The Floaters

Float On

Composed by A. Ingram / James Mitchell / James Mitchell Jr. / Marvin Willis

Song Review by

"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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Float On 1977 Universal / Universal Special Products 11:46
Sounds of the Seventies: 1977 -- Take Two 1991
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:13
Slow Jams: The 70's, Vol. 1 1993
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 11:48
Lowrider Oldies, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
5:55
The Story of Soul Music 1995
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Boyz Who Souled the World 1995
Various Artists
The Hit Label
Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, Vol. 19 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 4:14
Smooth Grooves: A Sensual Collection, Vols. 1-4 1996
Various Artists
Rhino
Endless Love [Intersound] 1996
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Rock On 1977 1996
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 4:11
Biggest Summer Hits 1996
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 4:13
Rare Grooves, Vol. 2: Straight Funk 1996
Various Artists
Priority
ABC's of Soul, Vol. 3: Classics from the ABC Records Catalog 1975-1979 1996
Various Artists
Hip-O / HIPP 4:15
25 Years of Number 1 Hits, Vol. 4 1996
Various Artists
Connoisseur
Soul Hits, Vol. 1 [Universal Special Products] 1997
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 11:49
Old School Love Songs, Vol. 4 1997
Various Artists
Thump Records 11:44
Rock On: 1975-1979 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:15
Legendary R&B & Blues, Vol. 1 [MCA Special Products] 1997
Various Artists
MCA 4:01
Chart Toppers: R&B Hits of the 70s 1998
Various Artists
Priority
Solid Gold Soul: Soul Gems 1998
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:14
Rock On: From 1970 to 1979 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 4:15
Body + Soul: Love Serenade [1999] 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
40 Hits: 1975-1979 1999
Various Artists
Millennium Hits (Netherlands) 4:13
With Love [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:10
Soul Train: The Dance Years 1977 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 4:13
Body + Soul: Quiet Storm 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:13
Smooth Grooves: The Essential Collection 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 4:15
Music of the Year: 1977 2000
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:12
Old School Love Songs [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Thump Records 11:44
Blues & Soul, Vol. 5: 1976-1977 2001
Various Artists
Connoisseur 4:11
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 4:15
Lowrider Oldies, Vols. 1-9: Cruisin' Chrome Series 2001
Various Artists
Thump Records 5:55
Siesta II Sunset at Cafe Mambo, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Import / Mambolicious 4:55
Pure Slow Jams 2002
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:13
Let's Get It On [Medalist] 2002
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 4:13
Lowrider Oldies, Vol. 1-3: Cruisin' Chrome Series 2003
Various Artists
Thump Records 5:55
Greatest Summer Beach Hits [3] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:13
Soul: Play That Funky Music 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:14
Greatest Summer Beach Hits [Box] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:13
Drivetime [Universal] 2003
Various Artists
Universal Music 4:09
Art Laboe's Dedicated to You, Vol. 12 2004
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 4:13
Friends Reunited: Music of the Year 1977 2004
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:11
Float On: The Best of the Floaters 2004 Spectrum Music 4:12
'70s [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal / USM 4:10
Body And Soul: Soul Fantasy 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:15
Classic Soul Ballads: Sweet Thing 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:14
'70s Soul Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:13
#1 Slow Jam Hits 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 4:12
Number 1's: '70s Soul 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:09
Music for Groovin' 2007
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:10
This Is Soul [Universal] 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:10
Float On: Live in Concert 2008 SOCO ENT
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal
Ultimate Collection: Soul 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 4:09
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Italia Srl. 4:09
Jackie: Summer Special 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:10
100 Hits: 70's Pop 2009
Various Artists
Demon Records / 100 Hits 4:10
Classic Mellow, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Culture Factory
Ferry Maat's Soul Show Top 100, Vol 2
Various Artists
PTG 4:09
Hold Me Close
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:02
Jackie Holiday Special
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:12
Jackie: The 70's Annual
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:04
Return to Soul City
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:10
Summer: Ultimate Collection
Various Artists
Ultimate
The Ultimate Collection: Number 1s
Various Artists
Union Square Music 4:10
Total Hits, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Universal 4:09
blue highlight denotes editor's pick