Hip-hop ARTIST OUTKAST sampled the recording by Scacy & the Sound Service called Sunshine in 2006. It was on Outkast (MIGHTY O) CD.
Glenarden resident Irving Haywood said he has had a number of professions over the years — auto repairman, photographer and maker of decorative tobacco pipes. After a successful surgery gave him a new lease on life, he decided to return to his first passion: music.
“It just didn’t seem to click,” Haywood said of his fledgling music career in the 1960s and 1970s. “I couldn’t get a break. So I stayed away from it until a couple years ago.”
Haywood, who is in his 60s but declined to give his exact age, said that after having open-heart surgery in 2011, he was inspired to return to singing.
In his first formal performances since the early 1970s, he won the seventh annual statewide Maryland Senior Idol, an iteration of the “American Idol” singing competition. The competition, hosted by the Prince George’s Department of Parks and Recreation, is for people older than 60. It was held at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts on April 3.
“I just had a spiritual experience,” he said. “I said to myself, what in my life did I really enjoy doing? It was about getting back into what I really love.”
Haywood, who served on the Glenarden City Council from 2007 though 2011, said he was in a number of singing groups in the Washington, D.C., area, starting in junior high school. But in the late 1960s, he formed Scacy and the Sound Service, an early funk and go-go band that he said grew to be the local opening act for funk band War and singer Stevie Wonder.
“I was named for my uncle, who was missing in action [in World War II],” Haywood said. “I asked my family if they had any nicknames for him, and they said ‘Scacy.’ I thought that was pretty catchy.”
Harry Young said he was the manager for Scacy and the Sound Service in the early 1970s and has remained close friends with Haywood. He said he has always encouraged Haywood to return to music, so he was “really excited” to see him perform at the competition.
“I think I cried when he left the business, because he was such a talented guy,” Young said. “... It was incredible to hear him sing again. It’s something I had been waiting and hoping for for many years.”
City Councilwoman Elaine A. Carter (Ward 2) said that although she had served with Haywood on the council, she had no idea about his talents until he was goaded into singing at a city function a few years ago.
“He’s not the kind of man that goes around tooting his own horn,” Carter said. “I just had no idea until the occasion arose when someone asked him to sing. It was like, ‘Whoa, is that the councilman that I know?’”
Haywood said he is ordinarily a soft-spoken man, but being on stage, singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, brought him right back to his youth.
“It was really uplifting, and the crowd was so responsive,” Haywood said. “... When I sing, I become another person, really. I just get really into what I’m doing.”
Haywood said his prize for winning was a glass trophy of a microphone and around $400 in gift cards. And he said the competition could spark some new singing opportunities for him.
“Maybe I’ll get some wedding gigs,” Haywood said with a laugh
Irving “Scacy” Haywood was at C G Woodson Junior High School in 1964 when he sang lead vocals on The D.C. Playboys’ “You Were All I Needed” on Arock Records with respected producer Van McCoy and it wasn’t long after that when he helped organize vocal group The Ascots. In the early 1970s Haywood saw new groups cropping up left and right in his hometown so he asked his father for money to post an ad in The Washington Star to start a new group. The elder Haywood didn’t hesitate.
Scacy and The Sound Service performed top 40 material at Byrne Manor and other cabarets around DC along with fellow go-go pioneers The Soul Searchers, The Young Senators, and Black Heat and opened for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Carla and Rufus Thomas, and War. Eager to put out a record Haywood asked his bandmates if anyone had written any songs. New organist Bennie Braxton had an original piece called “Sunshine,” which Scacy and The Sound Service recorded on Scacy Records at Track Recorders in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1972. Outkast sampled the song in 2006.
Shortly after releasing “Sunshine” Haywood received a call from fellow former Ascots singer Archie Powell who asked him to replace a member of his group The Presidents. Haywood toured with them and appeared with them as Anacostia on Soul Train in 1972.
Haywood’s participation in Anacostia was only temporary and afterwards he retired from music, establishing a career at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. In 2011 after a major surgery Haywood was inspired to return to music and won the Prince George’s County and Maryland Senior Idol Competitions by singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”