The Philly Soul sound was central to early disco. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' soulful take on city life, "Bad Luck," electrified dancefloors across the country. The beginning of a long history of rhythmic instrumentals by jazz musicians being favored in dance clubs is represented by jazz instrumentalist Herbie Mann's "Hijack."
Vernon Burch - "And You Call That Love" (United Artists)
Vernon Burch played as a guitarist with the Bar-Kays while still a teenager. He launched his solo career in the mid-1970s at the age of 18. Vernon Burch's work was strongly influenced by Stevie Wonder's music.
Crystal Grass - "Crystal World" (Import)
Crystal Grass was an early project of Egyptian native Alec R. Costandinos. He would become a key disco producer of the late 1970s.
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes - "Bad Luck" (Philadelphia Int'l)
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes had been recording singles as a vocal group since the 1950s. However, they really hit their stride in the early 1970s with such proto-Disco hits as "The Love I Lost." Driven relentlessly by the hi-hat cymbal, "Bad Luck" topped the Disco chart for a phenomenal 11 weeks in early 1975. It is a classic example of the work of the production team of Gamble and Huff and the songwriting team of McFadden and Whitehead.
Herbie Mann - "Hijack" (Atlantic)
Jazz flute player Herbie Mann headed into disco territory in the mid-1970s. "Hijack" blends his flute with R&B backing vocals over an early disco funk workout. The result was a big #1 disco hit.
Gloria Scott - "Just As Long As We're Together" (Casablanca)
Gloria Scott was one of the earliest artists to score a disco hit on the fledgling Casablanca Record label that would become one of the most important labels in the early history of disco. She delivers impassioned R&B vocals over a mellow orchestral disco track.
Temptations - "Glasshouse" (Gordy)
Classic Motown vocal group the Temptations followed their disco success with "Happy People" from the album A Song For You with another track from the collection titled "Glasshouse." It is a dissertation on the concept of not throwing stones if you live in a glasshouse. The song turned out to be the final top 40 pop hit by the Temptations after more than 35 hits.