Noted soul singer and writer HARVEY SCALES died today…. Tuesday, 12th February. The news was announced via Facebook by his family but no cause of death was given. Harvey was 78 and is best known for fronting his own band The Seven Sounds and for his writing prowess ,…. his most famous song being Johnnie Taylor’s ‘Disco Lady’ but he also wrote for icons like the Dells, the Dramatics and the O’Jays.
Born in Osceola, Arkansas in 1942 Harvey Scales grew up Milwaukee where he eventually became known as Milwaukee’s “Godfather of Soul”. In 1961 with a friend Albert Vance, Harvey formed the Seven Sounds and recording for labels like Cuca, Magic Touch and Chess, he enjoyed moderate success with songs like ‘Love-Itis’ while tracks like ‘I’ll Run To Your Side’ and ‘Giving U What U Want’ eventually became rare soul favourites.
Whilst recording at Chess, Harvey became friendly with top writer/producer Don Davis who was also working with Stax artist Johnnie Taylor. The link brought Harvey a contract with Stax and his Memphis recording, ‘I Can’t Cry No More’ remains an underground soul favourite. When Stax folded, Taylor and Davis moved to Columbia and there Scales offered the pair a new song he was working on called ‘Disco Baby’. With some editing and input from Bootsy Collins, the song became ‘Disco Lady’ and with it Johnnie Taylor secured the very first platinum single, selling over two million copies.
Scales then won himself a record contract with Casablanca where he cut two LPs, but neither enjoyed much success. Over the years most of Harvey Scales’s music has been reissued and until recently he was active on the Milwaukee music scene.