VAN MCCOY R.I.P. ROCK N PERPETUITY!

April 22, 2007

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VAN MCCOY 1/6/40 – 7/6/79

Back in 1966, having been traumatized by my run in with the Rolling Stones in the U.K., I returned to the United States. My friend, Ed Silvers, who produced me as an artist for Liberty records, was now a vice-president of April-Blackwood music [Columbia Records publishing arm], and gave me my first job as a songplugger. Of all the staff writers who were signed to the company, Van McCoy, who was starting to make a name for himself, impressed me the most.

This was the first of many times in my career that I worked with him. I wasn’t at the company very long, but I managed to get Van a top 20 Billboard hit when I gave Chad and Jeremy, “Before And After”.

The next time I worked with him was when I went into business with David Kapralik, who was formerly the head of April-Blackwood. Van McCoy was producing for David and recorded a song from one of the writers I discovered and signed to an exclusive contract, Tony Romeo, who later went on to super-success writing for the Partridge family. Needless to say I was thrilled when Van put “I Will Watch Over You”, on the B-side of “Close Your Eyes”, the first hit by Peaches and Herb!

The last time I saw him was in the mid 70’s, just before his rise as the ‘King of Disco’, with “The Hustle”. He was in the Billboard top ten with “Walk Away From Love”, by David Ruffin, and Ed Silvers, head of Warner Brothers music sent me to New York to hang out with him and hear his new material. Van sat down at the piano and played me a half a dozen new songs that were sensational!! Then he invited me to the studio where he was putting down 16 tracks of live drums, a Linn drum machine and percussion for a 25 minute dance track.

It’s been almost 30 years since he passed away, but I still hear his vocal influence today in artists like Usher, Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo, who may or may not know who their “Musical Grandfather” was. Van’s singing was largely unknown by the general public, but his unique phrasing became popularized by artists who heard his demos and recorded his songs.

My faves in Van’s catalog include, “Baby, I’m Yours” by Barbara Lewis, “Giving Up” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and “When You’re Young and in Love” by Ruby and the Romantics.

I wish someone would put together a CD of Van’s incredible demos, so people outside of the industry would know what a great talent he really was.

VAN McCoy R.I.P.Rock In Perpetuity!

Your Friend, Artie Wayne

Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne

WHILE FIGHTING LARGE CORPORATIONS WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP ROYALTIES AWAY ME AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER ARTISTS, SONGWRITERS AND PUBLISHERSMY ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME IS FROM THE SALE OF MY BOOK. ” I DID IT FOR A SONG”, WITH OVER 100 STORIES FROM THE MUSIC BUSINESS OF THE ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. I HOPE YOU’LL CONSIDER BUYING ONE DIRECTLY FROM ME THROUGH PAYPAL FOR ONLY $9.99 AT  artiewayne@gmail.com OR BY CHECK TO…ARTIE WAYNE  P.O. BOX 1105, DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA 92240

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18 Responses to “VAN MCCOY R.I.P. ROCK N PERPETUITY!”

  1. Mick Patrick Says:

    Hey Artie, a CD full of Van McCoy demos sounds a great idea. The folks at Van McCoy Music would be sure to help out. He’s absolutely one of my favourite songwriter/producers — I’m talking ’60s, not the Hustle era. While I don’t consciously collect his compositions, I have amassed dozens, maybe hundreds. If you can somehow get a label interested, I’d assist in any way I can. Might I recommend Ace Records of London. They’re the kings of this kind of project.

    Hey la,

    Mick

  2. Ray Says:

    I’d definitely be interested in purchasing the CD if it comes into fruition

    Ray

  3. Jim Allio Says:

    Van McCoy wrote one great song after another and I love everyone I’ve heard. Three of my favorites are “Before and After,” and “You’ve Come Back” and “It’s Just About That Time,” recorded by Lesley Gore in 1964. Great stuff! A CD of Van’s demos, even ones including the smokin’ Sandi Sheldon, would be very welcome and I’m thrilled that this may finally come to pass. Van McCoy is truly one of the unheralded greats.

  4. Julio Niño. Says:

    Just the idea of a Compilation of Van´s sixties demos makes me suffer a tachycardia and feel dizzy.I hope someday, someone out there decides to do it.
    I agree with Mick Patrick, ACE records would be the perfect label for a compilation dedicated to Van.
    Best.
    Julio Niño.

  5. Nick Archer Says:

    I was a huge Van McCoy fan and didn’t even know it. All of the songs that you mentioned and more were favorites of mine, as well as groups like the Choice Four. It wasn’t til later that I found out that Van’s contributions were the common factor. I would buy any Van McCoy CD comp in a second, and more for my friends.

