Retirement has gotten a little softer for former Aliquippa Middle School principal Melvin Steals.
Two weeks ago, Melvin and his twin brother Mervin both received their 2020 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.
The Grammys honored the Steals siblings for the drum track of their 1978 song “Love Thang” which was prominently sampled in “10%”, the club banger of Canadian electronic DJ-producer Kaytranada which won the Best category. dance recording at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards on March 14.
The Steals learned of their Grammy victory in May via an email from the Recording Academy, which features the famous Grammy Awards for musical excellence.
The Steals received their Grammy by Fed-Ex delivery on July 7.
Songwriting success is nothing new for Aliquippa’s born and raised twins, who wrote many songs in the late 60s and 70s, such as “Honey Bee” for the Queen. disco Gloria Gaynor, “Trusting Heart” by The Trammps, and the silky smooth, Billboard Top-10 classic “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by The Spinners.
Melvin wrote the lyrics to “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” based on memories of courting his teenage sweetheart Adrena, whom he’s been married to for 53 years.
“‘Could It Be I’m Falling in Love’ received a Grammy nomination but lost to ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ in the 1970s,” said Melvin, who now lives in Economy.
It was surprising news for the 75-year-old siblings to find out that they won a Grammy for their contributions to Kaytranada, 28’s most beloved dance club song.
Melvin said that he, Mervin and their “Love Thang” collaborator McKinley Jackson, former band leader of legendary Marvin Gaye, all initially thought it was a hoax when they were told about their Grammy triumph.
“In fact, it wasn’t until Wednesday of last week, when I saw the official certificate sitting on a Fed Ex box on Adrena and my dining room table, that I realized that a song we had written and produced all three in 1978 had won each of us a Grammy Award, ”said Melvin. “Words cannot describe the feeling of joy I felt when Adrena led me into the room to see him. There are some things in life that are worth waiting for, and receiving a very prestigious award like this is certainly one of them. “
According to Melvin, ‘”Love Thang’ was recorded by three vivid disco divas from Philly who called themselves First Choice, best known for their hit songs’ Armed and Extremely Dangerous’ and ‘Doctor Love. It became a huge recording. Music House in the late 1980s, when my son, Mel Jr., was enrolled in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his BA in Economics. “
Rap artists who achieved commercial and critical success sampling “Love Thang” included Chubb Rock (his Billboard Hot Rap Chart # 1 “Treat ’em Right”) and Boogie Down Productions (the group’s “Word From Our Sponsors” influential hip-hop debut in 1987.)
Realizing decades ago that the odds were stacked against making a living as a songwriter. Mervin settled in New Jersey and became a carpenter and then moved to Bushkill in the Poconos where he is self-employed. Melvin taught for 25 years in Aliquippa, Freedom and Quaker Valley school districts, then served as principal for 11 more in Aliquippa, Quaker Valley and Seneca Valley.
Although they continue to earn royalties, mainly from “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”, as well as the popular A $ AP Rocky hip-hop recording “Back Home”, which samples the chorus of the single ” Gotta Find My Way “1968 Back Home” by Beaver Valley top list The Jaggerz.
The Steals wrote “Gotta Find My Way Back Home” and “Forever Together – Together Forever” for the Jaggerz’s debut album as 22-year-old writers for the famous Philadelphia studios of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Melvin recently started collaborating on a brand new song with The Jaggerz.
The Steals began writing an autobiography about their career in the recording industry.
“We are currently working on a musical that will also try to tell important parts of the trials and tribulations that we have encountered and overcome in our 53-year career as R&B songwriters,” said Melvin.
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One of the best and newest highlights is winning their Grammy Awards. For now, they have their official Grammy certificates, but the Steals can also get their Grammy trophies, like the ones you see presented on the podium at the annual awards show.
“My brother just informed me that I should buy one, which I am more than willing to do,” Melvin said.
Scott Tady is the local entertainment reporter for The Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He is easy to reach at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @scottady