The Manhattans are a rhythm and blues vocal group from Jersey City who first formed in 1962 and have performed with changing membership since then. This moving song is about the end of a longtime love due to "obligations" and "ties." He asks the woman he's breaking up with to be stoic and remember him with love rather than falling apart and trying to stay together.
The song became The Manhattans biggest hit, reaching the top of the charts in the US and staying there for two weeks.
The song was written by Manhattans member Winfred "Blue" Lovett. He said in an interview that he envisaged Glen Campbell singing his tune. Said Lovett: "Back then I was into listening a lot to country things. Lionel Richie jumped the gun on me, but I had been listening for three or four years. I liked a lot of things Glen Campbell was doing... and Charley Pride."
"Kiss and Say Goodbye" was produced by the Philadelphia-based record producer Bobby Martin, a former member of the MFSB band of session musicians and recorded in 1975 at Joe Tarsia's Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. It would be a full year until it was released, possibly as the label was concerned about dropping a ballad during the disco explosion. "We thought that 'Kiss and Say Goodbye' would be the wrong song to release, and we were very much upset with Columbia choosing a R&B-Country song during the disco era," said Lovett. "And how wrong we were!"
Columbia issued two different singles: the full version aimed toward the R&B market, which included a mid-song rap and an edited "pop" edition without the spoken part. Lovett said: "Pop stations didn't like the rap the way I was talking, like Barry White, Isaac Hayes or Lou Rawls. They didn't like that talking in the beginning. They felt it would sell better, if it was without the rap. I was fine with that. Whatever would sell records that was fine."
This was the second single to earn platinum certification status, after the RIAA established the designation in 1976. (Labelmate Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" had been the first a few months earlier.)
UB40 covered this in 2005 scoring a #19 UK hit with their version.