Doing the Hustle

When I lived in New York City the early 1970s brought us disco and many different dances to learn. If you wanted to socialize you went to the nightclubs in Manhattan or in other boroughs. During this time one of the most popular dances was the Hustle. Van McCoy composed “The Hustle” on July 26, 1975, and it rose to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts. Soon the song was heard on the radio and in all the nightclubs so often that you could even find yourself hearing it in your head and doing the Hustle on the streets of New York. I know my friends and I would Hustle ourselves through Central Park just for fun but then we were teenagers and no one would let us into the clubs.

The inspiration for “The Hustle” came to singer, songwriter, and producer Van McCoy on a visit to New York City. A friend, who was a D.J. told him that people were doing a new kind of dance at Adam’s Apple nightclub on Manhattan’s East Side. His business partner went to check it out and upon being inspired by the dance music McCoy wrote and recorded “The Hustle” and included it on his album Disco Baby. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. “The Hustle” climbed the pop charts and had most everyone dancing and singing. Unfortunately, McCoy could only enjoy the popularity for a short while. He suffered a heart attack and passed away in 1979.

It even went through variations like the Latin, the Line and the New York Hustle being performed by people on dance floors across the entire nation. If you didn’t have the pleasure to do the Hustle perhaps you can learn to do it now.


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