and producer who, arguably, helped invent, or, rather, popularize disco
, back in the 1970s
. His original claim to fame was as a member of "The Corporation" a four-man production unit within Motown
(the group included Berry Gordy
himself); their biggest project was the handling of the early Jackson Five
recordings, with hits like "I Want You Back" (1969), and "The Love You Save" and "ABC
" (1970). Perren also revitalized The Miracles, with hits like "Love Machine" and "Do it Baby" (1973), dispelling doubts about their viability in the wake of Smokey Robinson
's retirement from the group.
Perren then struck out on his own, working with J5 clones The Sylvers (and Michael clone Foster Sylvers). He also worked on the soundtracks to Cooley High and the Fred "The Hammer" Williamson blaxploitation flick Hell Up in Harlem. But it was the rise of disco in the mainstream marketplace that made his semi-legend. His most famous song might be Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" (coining the "naked and petrified" phrase that we've all grown to love), but if you listened to Top 40 radio, you were bound to hear something he'd co-written and/or produced, songs like Tavares' "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel", Peaches and Herb's "Shake Your Groove Thing" and "Reunited", and various Bee Gees songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" and Tavares' "More Than a Woman"), and more. He even wrote the theme for a sitcom called Makin' It, a series attempting (and failing) to latch onto the success of SNF.
In more recent decades, his songs have been revived in various contexts, including "I Will Survive" in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Boys II Men's cover of a song from Cooley High; he has continued to write and produce, perhaps most notably for a nascent second generation of J5 clones, the original New Edition.