American songwriter Frederick James “Freddie” Perren produced records, arranged music and was an orchestra conductor. He graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with future Capital Records executive Larkin Arnold.
He started his career with Barry Gordy over at Motown in 1969 co-writing hit songs for The Jacoson 5 like I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, and Mama’s Pearl among others. With the birth of Disco in the 70’s, He shifted into the Disco arena and produced hits like Do it Baby and Love Machine for The Miracles.
In 1976 Perren reunited with his friend, Larkin Arnold, Vice President, over at Capital Records. In the next two years Perren helped The Sylvers achieve success producing their first two Capitol Albums. They had two Gold singles with Hotline and then Boogie Fever which reached number one on the Billboard Top 100 and Hot Soul Singles.
By 1976 he created his own production company, MVP Productions. He represented Peaches & Herb and scored a deal with Polydor Records. He produced Shake Your Groove Thing and their number one hit Reunited.
He was rolling high by 1980 when he won the first Grammy for Best Disco Recording for Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. Gaynor’s version sold four million copies in the U.S. and went number one in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Then Disco hit the wall. With a super saturated market “The Disco Sucks” movement gained traction and the Grammys removed the Disco category in 1981, making Perren the only person to receive a Disco Grammy for best recording.
Perren made it back in the mid-80’s with the advent of boy bands when Boyz II Men took his song It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday to the number two spot on the top 100 on the Hot R&B Singles Chart.
He is no longer with us, but his Boogie Fever still sings.
This Halloween tombstone is dedicated to the rise and fall of Disco.
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