Harvey Scales (September 27, 1942 – February 11, 2019) was an American R&B singer, songwriter, and producer. Scales had been active in the music industry since the 1960s, and composed songs for groups such as The Dells, The Dramatics and The O’Jays. He is particularly notable for his co-authorship of the songs “Love-Itis” and “Disco Lady“. Once called Milwaukee’s “Godfather of Soul” by a local reporter, Scales credits James Brown and the sound of “funk” for influencing his music career.
He was well known in Milwaukee, before his big break as a national songwriter. He was known as “Twistin’ Harvey”, in the early 1960s. In 1961, he and his longtime friend Albert Vance (1943–2003) formed the group, Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, which released several singles.
Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds initially recorded for Cuca Records, and later for Magic Touch Records, a Wisconsin-based label owned by Lenny LaCour. The band’s one hit was “Get Down”, backed with “Love-Itis”,which reached No. 32 on the R&B charts in 1967.
The band signed with Chess Records in 1969, recording for the Cadet Concept Records division, with LaCour continuing as producer. In 1970, the group had a regional hit with the LaCour-produced “The Funky Yolk”.Through his familiarity with producer Don Davis at Chess, Scales met singer Johnny Taylor, who was at the time recording for Stax Records. Scales then moved from Cadet Concept to Stax, releasing several singles. Scales followed the career of Johnny Taylor when Taylor moved to Columbia Records. As described by Ed Hogan:
- “When Stax became inactive, Taylor signed with Columbia, retaining Davis’ services. Recording at Davis’ favorite studio (United Sound Studios in Detroit), the producer used the Impressions‘ “Gypsy Woman” and an African dancer he had seen on a vacation to Spain as a template for a partially finished song (“Disco Baby”) that Scales had brought to him. Davis took it to (Bootsy) Collins and (Bernie) Worrell, who honed and tightened up the groove, while veteran arranger David Van De Pitte did the horn arrangements.”
Scales received national recognition for co-writing Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single for Johnnie Taylor, “Disco Lady“. “Disco Lady” was the very first platinum single in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America, selling over two million copies. It was certified platinum on April 22, 1976. As a result, Scales is the first songwriter of a platinum single in America.
Scales is also notable as being the co-writer of “Love-Itis“, a 1967 release by Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, which later was covered and was a hit for the Canadian band Mandala in 1968, and the J. Geils Band in 1975. The song was also covered by The Sonics, originally recorded in 1967.
The success of “Disco Lady” enabled Scales to obtain a recording contract with Casablanca Records. At Casablanca, Scales recorded the first two albums of his career, Confidential Affair (1978) and Hot Foot: A Funque Dizco Opera (1979). Scales did not release another album for eighteen years, when he released Somebody Else’s Somebody on Four Sight Records. In 2009, a compilation album of material by Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, recorded for Magic Touch Records, was released by Soul-Tay-Shus Records as Love-Itis: All the Rare & Unreissued 45’s from the Vaults of Magic Touch: 1967-1977.
Harvey Scales died on February 11, 2019.
- Somebody Else’s Somebody (1997) (Four Sight)
- Hot Foot: A Funque Dizco Opera (1979) (Casablanca)
- Confidential Affair (1978) (Casablanca)
- J-1132 Harvey (Twistin’ Harvey) “The Clock/ Every Step Of The Way”
- J-1155 Harvey & The Seven Sounds “Glamour Girl/New York City”
- J-1271 Harvey & The Seven Sounds “Independency/ I Want To Apologize”
- 1311 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “Bootleg/ Monkeytime ‘67”
- Magic Touch
- 2007 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “Get Down/ Love-Itis” 1967
- 16001 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “Broadway Freeze/ I Can’t Cry No More” 1968
- 2069 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “(It’s Too Good) Too Good To Be True/ Love Is A Gas” 1969
- 2072 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “Don’t You Ever Let It End/ The Sound Of Soul” 1969
- 2077 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “Welcome Home/ Trackdown” 1969
- 3002 Harvey Scales & the Seven Seas “Bump Your Thing/ Trying To Survive”
- 7006 Harvey Scales “Groove On Sexy Lady/ Rock The World”
- 9003 Harvey Scales “Follow The Disco Crowd/ Love Thief”
- Chess/Cadet Concept
- Harvey Scales and the Seven Sounds “The Funky Yolk” 1970
- 508014X Harvey Scales “Single Girls/ Spend The Nite Forever”
- 954 Harvey Scales “Shake-A-Matic/?”
- STS CD 6363 Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds “Love-Itis: All the Rare & Unreissued 45’s from the Vaults of Magic Touch: 1967-1977” 2009
- 72937 Harvey Scales “Shake Your Power/Sun Won’t Come Out”
- “Harvey Scales”, RYM Artists.
- Uncredited, Soulwalking, Biography of Harvey Scales. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
- “Harvey Scales 2009”. Archived 2014-07-27 at the Wayback Machine
- Taki S. Raton, “Twistn” Harvey Scales returns to Milwaukee. Milwaukee Courier, September 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- Ed Hogan, Biography of Harvey Scales; Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Dik De Heer, with Gary Meyers and Eric LeBlanc, Biography of Lenny LaCour; BlackCat Rockabilly Europe. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
- Allmusic, Release particulars of “Love-Itis”, by Mandala. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
- Allmusic, Release particulars of “Love-Itis”, by J. Geils Band. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Released on Fire and Ice II: The Lost Tapes (1996) and included on Pop Fiction – Rarest and collectable Garage Sounds from the sixties Vol. I (FGL Productions, 2009).
- The version by The Sonics is listed as unreleased: Instrumania, List of single releases – Jerden Records. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- On their album The Year 2000, released in 1980. “Once Is Not Enough” was considered to be the best song on the album. See Andrew Hamilton, Review of The Year 2000. Allmusic; retrieved 2011-12-13.
- On The Mighty, Mighty Dells (Cadet, 1974). See Uncredited, The Dells Discography. Rocky 52; Retrieved 2011-12-14.
- Carter, Nick. “A Homecoming for R&B’s Harvey Scales.” (2004, October 1). Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, p. 1.
- Flyth, Shelton L. (2004, June 16). “June is Black Music month: Saluting Harvey Scales.” New Journal & Guide, p. 1.
- Get Out – Best bets for the weekend and beyond. (2006, October 27). The Commercial Appeal, p. G.2.3.