    Nick Archer
    Franklin, TN USA

  6. alex lang Says:

    hello artie,
    a cd of vans material will certainly go down a storm over here in the UK with soul fans everywhere !
    what a mouthwatering prospect.
    please keep me informed if this happens !

    cheers

    alex


  7. Here, here, for the idea of a Van McCoy song retrospective. For that matter, we need retrospectives on Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Howard Greenfield, Toni Wine and Jackie DeShannon, too. Contrary to what reissue labels like Rhino seem to believe, Burt Bacharach is not the only ’60s Pop composer who deserves to be commemorated on disc.

  8. Steve Dworkin Says:

    Hi Artie,
    Great idea. I suggested a “best of” Van McCoy CD a few years back to a few record companies but they didn’t seem to be interested & I even contacted someone at Van McCoy music, who told me that they were working on one, but that never came to be. I first heard of Van when I came across a 2 45’s “Starlight Starbright” on Columbia & “It Ain’t No Big Thing” on Rockway. They were so different that I wasn’t sure it was the same guy. Then my friend Steve Feldman wrote “Were Acting Like Lovers” by The Spellbinders which Van McCoy arranged. Two other of his songs were included on the album. He also wrote a song that became the B side of “You’re Messin Up My Mind” by Herb Fame, and pointed out how Van did all the background vocals himself. In those days that was unusual, plus it sounded great. Since then I’ve been a big fan of his music & I think that it’s sad that he’s known mostly as the guy who did “The Hustle” & not for all those great songs he wrote. I hope I see that CD soon, I’ll buy it.-Steve Dworkin

    • Chris Lalor Says:

      Is Steve Feldman still around ? In 2003 I tracked down
      all the members of the Spellbinders and organised a reunion in New Jersey, of course Van McCoy was central to that day. Later I wrote an article on Van McCoy for the UK magazine “That Beating Rythmn” – I tracked down David Kapralik who agreed to give an interview. I would love to talk to Steve, he wrote a couple of those songs for that Spellbinders album.
      Chris L

  9. David Feldman Says:

    I hope the demo compilation becomes a reality, Artie. I’d buy it the day it comes out. McCoy was a bit of a chameleon as a songwriter and arranger; I’d love to hear his take on his great songs.

  10. Phil Reeves Says:

    Artie
    I think we should all support a project leading to Van’s
    demo’s being issued.
    A remarkable talent for his distinctive writing,arranging & producing on a vast range of artists. So many of those special recordings have become hugely sought after & loved rarities .
    And then there is his singing!. If there was one singer who’s voice i’d want it would be Van’s and i want the rest of the world to know what they have missed out on all these years.
    Make it happen..PLEASE.
    Phil

  11. Phil M. Says:

    Van is the man! I’ve got my credit card out and my droolcup in place under my chin, just waiting for word on where I line up to buy a copy.

  12. Tom Diehl Says:

    I think that putting out a cd of Van’s demos would be an absolutely fantastic idea. It would be such a great way to honor the man long after he passed away, to show his influence on generations through his songs, the way he originally envisioned them. If you can get a record company to license, master and release the recordings, I have no doubt it will be a hit, and that is a cd i would love to sink my ears into.

  13. John Greenberg Says:

    I would like to add my voice the chorus of people who would welcome a cd of van’s demos much like Varese Sarabande did with their CD of PF Sloan Demos. I love the Baby I’m yours demo , and would love to hear more, espcieally Before & After. The demos I have heard through the Spectropop group are always just amazing. You never know – if Price and Walsh can garner a CD of demos (which is also great and I highly recommend it), than certainly Van McCoy deserves one.

  14. Andrew C. Jones Says:

    Van McCoy has been responsible, directly or indirectly, for so many of my favorite musical moments that if and when a CD of his demos DOES come out … Baby, It’s Mine!

  15. david Says:

    iam a huge fan of van mccoy,i would love a cd to be made,i have got only vinyl records of the great man,the hustle was the first record i ever owned,my favorite album is my favorite fantasy,he was a great talent,love his singing voice and all his music,rip van we miss you,david

  16. colleen Says:

    I loved the record he did Change with the Times and the song that Florence Ballard of the Supremes did Love Aint Love that he wrote.

  17. Kevin Patrick Hodgkiss Says:

    Over the years I’ve collected so many of Van’s songs but one that rarely gets mentioned but is a stunner is Lulu’s “Take Me As I Am”. Big, full, blasting ballad and so Van. I believe it was only an album track from 1967{?}. And I concur. I would love to hear a Van demo CD. That would do it for me. Truly an under appreciated artist who unfortunately is known only for “The Hustle”.


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