The Floaters

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The Floaters
OriginDetroit, Michigan
GenresR&B, soul
Years active1976–1982
LabelsABC (1976–78)
MCA (1979–80)
Associated actsThe Detroit Emeralds
Past membersJames Mitchell
Paul Mitchell
Larry Cunningham
Charles Clark
Ralph Mitchell

The Floaters were an American R&B vocal group, from the Sojourner Truth housing projects in Detroit, Michigan, that formed in 1976. The group are best known for their 1977 song "Float On", which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, and No. 5 on the Irish Singles Chart.

Career[edit]

The band was formed by the former Detroit Emeralds' singer James Mitchell, with his brother Paul Mitchell, Larry Cunningham, Charles Clark, and the unrelated Ralph Mitchell.[1][2] Most of The Floaters were from Northeast Detroit, bordering Hamtramck on Detroit's Eastside.

James Mitchell wrote the band's one major hit, "Float On", with Arnold Ingram and Marvin Willis. The lyrics spotlight each member of the band, who introduced themselves with their name, astrological sign, and ideal type of romantic partner.[3] The song was produced by Woody Wilson. It became a worldwide hit in 1977 on ABC Records, reaching No. 1 on the US R&B chart, No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart,[1] and No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart (for a single week in August that year).[4]

Follow-ups such as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (No. 28 Billboard R&B chart) were not as successful.[1] The group continued to record, releasing four studio albums over the next few years.

A new recording of the song "Float On" was recorded in 2001 for the album, Still Standing, by the group Full Force[3] and Cheech & Chong did a take-off of the song called "Bloat On". The rap group Stetsasonic also did a cover of the song on In Full Gear (1988). The characters from Sesame Street, David (Northern Calloway), Bob (Bob McGrath), Gordon (Roscoe Orman) and Luis (Emilio Delgado) did a parody of the song called "Gimmie Five". British parody group The Barron Knights included a parody of "Float On" in their 1977 hit "Live in Trouble".

This song was also sampled by Canadian hip-hop recording duo Dream Warriors, in their song of the same name.

Larry Cunningham (born on June 23, 1951) died on January 10, 2019, at the age of 67.[5][6][7]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications Record label
US
[8]
US R&B
[8]
AUS
[9]
CAN
[10]
NL
[11]
NZ
[12]
UK
[13]
1977 Floaters 10 1 28 49 15 36 17 ABC
1978 Magic 131 27
1979 Float into the Future MCA
1981 Get Ready for the Floaters & Shu-Ga Fee / WP
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Float On: The Best of the Floaters (1998, Half Moon)

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[8]
US
R&B

[8]
AUS
[9]
CAN
[10]
IRE
[15]
NLD
[11]
NZ
[12]
UK
[13]
1976 "I Am So Glad I Took My Time" Floaters
1977 "Float On" 2 1 16 4 5 2 1 1
"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" 28
1978 "I Just Want to Be with You" 36 Magic
"The Time Is Now"
1979 "Levitation" Float into the Future
1981 "For Your Love" Get Ready for the Floaters & Shu-Ga
"Get Ready"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  2. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Hogan, Ed. "Float On - Floaters: Song Review". AllMusic.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 206. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "The Floaters Singer Larry Cunningham Dies". Celebrityaccess.com. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Obituary Larry Cunningham". Dignitymemorial.com. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  7. ^ ""Float On" singer Larry Cunningham of The Floaters dies". Soul Tracks. January 10, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "US Charts > The Floaters". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  9. ^ a b David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  10. ^ a b "CAN Charts > The Floaters". RPM. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "NL Charts > The Floaters". Dutch Charts. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "NZ Charts > The Floaters". Official New Zealand Music Chart. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "UK Charts > The Floaters". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "American certifications – The Floaters". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "IRE Charts Search > Floaters". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  16. ^ "The Floaters: Float On". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 1, 2020.

External links[edit]