Harvey Scales is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and producer. Scales has been active in the music industry since the 1960s, and has composed songs for groups such asThe 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.
Scales, an Osceola, Arkansas native, grew up in Milwaukee and attended Roosevelt Middle School and North Division High School.
Scales was well known in his home town of Milwaukee Wisconsin, 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.
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 bandMandala in 1968, and the J. Geils Band in 1975. The song was also covered by The Sonic originally recorded in 1967.
Scales also co-wrote, with Bunny Sigler, "Once Is Not Enough", recorded by The O'Jays and, as sole composer, "Be For Real With Me", which was recorded by The Dells. 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.
Scales continues to perform in Milwaukee, and at other venues throughout the United States.
Copyright 2016. Soul Untold: The Life & Times of Soul Legend Harvey Scales. All Rights Reserved.