This was written by Barbara Acklin and Eugene Record (who was frontman for The Chi-Lites). The spoken parts were inspired by the opening monologues on Isaac Hayes' 1969 Hot Buttered Soul album, where Hayes would tell an often heartbreaking tale using his speaking voice before singing.
On "Have You Seen Her," Record speaks the verses, explaining that ever since his girl left him, he hasn't been able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like going to the movies or playing with the neighborhood children. That's because he can't stop thinking about his girl, and he envisions her everywhere he goes, even though she's not really there. He tell himself she'll be back, but he knows deep down it's a lie. Still, he asks anyone who will listen, "Have you seen her?"
Eugene Record had the "doo doo doo" intro for this song and the line, "Have you seen her? Tell me have you seen her?," but didn't know where to go with it until he sang it for Acklin, who helped complete the song.
Barbara Acklin and Eugene Record had dual careers as artists and songwriters. Acklin was a solo artist who had her biggest hit in 1968 with "Love Makes A Woman" (#15 US), which Record co-wrote. Record fronted The Chi-Lites and wrote most of their hits, including "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People" and "Oh Girl." As a team, Acklin and Record's compositions include "Two Little Kids" for Peaches & Herb and several other Chi-Lites tracks, including "Stoned Out Of My Mind" and "We Are Neighbors."
They wrote the first version of the song years earlier, but thought it was too long to record. When Isaac Hayes released Hot Buttered Soul, which included an 18-minute song, they saw the song's potential and decided to record it for The Chi-Lites third album, since they had some room. The track clocks in at 5:08 and was the last song recorded for the set.
The Chi-Lites label Brunswick Records didn't think much of this song and released three other songs as singles from the album. When R&B radio stations started playing "Have You Seen Her" off of the album, the label finally saw the hit potential and issued it as a single. It became the group's first #1 on the R&B chart and their first Top 10 on the Hot 100.
The Chi-Lites followed this template of lovelorn spoken verses on a number of other songs, including their #33 hit in 1973, "A Letter To Myself."
MC Hammer covered this song on his 1990 10-million-selling album Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em. It was released as the second single from the album, following "U Can't Touch This," and it reached #4 in the US.
Dan Olivero from Schaumburg, Il"Ya know, I thought I hand her in the palm of my hand." A man never knows...
T. from Santa Clara, CaAmazingly beautiful. I thought it was about a woman who was so furious with her man, she finally leaves. Now I think its about a couple who are so in love, nothing could tear them apart except....DEATH! This explains why he feels so "lost" and keeps "seeing her face everywhere he goes." (It also explains why my father says "he keeps seeing my mother.") Not uncommon with long-term marriages. Within a few years the other passes on because life isn't worth living anymore. "I thought I had her in the palm of my hand." The most awesome R & B song I ever heard. Makes me cry every time I hear it.
Jim from West Palm Beach, FlGreat song, but maybe even greater arrangement and production. Or maybe all three. :-)
Rick from Belfast, Methis song playing.....waltzing with your sweetie and the lights dimmed......mmmmmmmmmm......this is why the 70's was a great decade of music......still is!
Jedd from Savannah, GaI grew up on this music and loved this song,I was a child of the 60s and 70s and had quite a few heavy metal bands in the 80s in Hollywood , but this old great soulful awesome music is where it is at and will always be,I can shred on a guitar but I cant sing or harmonize or write like these guys could,Im listening to it right now ,BEST SONG EVER WRITTEN
John from Hamlin, Ny...wonderful, wonderful song. Just a classic!!!
Ken from Brighton, MiGreat R&B classic. I miss the great R&B songs from the 60s and 70s.
David from Youngstown, OhMusic doesn't get much better than this song.
Dave from Des Moines, IaIf you listen to the intro to this song with the volume up all the way, you can hear someone start "One month" about a half a second before the group begins with "One moth ago today"
Guy from Woodinville, WaYes, such an R&B classic! Perfectly recorded. I wish there were more R&B on this site.
Mike from Hueytown , AlI love the opening part of this song....Great Song