The Chi-Lites – Have You Seen Her

I never get tired of 70’s soul music. This one and Ooh Girl by the Chi-Lites stay on my playlist. This song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in the UK in 1971.

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.

From Songfacts

This was written by Barbara Acklin and Eugene Record (who was the 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 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.

Have You Seen Her

Ah…ah…ah…ah…ah…ah…
Ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…
Ah…ah…ah…ah…ah…ah…
Ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…ooh…
One month ago today
I was happy as a lark
But now I go for walks
To the movies, maybe to the park
I have a seat on the same old bench
To watch the children play, huh
You know tomorrow is their future
But for me just another day
They all gather ’round me, huh
They seem to know my name
We laugh, tell a few jokes
But it still doesn’t ease my pain
I know I can’t hide from a memory
Though day after day I’ve tried
I keep sayin’ she’ll be back
But today again I’ve lied
Oh, I see her face everywhere I go
On the street and even at the picture show
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her
Oh, I hear her voice as the cold winds blow
In the sweet music on my radio
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her
Why, oh, why
Did she have to leave and go away?
Oh…oh…oh…oh…oh…
I’ve been used to havin’ someone to lean on
And I’m lost, baby, I’m lost
Oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Oh, she left her kiss upon my lips
But left that break within my heart
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her
Oh, I see her hand reaching out to me
Only she can set me free
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her
Why, oh, why
Did she have to leave and go away
Oh…oh…oh…oh…oh…
I’ve been used to havin’ someone to lean on
And I’m lost, baby, I’m lost
Oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
As another day comes to an end
I’m lookin’ for a letter or somethin’
Anything that she would send
With all the people I know, hmm
I’m still a lonely man
You know it’s funny
I thought I had her in the palm of my hand
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Oh (Oh, yeah…eah…eah…), doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Have you seen her (Have you seen her)
Tell me have you seen her (Have you seen her)
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]
Have you seen her
Tell me have you seen her [Tell me have you seen her]

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “The Chi-Lites – Have You Seen Her”

      1. I grew up around that time and the radio was on AM all the time, pouring into our home 🙂 I remember exactly where the radio sat, on a ledge near the back door. There were 9 of us in a 3 bedroom house in a neighborhood full of kids. Good times in the midst of hell.

        Liked by 1 person

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