"Float On"'s dreamy quality is due in part to the fact that the idea for the song came to Detroit Emeralds member James Mitchell Jr. while he was catching some "zzzz"s. Leaping from his bed, Mitchell grabbed the tape recorder he kept by his bed to record songs that sprang into his head. Excited about the idea, he woke up Marvin Willis with a seven a.m. phone call. Mitchell, along with the rest of the Detroit Emeralds (who had early-'70s hits with "Do Me Right," "You Want It, You Got It," and "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)"), purchased the Emerald Lounge in their home base of Detroit, MI. On Sundays, the club featured new talent. One group, the Junior Floaters caught their attention. The group's lineup was James' younger brother Paul Mitchell, Larry Cunningham, Ralph Mitchell (no relation), Charles Clark, and Jonathan Murray. James Mitchell Jr. decided to collaborate on songs for the singing group with Willis and Arnold Ingram. After six months, they had enough material for an album. Trying to come up with a concept for the album, Mitchell noticed the similarities between the group and the young Temptations and the way the women responded to each member of the group. He came up with the idea of having a section in a song in which each of the singers would introduce himself. The group now known as the Floaters were signed to Woody Wilson's Fee Records, debuting with the single "I Am So Glad I Took My Time." Later Fee signed a manufacturing and distribution deal with Los Angeles-based ABC Records (also on the label's roster were fellow Detroiters the Dramatics). "Float On" was tracked in a garage recording studio called Pac 3. The session featured guitarists Dennis Coffey ("Scorpio") and Kenny Goodman, bassist Guy Hudson, drummer Arthur "Buster" Marbury, percussionist Lorenzo Brown, vibes player Jack Brokensha, flutist Larry Nazero, clarinetist/synth player Gary Schunk, pianist Ingram, and trumpeter Willis. The million-selling "Float On" topped the U.K. charts before parking at number one R&B for six weeks and number two pop for two weeks in summer 1977. Their debut LP, The Floaters, went platinum holding the number one R&B spot for three weeks and peaking at number ten pop. The Floaters returned to Pac 3 to record a new version of "Float On" with Full Force for the Brooklyn-based group's summer 2001 TVT debut album, Still Standing.