Allee Willis, who wrote ‘Friends’ theme song, ‘September,’ dead at 72

by Editorial Team

Songwriter Allee Willis, who penned the iconic “Friends” theme song and hits for Earth, Wind & Fire, the Pointer Sisters and Pet Shop Boys, died Tuesday.

She was 72.

“Rest In Boogie Wonderland,” her partner, Prudence Fenton, wrote on Instagram.

The two-time Grammy winner grew up in Detroit and moved to New York to work for Columbia and Epic Records as a copywriter before moving on to write her own songs, including “September” and “Neutron Dance.”

Other collaborations include Bob Dylan, James Brown and Herbie Hancock, according to her website.

Willis also co-authored the music for Oprah Winfrey’s “The Color Purple” Broadway show, which was nominated for a Grammy best musical show album in 2006 and won for best musical theatre album for the revival in 2016, as well as a 2006 Tony nomination for original musical score.

She also won a Grammy in 1986 for best soundtrack album background score for “Beverly Hills Cop.”

But it was “I’ll Be There for You,” performed by The Rembrandts and written alongside “Friends” creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, that became her best known song and earned her an Emmy nomination in 1995.

Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018 with more than 60 million record sales to her name.

“I just woke up Christmas morning and saw this heartbreaking news,” Nile Rodgers wrote on Instagram. “Dearest Allee, your family and friends have my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences. Your music will continue to bring happiness to me and the billions of sisters and brothers you’ll forever touch in this universe. RIP, love and happiness.”

“Gratitude & respect for her work & fun, festive & artistic personality,” the Pointer Sisters tweeted.

Willis is survived by her brother Kent, sister Marlin and niece Mandy Becker.


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