Local music legend co-wrote mega Johnny Taylor hit “Disco Lady”
Milwaukee soul music singer, songwriter, performer and legend Harvey Scales, who co-wrote Johnny Taylor’s smash hit, “Disco Lady,” died earlier this week in Atlanta at age 78.
With his band “The Seven Sounds,” Scales dominated the local soul band scene for decades dating back to the ‘60s. His group’s energetic signature sound had audience rocking, rolling, and sweating out of their seats. The group released several singles that helped it garner a national following.
A prolific songwriter, Scales wrote songs for such groups as The O’Jays, The Dramatics, The Dells, and many others. His greatest success and obvious claim to fame was with Taylor and “Disco Lady.”
Milwaukee Ald. Khalif Rainey expressed sadness at learning of Scales passing, calling him Milwaukee’s own legendary soul singer and musician.
“I’ve heard from a few people who remember Harvey working at the American Motors plant way back when, and how he was – in many ways – just a normal Milwaukee guy,” Rainey said in a press statement.
“In Milwaukee, before he broke onto the national scene as a songwriter, he was known as ‘Twistin’ Harvey,’ and in 1961, he and longtime friend, the late Albert Vance, formed the group Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, and released several singles that garnered significant attention because of their sound and superior dance-friendliness.
Rainey noted that despite all of the success and praise Scales received, it was not at all unusual to catch his live club shows across Milwaukee with The Seven Sounds, delighting smaller sized crowds with his soulful vocals and smooth dance moves.
“Harvey was a positive influence on musicians and others he came in contact with in Milwaukee and beyond, and we will remember him for his many positive contributions, including The Harvey Scales Fund, aimed at helping retired musicians and entertainers in need of assistance or who have medical needs.”
Details of services for Scales is pending.—Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff