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"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" is a 1978 single by American disco/R&B singer Sylvester. The song was written by James Wirrick and Sylvester. It appears on Sylvester's 1978 album, Step II. Music critic Robert Christgau has said the song is "one of those surges of sustained, stylized energy that is disco's great gift to pop music".[1]

"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).jpg
Single by Sylvester
from the album Step II
January 1979 (U.S.)
Format7", 12"
GenreDisco, Hi-NRG
Length3:35 (single), 6:39 (album)
LabelFantasy Records
Songwriter(s)James Wirrick, Sylvester
Producer(s)Harvey Fuqua, Sylvester, mixed Patrick Cowley
Sylvester singles chronology
"Dance (Disco Heat)"
"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"
"I (Who Have Nothing)"
Music video
"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" on YouTube

In 2019, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2]



The song was originally recorded as a mid-tempo piano driven gospel song, however after producer Patrick Cowley saw a rehearsal of the song at San Francisco's city disco, he offered to remix the song.[3] The result was one of the pioneering disco records using some electronic instrumentation and effects, following closely on "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer which heavily used electronic instrumentation ahead of its time. These 1970s songs using electronic instrumentation would have an influence on 1980s and 1990s dance music, which in turn, would have an influence on dance music in the next century.


The song was Sylvester's first Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #8 on the UK Singles Chart in October 1978.[4] In Sylvester's home country, the single was his second Top 40 hit, peaking at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1979.[5] The song also reached #20 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart. A 12" single was released in 1978, with "Dance (Disco Heat)" as the A-side and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" as the B-side, and these two extended dance mixes proved to be very popular in dance clubs at the time. The two songs held down the top spot on the Billboard Dance/Disco chart for six weeks in August and September 1978.[6] These two songs helped to establish Sylvester's career as a noted disco and dance music performer, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1978-79) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[7] 16
Italy 24
Netherlands 26
Switzerland 6
UK Dance (Official Charts Company) 1
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 36
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 1
US Billboard R&B 20

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Byron Stingily version)Edit

"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"
Single by Byron Stingily
from the album The Purist
LabelClub Tools
  • James Wirrick
  • Sylvester
Byron Stingily singles chronology
"Sing a Song"
"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"
Music video
"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" on YouTube

Chicago-born house music singer Byron Stingily, formerly of the band Ten City recorded a cover of this song. Like Sylvester's original recording, Stingily's cover version of "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" (produced by UK music producer Damien Mendis) also went to #1 on the American dance chart, where it spent one week atop the chart in March 1998.[9] Although there have been instances where the same song, recorded by two different artists, has reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart ("Don't Leave Me This Way" is one example), it is still a fairly rare occurrence. This version also reached #13 in the UK.[4]

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1998) Peak
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[10] 47
France (SNEP)[11] 97
Italy (Hit Parade Italia)[12] 29
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[13] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 13
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[15] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 1

Other notable versionsEdit

The song has been recorded by other musicians, including British singer Jimmy Somerville, formerly of the bands Bronski Beat and Communards. His 1989 cover version of the song also received substantial club play, and it peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1990.[4] To date, this is the highest-charting version of the song in the UK. Somerville's cover of this song appears on his first solo album, Read My Lips.

In 1991, actress-comedian Sandra Bernhard recorded her own version of the single, which is a tribute to James, on her album Excuses for Bad Behavior (Part One). A series of 12" remix singles was released in 1994 by Epic Records' 550 Music imprint, who also signed Bernhard and picked up her album for a major push that same year. It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, and #86 in the UK singles chart in late 1994.[4][16]

Appearances in other mediaEdit

  • Also featured in new 2017 Candy Crush commercial.[17]
  • Sylvester's version of the song was featured in the 1984 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk where Sylvester is seen in the documentary's file footage.
  • The style of New Order's 1983 release "Blue Monday" was influenced by "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)".[18]
  • Danny DeVito dances his striptease for Phoebe's bachelorette party to this song on Friends "The One Where the Stripper Cries" (season 10, episode 11)[19]
  • In the Chris Rock movie Head of State, the song plays when Rock's character campaigns at a gay club.
  • LMFAO's Song "Hot Dog" on their 2011 album Sorry for Party Rocking (Deluxe Edition) has a very similar song progression.
  • "Fly Away (Bye Bye)", a 2000 hit by Eyes Cream heavily sampled "You make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" throughout the song. The song hit #1 on the US Dance Club Songs in early 2000.
  • Australian singer and TV personality Dannii Minogue sampled the melody of "You make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" on her 2007 single "Touch Me Like That" from the album Club Disco.
  • The song was used in the final episode of Banshee, a Cinemax TV series.
  • The song was used in a 2014 Target television commercial for Peter Pilotto womenswear.
  • The song was used in the 2014 HBO movie The Normal Heart in the opening scene at the Fire Island Pines party on the beach.
  • The song was used in the trailer for the 2014 British film Pride.
  • The song features in the 2013 film Test during the scene where Frankie meets his older neighbour Bill.
  • The song features in the 1998 film 54, about the Studio 54 nightclub.
  • The song features in the 2008 film Milk, about the life and times of Harvey Milk.
  • In 2015, the song was sung a cappella on Empire by Miss Lawrence.
  • The song was used on the eighth season of RuPaul's Drag Race in a lip sync between Derrick Barry and Bob the Drag Queen. It was the first song by a male artist other than RuPaul ever lip synced on the show.
  • The song features in the 2015 Australian film Girl Asleep.
  • Sandra Bernhard performs a monologue about Sylvester in the 1990 film Without You I'm Nothing, featuring excerpts from both "Mighty Real" and "Do Ya Wanna Funk".
  • The song soundtracks a pivotal final sequence in Tracey Emin's 1995 video art piece Why I Never Became a Dancer.


According to the 2008 Drew Daniel book,[20] in the 1977 video for this song, there is a short appearance by Cosey Fanni Tutti from Throbbing Gristle. She briefly appears as one of the female dancers wearing (very short) silver hot pants.


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 13, 2019 – via
  2. ^ Andrews, Travis M. (March 20, 2019). "Jay-Z, a speech by Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and 'Schoolhouse Rock!' among recordings deemed classics by Library of Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  3. ^ Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco, Peter Shapiro, p76, Macmillan, 2006
  4. ^ a b c d "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 619.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco 1974-2003, (Record Research Inc.), page 252.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 619.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco 1974-2003, (Record Research Inc.), page 247.
  10. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  11. ^ " – Byron Stingily – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "Indice per Interprete: S". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  13. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Byron Stingily: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40".
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco 1974-2003, (Record Research Inc.), page 33.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "New Order:Singles:Blue Monday". Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  19. ^ "Friends (TV Series) : The One Where the Stripper Cries (2004) : Soundtracks". Retrieved 2016-10-14.
  20. ^ "33 1/3: Twenty Jazz Funk Greats", Drew Daniel, Bloomsbury Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-0-8264-2793-9, (pp101)

External linksEdit