Posts Tagged ‘Floaters’

Saturday Single No. 558

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Looking for inspiration this morning, I took a glance at the top ten albums in the Billboard 200 from September 24, 1977, forty years ago this week:

Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
Star Wars soundtrack
Moody Blue by Elvis Presley
JT by James Taylor
Shaun Cassidy by Shaun Cassidy
Commodores by the Commodores
CSN by Crosby, Stills & Nash
Foreigner by Foreigner
Going For The One by Yes
The Floaters by the Floaters

We were slowly moving into a time when what was popular was no longer what I wanted to hear. Only three of those albums – the Fleetwood Mac, the James Taylor, and the Star Wars soundtrack – ever made it onto the vinyl stacks.

But there were no surprises as I scanned my way down the list this morning, at least until the very end. The Floaters? Who in the hell were the Floaters? As I limped to the shelf where I keep my reference books, I surmised that the Floaters were likely an R&B group, as it wasn’t rare for an R&B act do well nationally but get little exposure or airplay in the St. Cloud of the late 1970s. Or maybe there had been airplay, but I wasn’t paying attention.

And I was right. The Floaters – as maybe most of those who stop by here already know – were an R&B group, hailing from Detroit. The self-titled album that was No. 10 forty years ago was their first; they recorded three more albums in the next four years, according to Discogs, the last with, evidently, a female vocalist named Shu-Ga. Their single history goes back to 1965, when they released a record – “Down By The Seashore” – with Kenny Gamble before he was Kenny Gamble. It didn’t chart, and it wasn’t until 1976 that the Floaters were heard from again, with “I’m So Glad I Took My Time” released as a non-charting single ahead of its being included on The Floaters.

So there’s all of that (and more, if I wanted to go through every single the Floaters released), but our interest is that debut album, the one that peaked at No. 10, because it did sprout one massive single: “Float On.”

The single topped the Billboard R&B chart for six weeks during a seventeen-week run that started during the summer of 1977. Over on the Hot 100, “Float On” peaked with a two-week stay at No. 2, blocked from the top spot by first, Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything,” and then, the Emotions’ “Best Of My Love.”

The single is not quite my deal; having each member of the group introducing himself to some imaginary lady is, to me, lame. But the chorus hangs with me, and anyway, when I discover a smash hit forty years late, I sort of feel as if I need to acknowledge it. That means that the Floaters’ “Float On” is today’s Saturday Single.

‘Sitting At No. 100 . . .’

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

It’s time for a little bit of chart digging. We’re going to look at four Billboard Hot 100 charts released on July 8 over the years – 1967, 1972, 1978 and 1989 are the years that come up when I sort out the files (well, so do 1995 and 2000, but I’m not interested) – and see what records sat at No. 100 on those four dates. If there was a Bubbling Under section, we’ll take a quick look at what record brought up the rear and see what we can find out about that.

Right off the top, we get a classic. Sitting at No. 100 on July 8, 1967, was “Gentle On My Mind” by Glen Campbell. It was the first week in the chart for Campbell’s cover of John Hartford’s tune, and the record would stall out four weeks later at No. 62 (No. 30 country). Capitol re-released the single a little more than a year later, and in November 1968, the record hit No. 39 (without re-entering the country Top 40). I’ve always tended to think of “Gentle” as Campbell’s first big hit, but by late 1968, the singer had already hit the Top 40 (and No. 2, 1 and 3, respectively, on the country chart) with “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “I Want To Live” and “Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife.”

Sitting at the very bottom of the chart and bubbling under at No. 135 on that July day forty-seven years ago was the original version of “My Elusive Dreams” by Curly Putman. The Alabama singer-songwriter’s version would go one notch higher, but a little higher on that same chart (and eventually peaking at No. 89), was a version of the tune by David Houston and Tammy Wynette that would go to No. 1 on the country chart. Sadly, I can’t find a version of Putnam’s original single; he seems to have re-recorded it in recent years, but I’m not interested in that. (Bobby Vinton in 1970 and Charlie Rich in 1975 would release versions of “My Elusive Dreams” that each hit the pop, country and adult contemporary charts.)

When we dig into the very bottom of the Hot 100 from July 8, 1972, we run into a band that’s been mentioned at least twice in this space over the years, now with a slight change of name. Sitting at No. 100 is “Country Woman” by the Magic Lantern. The band from Warrington, England, had previously called itself the Magic Lanterns and had hit No. 29 in late 1968 with “Shame, Shame.” “Country Woman” came out on Charisma, the band’s third label; previous releases had come out on Atlantic and Big Tree. The record, the last the band would get into the chart, peaked at No. 88.

My files show no Bubbling Under section in the July 8, 1972, Hot 100.

Our first two stops at No. 100 found records on the way up; when we look at the Hot 100 from July 8, 1978, we find a record about to leave the chart: George Benson’s “On Broadway” had peaked at No. 7 (No. 2 R&B and No. 25 AC) in mid-June and had then tumbled back down the chart. Benson’s cover of the Drifters’ 1963 hit was the second of his eventual four Top 10 singles: “This Masquerade” went to No. 10 (No. 3 R&B and No. 6 AC) in 1976, “Give Me The Night” would go to No. 4 (No. 1 R&B and No. 26 AC) in 1980, and “Turn Your Love Around” would go to No. 5 (No. 1 R&B and No. 9 AC) in 1982. Benson’s last chart presence came when 1998’s “Standing Together” bubbled under at No. 101, giving Benson a total of twenty records in or near the Hot 100.

There were only ten singles bubbling under that July 7, 1978, chart, and sitting at No. 110 was “I Just Want To Be With You” by the Floaters. The Detroit R&B group had hit big a year earlier when “Float On” went to No. 2 (No. 1 for six weeks on the R&B chart), but the second time was no charm, as “I Just Want To Be With You,” which actually sounds pretty good to me this morning, bubbled under for five weeks and got no higher than No. 105. (I have to be honest: I don’t remember “Float On” at all. As large as its national profile was, the record either did not dent the playlists of the stations I was listening to that summer of 1977, which were KDWB in the car and WJON in the evenings, or it just made no impression on me.)

And as we get to the Billboard Hot 100 from July 8, 1989, we again find a week when nothing bubbled under. And the last entry in the chart, No. 100, is the last presence in the charts for the London trio Wang Chung: “Praying To A New God.” The record had peaked at No. 63 and would be gone by the next week’s chart. The group is far better remembered, of course, for its three Top 20 hits: “Dance Hall Days,” No. 16 in 1984; “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” No. 2 in 1986; and “Let’s Go,” No. 9 in 1987. I was familiar with those three, likely because I was in grad school at Missouri and teaching and working at St. Cloud State during those years. But I don’t at all remember “Praying To A New God,” and I think that’s okay. Here’s the official video for the record: