In 1978, EWF negotiated a new contract with Columbia that gave them their own label, ARC. The first fruit was The Best of Earth Wind & Fire, Vol. 1, and "September," a new single that soared to Number One on the R&B charts. The track represented White's talent for writing joyously optimistic soul anthems. At the song's center are the soaring Phenix Horns and Philip Bailey’s falsetto vocalese closing the song by riffing, "Bow dee ow dee ow dee." It was a throwback reference to the days of doo-wop, White told Billboard magazine in 1979. "My principle for producing is to pay attention to the roots of America, which is doo-wop music."