On this day in music history: August 13, 1977 – “Float On” by The Floaters hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 6 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on September 17, 1977. Written by Arnold Ingram, James Mitchell and Marvin Willis, it is the biggest hit for the Detroit, MI based R&B vocal group. Formed in 1976 by former Detroit Emeralds lead singer James Mitchell (“You Want It, You Got It”, “Baby Let Me (Take You In My Arms)”, the group consists of Mitchell and his brother Paul, Larry Cunningham, Charles Clark and Ralph Mitchell (not related to James and Paul). Friends since childhood, all of the members grew up together in the Sojourner Truth housing project on the east side of Detroit. The idea for “Float On” comes to James in a dream, and finishes writing it with Arnold Ingram and Marvin Willis. Recorded at Pac 3 Studios in Detroit, the track features several prominent local musicians including former Funk Brothers Dennis Coffey (guitar) and Jack Brokensha (vibes). The nearly twelve minute long track is edited down to four minutes for single release, and issued in June of 1977. “Float On” is not only a huge R&B hit, but also becomes a huge crossover smash on both sides of the Atlantic, landing in the top five on the US pop chart and hitting number one on the UK singles chart. The song is also parodied by comedians Cheech & Chong for their single “Bloat On” (#41 Pop) in 1978. “Float On” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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