In 1979, original Commodore William King told Blues & Soul magazine about this song. Said King: "It was going to be called 'The Ram.' It was written by Milan (Williams, their keyboard player) - he's such a gifted person! He actually wrote it for lyrics but Carmichael said how everybody was getting across with synthesizer instrumentals and that maybe we should try something different in that vein with this one. That whole idea and sound came from James Carmichael. And he turned out to be a home boy from Decatur, Alabama! Anyway, we just clicked and he has been our co-producer ever since and will probably always be.
We really hadn't planned for 'Machine Gun' to be our first release, either. It was big in Europe, in Asia, in the United States, Africa and South America. But it hadn't taken our name with it. Everybody knew 'Machine Gun' but they didn't know the Commodores. That was because it was an instrumental. Anyway, since it had not carried the Commodores, we made up our minds that the next release would have lyrics to it. So, we did 'I Feel Sanctified' next. We wanted something with a strong groove."