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|Associated acts||The Detroit Emeralds|
|Past members||James Mitchell
The band was formed by the former The Detroit Emeralds' singer James Mitchell, with his brother Paul Mitchell, Larry Cunningham, Charles Clark, and the unrelated Ralph Mitchell. Most of The Floaters were from the Sojourner Truth housing project, on Detroit's Eastside.
James Mitchell apparently came up with the idea and tune for their one major hit, "Float On", in a dream. The lyrics spotlighted each member of the band, who introduced themselves with their name, astrological sign, and ideal type of romantic partner. "Float On" was tracked in a garage recording studio called Pac 3. The song was written by Arnold Ingram, Marvin Willis and James Mitchell Jr., and produced by Woody Wilson. It became a world wide hit in 1977 on ABC Records, reaching #1 on the US R&B chart, #20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #1 in the UK Singles Chart (for a single week in August that year).
Follow-ups such as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (#28 Billboard R&B chart) could not duplicate the idiosyncratic charm of "Float On", but, with some changes in the line-up, the group remained active for several years releasing four studio albums of disco orientated dance music and romantic sweet soul. They were largely unable to shake off their one-hit wonder tag.
A skit was made for Sesame Street in which David (Northern Calloway), Bob (Bob McGrath), Gordon (Roscoe Orman) and Luis (Emilio Delgado) were attired in 1970's-style sky-blue tuxedos with a number five on each palm of their gloves and performed a song entitled "Gimme Five". Each character explained what they loved about the number five before singing lead on the chorus of the song. David loved the number five because of the way it looks, Bob appreciated the number because it's easy to count up to, Gordon loved the number because it's the same as his fingers on each hand, and a Spanish-speaking Luis loved the number because three and two make five, as do four and one.
The song was also parodied on the Barron Knights hit Live In Trouble in 1977.
The song was also parodied by Adam Carolla on his podcast in 2013. He would have various guests pretend to audition for the group and add their own vocals to the track. Guests who parodied the song include Jo Koy as Bung Lu Soo, Bryan Callen as Eddie from the Hangover, David Alan Grier as Teddy Pendergrass, and Josh Gardner as Deaf Frat Guy.
|"You Don't Have To Say You Love Me"||-||28||-|
|1978||"I Just Want To Be With You"||-||36||-|
- Floaters - 1977 - ABC Records - #10 Billboard 200
- Magic - 1978 - ABC Records - #131 Billboard Hot 200
- Float Into the Future - 1979 - MCA Records
- Get Ready For The Floaters & Shu-Ga - 1981 - Fee Records
- Float On: The Best of The Floaters - 1998 - MCA International
- Allmusic.com biography
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 206. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 250. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B Singles: 1942-1995. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 151. ISBN 0-89820-115-2.
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 286. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
- Allmusic.com discography
- "The Best Of The Floaters - Float On". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-12-28.