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Allee Willis, co-writer of September, Boogie Wonderland and the ‘Friends’ theme, dead at 72


Jamie McCarthy/FilmMagicSongwriter Allee Willis, who was the brilliant musical mind behind generations of memorable hits, has died at age 72.

Willis suffered a fatal heart attack on Christmas Eve.  Her partner, Prudence Fentron, shared the sad news with a photo on Instagram.

“Rest In Boogie Wonderland,” the caption reads, alongside the photo of Willis standing in front of the iconic Motown sign in Detroit, Michigan. 

“Boogie Wonderland” was one of several hits Willis co-wrote with Earth, Wind & Fire. The others include “September” and “In the Stone.”

One of Willis’ most notable co-writes was the upbeat riff and chart-dominating Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There For You,” which was recorded by the pop duo The Rembrandts.

Willis won Grammys for her contributions to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack and the original cast album for the Broadway production of The Color Purple.  Among her other hits: The 1983 Pointer Sisters hit “Neutron Dance,” and 1987’s “What Have I Done to Deserve This,” by the Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield

Willis’ songs were also recorded by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Toni Basil, Sister Sledge, Patti LaBelle, Al Jarreau, Bryan Adams, and Brenda Russell.  Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.

Earth, Wind & Fire tweeted, “Allee Willis was a one-of-a-kind creative genius. Her love, spirit and artistry are forever woven into the fabric and legacy of Earth, Wind & Fire. She will be sorely missed. Rest in Love.”

The Pointer Sisters tweeted, “Hit making songwriter ALLEE WILLIS has passed away. Condolences to friends, family and fans. Gratitude & respect for her work & fun, festive & artistic personality. Among some of the songs of hers we recorded was our oh so fun & loved NEUTRON DANCE.”

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