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Packing Up My Memories
That Fatal Mailing List #101: "Getting Mighty Crowded" (1980)
To call songwriter, producer, and performer Van McCoy “prolific” feels inadequate. No doubt his first credit that comes to mind is his 1975 hit dance number “The Hustle.” In fact, ou want to do the Hustle right now; I get it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Our friend Wikipedia credits McCoy with around 700 song copyrights, having produced songs for Gladys Knight & the Pips, Aretha Franklin, the Stylistics, and Lesley Gore, among many others. He died of a heart attack in 1979, just 39 years old; it’s almost impossible to imagine how much music he could have made if he’d had the rest of his life to make it.
McCoy penned “Getting Mighty Crowded,” recorded by Betty Everett in 1964 and a top 20 hit in the UK.
More than a decade later, Elvis Costello would turn to the song as a possible cover for inclusion on his 1980 album Get Happy!! It eventually emerged as a B-side from the “High Fidelity” single before earning its place on the Taking Liberties B-sides and rarities collection. It’s also featured on the approximately 27,000 reissues of Get Happy!! undertaken in the past forty-odd years.
Everett’s original shuffles and swings; Costello and the Attractions take a more amped-up approach, increasing the speed just enough to qualify as “uptempo.” At that pace, it’s easy to imagine the Costello version slotting into the Get Happy!! running order. Instead, a few others covers would take their place alongside 18 EC originals.
Listen to “Getting Mighty Crowded” on the streaming service of your choice.