Thursday, August 17, 2017

Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony – The Hustle (Avco Records)

Born in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 06, 1940, Van McCoy began writing his own songs by the age of 12, in addition to performing in local amateur shows alongside his older brother, Norman Jr. The two brothers formed a Doo-Wop act named the Starlighters with two friends while in Roosevelt High School, eventually putting out their first song – ‘The Birdland’ – back in 1956.
Although he managed to have more or less 700 song copyrights to his credit, eventually producing for artists such as Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Brenda & the Tabulations, David Ruffin, Peaches & Herb, Faith, Hope & Charity and Stacy Lattisaw, he’s most remembered for the legendary ‘The Hustle’ which he composed while in the Big Apple to record an album back in 1975, after his partner watched regulars of Adam’s Apple local nightclub dancing the Hustle.
Famous drummer Steve Gadd and guitarist Eric Gale were among the musicians doing the recording session as piccolo player Phillip Bodner responsible for the lead melody, under the direction of orchestra leader Gene Orloff.
Remembered as one of the most popular themes of the Disco era as one of the biggest instruentals ever (see our 10 Essentials in the series), Van McMcCoy came up with the idea of doin’ an extended version of it which sadly saw the light with additional recorded parts soon after his sudden death from a heart attack in Englewood, NJ, on Jul. 06, 1979, at the age of 39…

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