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Biography

  • Years Active

    1976 – present (43 years)

The Floaters were an R&B vocal group from Detroit, Michigan, USA, that formed in 1976.

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. Their only top hit, "Float On", 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 U.S. R&B chart, #2 on the U.S. 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" could not duplicate the bizarre charm of "Float On," but, with some changes in the line-up, the group remained active for several years, unable to shake off their one-hit wonder tag.

The Floaters recorded a new version of "Float On" with Full Force for their album "Still Standing".

Larry Cunningham (June 23, 1951 - January 10, 2019)

"Float On" is a 1977 hit song by the soul group The Floaters. The spoken verses combine two popular trends from the time, star signs and video and phone dating, in lines such as Aquarius and my name is Ralph / Now I like a woman who loves her freedom. The song was co-written by James Mitchell of The Detroit Emeralds group.

Released from their self-titled debut album, it became one of the biggest singles of the year, spending six weeks at number one on the U.S. Hot Soul Singles chart. "Float On" was also a crossover hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 behind Andy Gibb's "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" and The Emotions' "Best of My Love", but with no other Hot 100 hits, The Floaters became a one-hit wonder on that chart. "Float On" also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, and number five on the Irish Singles Chart. The song was covered by two hip-hop bands: Stetsasonic on its album In Full Gear (1988), and Dream Warriors on its album The Master Plan (1996), the latter of which was released as a single.

Also in 1977, Cheech and Chong released a parody of the song called "Bloat On". It was later included on their 1980 album Let's Make a New Dope Deal.

The song was adapted in the early 1990s to advertise Cadbury's Crème Eggs.

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