Something He Can Feel

"Something He Can Feel" is a song composed by Curtis Mayfield for the 1976 motion picture Sparkle. The song, a love ballad in a Chicago-/Philly-soul style, became a number-one hit on the Billboard's R&B singles chart in the United States twice with two separate recordings: a 1976 version by Aretha Franklin from the film's soundtrack (see 1976 in music), and a 1992 cover by girl group En Vogue (see 1992 in music).

"Something He Can Feel"
Something He Can Feel by Aretha Franklin US vinyl.png
One of A-side labels of the U.S. vinyl single
Single by Aretha Franklin
from the album Music from the Warner Bros. Picture "Sparkle"
ReleasedMay 5, 1976
RecordedApril, 1976
Curtom Studios
(Chicago, Illinois)
Length6:21 (album)
3:25 (single)
Songwriter(s)Curtis Mayfield
Producer(s)Curtis Mayfield
Aretha Franklin singles chronology
"Something He Can Feel"
"Jump" / "Hooked On Your Love"

Aretha Franklin versionEdit

In the original 1976 version of the film Sparkle, the song is performed by "Sister & the Sisters", with Lonette McKee on lead vocal, and Irene Cara and Dwan Smith on backing vocals. The version of "Something He Can Feel" present on the film's soundtrack album replaces the vocal tracks with those of Aretha Franklin and the Kitty Haywood Singers, with the instrumental tracks remaining the same.

Sparkle revolves around the lives of the members of Sister & the Sisters, a 1960s Motown-esque girl group, and "Something He Can Feel" is present in the film as part of their repertoire. Franklin's recording of the song was issued as the first single from the album, and became a number-one hit on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, peaking at number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Aretha's only pop Top 40 hit during the second half of the 1970s.[1]

Sparkle would be remade in 2012, as would "Something He Can Feel", this time performed by Carmen Ejogo on lead vocal with Jordin Sparks and Tika Sumpter on backing vocals. In an allusion to Aretha Franklin's version of the song and soundtrack, Sister & Her Sisters perform "Something He Can Feel" as part of a live TV performance headlined by Franklin.



Chart (1976) Peak
Billboard Hot 100 28
Billboard Hot Soul Singles 1

Afrika Bambaataa feat. Boy George versionEdit

In 1988, a rap and Hip Hop artist, Afrika Bambaataa recorded a cover version of "Something He Can Feel". The cover, released on the album, The Light, a collaboration album with lead vocals on this song by Boy George.

En Vogue versionEdit

"Giving Him Something He Can Feel"
Single by En Vogue
from the album Funky Divas
ReleasedJune 11, 1992 (US)[2]
RecordedFall 1991–January 1992[3]
Songwriter(s)Curtis Mayfield
En Vogue singles chronology
"My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"
"Giving Him Something He Can Feel"
"Free Your Mind"
Music video
"Giving Him Something He Can Feel" on YouTube

Fifteen years after Sparkle was released, R&B group En Vogue recorded a cover version of "Something He Can Feel" (titled as "Giving Him Something He Can Feel"), produced by Thomas McElroy & Denzil Foster. The lead vocals are sung by Dawn Robinson and the background vocals are done by Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron and Maxine Jones. The En Vogue cover, released as the second single from the group's second album, Funky Divas, was also a successful hit.

The single peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became the fifth En Vogue single in two years to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart.[4] In the United Kingdom, it was released as a double A-side single with "Free Your Mind" and reached number 16, while in New Zealand, it became En Vogue's highest-charting single, peaking at number two for two weeks. Nichole Cordova performed the En Vogue's version of "Something He Can Feel" on the season finale of Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious where she became the first member of Girlicious.[5] She received high praise from the judges.[5]

Critical receptionEdit

Quentin Harrison from Albumism said the En Vogue's version "restored the song to its girl group roots and brought it forward into a new decade, reverently, but boldly."[6] AllMusic editor Jose F. Promis called it "sophisticated" and "shimmering". He also noted it as a "ghetto love fable" initially popularized by Aretha Franklin.[7] Another editor, Rob Theakston labeled the song as a "sultry rendition".[8] Daryl Easlea for BBC described it as a "delicious cover".[9] Larry Flick from Billboard called it a "lovely, retro-minded pop/R&B ballad". He noted that their "remarkable trademark harmonies are always at the forefront of a musical environment that often recalls the early days of Aretha Franklin and Mary Wells." He added that the song is a "soothing interlude for all formats."[10] Also Glenn Kenny from Entertainment Weekly described it as "sultry", picking it as the best En Vogue song.[11] Dave Sholin from Gavin Report stated that they "do it up stunningly, uncovering this Curtis Mayfield creation and turning it into something beyond compare."[12] Gerald Martinez from New Sunday Times said the track "sees them singing low and cool, with that classic finger-snapping Motown R&B feel."[13] Pop Rescue stated that "whilst it’d always be hard to out-do Aretha, En Vogue are definitely worthy of a credible challenge."[14] Cheo H. Coker from Stanford Daily called it "fabulous", adding "no corn, just the sounds of sultry singing matched with sparse, yet solid, instrumentation."[15] Laura Checkoway from Vibe described it as "alluring".[16]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 216.
  2. ^ "En Vogue - Giving Him Something He Can Feel - Music". Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "Don't think I can make it. By Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy, Will Townsend, Pharoah Davis, Warren Robinson & Andre Zachary". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 189.
  5. ^ a b "Pussycat Dolls Present Girlicious: Season Finale "You Are Girlicious" Recap". Buddy TV. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  6. ^ Harrison, Quentin (March 22, 2017). "Never Gonna Get It: Celebrating 25 Years of En Vogue's 'Funky Divas'". Albumism. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "En Vogue - Funky Divas". AllMusic. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "En Vogue - The Essentials". AllMusic. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "En Vogue Funky Divas Review". BBC. 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  10. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. June 13, 1992. p. 72. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  11. ^ Kenny, Glenn (September 25, 1992). "En Vogue: Funky Divas". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  12. ^ Sholin, Dave (May 29, 1992). "Personal Picks: Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. p. 52. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  13. ^ "Top notch hits from Collins". New Sunday Times. November 15, 1998. p. 13. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "REVIEW: "FUNKY DIVAS" BY EN VOGUE (CD, 1992)". Pop Rescue. May 1, 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Coker, Cheo H. (April 16, 1992). "Hip-hop's four funky divas". Stanford Daily. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "ESSENTIAL EN VOGUE". Vibe. June 1, 2007. p. 134. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1987." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 1979." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  20. ^ " – En Vogue – Giving Him Something He Can Feel" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Free Your Mind/Giving Him Something He..". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  22. ^ " – En Vogue – Giving Him Something He Can Feel" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  23. ^ " – En Vogue – Giving Him Something He Can Feel". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  25. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. August 22, 1992. p. 20. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  26. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  27. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  28. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  30. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "End of Year Charts 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  32. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1992". Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  33. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Year-End 1992". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  34. ^ "American single certifications – En Vogue – Giving Him Something He Can Feel". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit