song On It

Allee Willis

Detroiter Allee Willis spent her childhood on the lawn outside Hitsville USA listening to the music of Motown streaming out from the studios. Music was the love of her life, but, after graduating from Mumford High School in 1965, family heartbreak lead her to Wisconsin where she studied journalism and advertising.

How she became one of the country’s most prolific songwriters is a long and winding story, so we’ll cut to the part where she did.

In 2015, the Washington Post published an article entitled “Allee Willis is the most interesting woman you’ve never heard of.”

In the four years since that article’s been published she’s received many accolades, but not nearly as many as someone who’s profoundly shaped American pop culture deserves.

Have you ever been to a wedding? That song “September”—she co-wrote it with Earth Wind & Fire. Maybe you’ve never seen an episode of Friends, but you can probably recognize the catchy jingle (even if you don’t want to)—surprise! She wrote that too.

That was after she wrote the song Neutron Dance for the Pointer Sisters, landing her a Best Soundtrack Grammy in 1985 for Beverly Hills Cop

She also co-wrote the musical, The Color Purple. The one Oprah produced. No big deal.

We’re missing something. There is so much we’re missing: Museum of Kitsch, collaboration with Jax Anderson of Flint Eastwood, that time she wrote a theme song for the City of Detroit.

What else? This Saturday, September 21st, she’s celebrating all of it at Willis Show Bar, and we’re so there for it because Allee Willis is arguably one of the most interesting people to come out of Detroit ever.

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