Bob Miranda of the Happenings recalls that he and the other members of the group considered the original version of “See You in September”, which was “sort of a slow Cha-Cha [to be] a great song and kind of a bad record. We always looked for that. If you want to revise something and put your own sound to it, I think you should look for a great song that was not a great record.”
Recorded in the spring of 1966, the Happenings’ version of “See You in September” was produced by Bob Crewe for the B.T. Puppy label, though the label credits the producer to “Bright Tunes Productions.”
The song’s arrangement—by Herb Bernstein—recalled both the recordings of the Tokens (who owned B. T. Puppy) and the Four Seasons. Breaking out in Boston, where the track reached the Top Ten that June, “See You in September” accrued enough national support to enter the Billboard Hot 100 that July to reach that chart’s Top Ten the third week of August 1966. Despite peaking at #3 the first week of September 1966, the single had enough staying power to remain in the Top Ten throughout the rest of the month.
That December, the Happenings were awarded a Gold disc for “See You in September”‘s selling a million units. The single became a hit in Brazil, appearing at #1 on the chart for Rio de Janeiro in January 1967. In June 1967 the Happenings were invited to participate in the Sanremo Music Festival, where they performed it in Italian as “Aria de settembre”.