You might not know the title of this song, but you'll recognize it when you hear it. In America, "Feels So Good" is one of the most popular instrumental songs of all time, and certainly the biggest flugelhorn hit.
Chuck Mangione first recorded with his brother Gap in a band called The Jazz Brothers, which formed in 1960. He signed with Mercury Records as a solo artist and released his first album in 1970, charting for the first time with "Hill Where The Lord Hides" in 1971 (#76). He grew a following in jazz circles and scored a surprise mainstream hit with "Feels So Good," which reached #4 in June 1978 and also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. These were the last days of disco, and his smooth jazz number provided welcome relief from the typical dance music that had saturated the airwaves. It sold over two million copies.
On the Feels So Good album, this track runs 9:42. Mangione recorded it along with five more instrumentals for the album, none of which seemed to have hit potential. An executive at his label suggested cutting down the title track to make it more radio-friendly, so a 3:28 edit was made and released as a single, which became the hit. The radio edit retained the two key elements in the song: Mangione's flugelhorn, and the guitar solo by Grant Geissman. Other performers on the track were Charles Meeks on bass, Chris Vadala on saxophone and James Bradley, Jr. on drums.
This earned a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year, losing to Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are." Mangione didn't come out empty-handed: He took Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his album Children of Sanchez.
"Feels So Good" is far and away Mangione's most popular song, but it's not the only one to make an impact: His song "Give It All You Got" was chosen as the theme to the 1980 Winter Olympics and also went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
This song has been used in episodes of these TV series:
Friends ("The One with All the Haste" - 1998) The Simpsons ("Ice Cream of Margie: With the Light Blue Hair" - 2006) Family Guy ("Stew-roids" - 2009) The Big Bang Theory ("The Graduation Transmission" - 2015) South Park ("Where My Country Gone?" - 2015)
And these movies:
Hard to Kill (1990) Fargo (1996) Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
This song was a topic of discussion in the 2016 blockbuster Doctor Strange. It plays in a scene where the title character is doing brain surgery. When his assistant says that the song was released in 1978, Strange corrects him, letting him know that it was issued in December 1977 (he's right).