In Music

Harvey Scales on stage at Summerfest 50 in 2017.

Milwaukee soul legend Harvey Scales has died

Hearts are heavy today among music lovers who are learning about the passing on Monday of Milwaukee soul legend Harvey Scales at the age of 78.

Born in 1941, Scales was a fixture on the scene here for decades, and shows with his band The Seven Sounds, with the late Al Vance on bass, were hard-hittin', sweat-inducing workouts.

Scales also was well-known nationally for hits he wrote for others, including Johnny Taylor's smash hit, "Disco Lady."

We last saw Scales at Summerfest 50 in 2017 and he was still rocking.

News of his passing was reported yesterday on and in Facebook posts by family members.

We'll miss you, Harvey.

Alderman Khalif J. Rainey issues this statement about Scales on Tuesday:

"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Milwaukee's own legendary soul singer and musician, Harvey Scales. He passed yesterday at age 78.

"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. 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.

"Harvey Scales was active in the music industry locally and nationally dating back to the 1960s, performing live and composing songs for groups such as The Dells, The Dramatics and The O'Jays, and well-known nationally for co-writing the hit songs "Love-Itis" and "Disco Lady," the platinum-selling song made famous by R&B legend Johnnie Taylor. Despite all of that success and praise, it was not at all unusual to catch Harvey's 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.

"Harvey was a true legend and an immensely talented son of Milwaukee. He will be missed."


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