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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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