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Jul 08

THE FLOATERS – “Float On”

FT + Popular38 comments • 4,172 views

#411, 27th August 1977

The format of “Float On” – each Floater steps forward, makes his pitch, retires beckoning – doesn’t just anticipate Blind Date, it’s also a basic formula for early group hip-hop: every member trying to outdo the last. For my money, the winning Floater here is surely Larry, largely for his magnificently self-confident use of the third-person. But your floatage may vary, and really there’s only one way to sort this one out:

LADIES! (and others) Which Floater does it for YOU?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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I’ll leave the comments box to speculate on the real motivations behind each of these preferences.

“Float On” stands up to more listens than you’d imagine, though still not enough to get it beyond ‘kind of charming’. The audacious novelty concept wears out, as novelties do, but the good-natured, bubbling music does exactly what it says on the title. How true a portrayal of seductive Seventies Man this was I have no idea, but “Float On” is amazingly evocative of a perceived era, one built up in the childish imagination by old menswear adverts and past-your-bedtime TV shows, half-understood. Amiably preposterous.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    LondonLee on 5 Jul 2008 #

    If there’s such a thing as beautiful kitsch this is it. Incredibly silly song and camp as a row of tents, but smooth 70s soul harmonies like that could make ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’ sound dreamy to me.

  2. 27
    Doctormod on 5 Jul 2008 #

    Um, hi–my name is Pat, but you can call me Doctor Mod (Pisces), and I like a lady who’s a hot femme with a brilliant mind, a good heart, and an over-the-top sense of humour (although I’ll admit that the “all shapeshifting tomboy pirate witch-robot” sounds like fun for a wild weekend. No–wait–I think that’s my ex. Not fun.

    That being said, this all makes me think of the DRoss Supremes’ (i.e., DR and the Andantes’) “No Matter What Sign You Are.” (“Capricorn!–Ow!–Scorpio–Yeah!–Taurus Gemini Virgo–Yeah Yeah Yeah!” and so on, convenient that Aquarius and Sagittarius rhyme) Not one of Motown’s greatest moments, I’m afraid. I hadn’t even thought of it in years until I read this thread.

    Randy Newman, you say? Indeed! “I’ve Been Wrong Before” is one stunning song.

  3. 28
    Doctormod on 5 Jul 2008 #

    Waldo, my dear–

    One doesn’t have to be gay to be campy.

    The Beatles were damned good at doing camp.

  4. 29
    Waldo on 5 Jul 2008 #

    Indeed yes, Doc. In fact “Waldo, My Dear” from the White Album was very camp indeed. Although I accept your general gay/campy point, I still say that The Floaters were floating down the wrong stream. Sorry, hun!

    Randy Newman was also into bear-baiting, of course.

  5. 30
    mike on 8 Jul 2008 #

    “Hi! I’m Mike, Aquarius, and guess what: I DON’T LIKE GIRLS!” (*)

    Yes, this was as camp as tits – and pretty much everyone who bought it was in on the joke, right? Er, right?

    (But also camp in its truest sense, as there was still an irreducible innocent sincerity at its core, however misguided.)

    (*) Mangled Barron Knights reference. Sorry, ladies. Luvyaloads.

  6. 31
    DJ Punctum on 8 Jul 2008 #

    It is easy to forget that Waldo had the honour of having an entire Beatles album – a double album, no less – written about him, commonly known as The Waldo Album and containing such classics as “Glass Waldo,” “While My Waldo Gently Weeps,” “Waldo #9,” “Why Don’t We Do Waldo In The Road,” “Happiness Is A Warm Waldo” and fill in the rest yourselves.

  7. 32
    Waldo on 9 Jul 2008 #

    Why thank-you kindly, Marcello. Yes, the lads indeed honoured me (then 7) with “The Waldo Album”. I don’t usually talk about it…

    But since you insist, there was also “Waldo Truffle”, “Yer Waldo”, “Waldo Raccoon”, “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Waldo” and “Helter Waldo”, which, of course, became infamous through no fault of its own.

  8. 33
    Erithian on 9 Jul 2008 #

    Now, I’ve noticed a tendency for this thread to get rather silly. Now I do my best to keep things moving along, but I’m not having things getting silly. Those two last posts were very silly indeed. I mean, next thing you know we’ll be talking about Pink Floyd’s The Waldo.

  9. 34
    DJ Punctum on 9 Jul 2008 #

    SPOILER BUNNY ALERT

    Anyway, I already told you in the first verse.

  10. 35
    Waldo on 9 Jul 2008 #

    # 33 – “Those two last posts were very silly indeed.”

    No, no, Erithian. “Silly Waldo Songs” Paul wrote for me much later. And it was Wings not The Beatles.

    Anyway, I need a certain song…

  11. 36
    intothefireuk on 9 Jul 2008 #

    I think we can ascertain from their demeanour that these guys were/are still firmly in the closet. Ridiculous record although I have a soft spot for the backing track and occasional soulful vocal flourishes. All the same….

  12. 37
    DanH on 9 Mar 2014 #

    This was #2 in the States, but it seems like one of those songs that this country (and probably the U.K.) collectively wiped from memory. Even “FEEEEEELIIIINGS” was frequently cited on ‘worst songs ever’ lists and jokes, this one isn’t even brought up (exception: a long time ago I did see a site of Bad ’70s Songs call this song ‘so bad it almost justifies racism’). I never had heard the song until I was perusing British #1’s. It’s awful, tacky, almost something you’d come up with half-awake at 6AM…the story goes the the writer came up with this in a dream, so there ya go. And I grin like an idiot every time I hear it.

    Even Sesame Street caught wind of this song at the time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlgiritpmfo :-)

  13. 38
    mapman132 on 22 Jul 2014 #

    #37 I never knowingly heard this song until now either even though I recognized it from the list of 70’s one hit wonders. It seems like a classic example of a novelty song: guaranteed to be huge for a brief moment and then quickly discarded as an embarrassment never to be spoken of again. That being said, it’s too amusing for me to hate. I’d have to give it at least 5/10.

    Thanks for the Youtube clip too. Don’t remember that one even though I was very much part of the Sesame Street audience at the time.

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