KC and the Sunshine Band are still as widely popular today as they were when they first danced into the music scene 50 years ago. Harry Wayne Casey—KC for short—developed a unique fusion of R&B and funk, with a hint of a Latin percussion groove, giving us an impressive string of hits like “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s The Way (I Like It)” and “Shake Your Booty.” With sales of over 100 million records, nine Grammy nominations, three Grammy Awards and an American Music Award, KC and the Sunshine Band was one of the most progressive bands of the 70s and is credited with changing the sound of modern pop music. Today, KC and the Sunshine Band play over 100 live shows annually, circling the country and playing dates regularly throughout Europe, Australia and South America. This year KC will celebrate 50 years of entertaining us, writing songs, and performing around the world and has no intention of stopping.
In the last decade KC has continued to influence the dance and disco scene by releasing new music, most recently his single, “Unconditional Love featuring Bimbo Jones.” In March of 2015 KC and the Sunshine Band released, “Feeling You! The 60s.” The album was a tribute to the era that shaped KC into the revolutionary artist he became in the 70s. Covers on the album include songs by sixties legends Bob Dylan, Ben E. King, The Kinks, The Righteous Brothers, Jackie DeShannon, Aaron Neville and many more. Just like the rest of America during that time he was inspired by the music, innocence, sex, social and political movements and counterculture of the era, which led to him founding the Dance Revolution and teaching the world how to boogie.
“The widespread social and political issues of the 1960s was, in part, the inspiration to do something that would make people forget about their problems and be happy,” said Casey. “People were looking for something that would divert their attention from the negative aspects of everyday life surrounding them.”
KC started working in the music business at age 17, performing menial tasks around the T.K. Records/Studio complex in his hometown of Miami. The Sunshine Band originated in 1973. Their first record, Blow Your Whistle, made the top 15 on the R&B chart. Their second album, KC and the Sunshine Band, was released in 1975, went triple platinum and contained the #1 hits “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “Boogie Shoes” and “Rock Your Baby.” KC and the Sunshine Band became the first act to score four #1 pop singles in one 12-month period since the Beatles in 1964. Three of those singles also crossed over to become #1 R&B tracks.
KC’s third album, Part 3, released in 1976, also went triple platinum and contained the #1 singles “I’m Your Boogie Man,” “Shake Your Booty” and “Keep It Comin’ Love.” The band’s string of hit singles continued with “Boogie Shoes,” which was included on the Saturday Night
Fever soundtrack, “Please Don’t Go” and “Yes, I’m Ready,” a duet with high school friend Teri DeSario. KC returned to the charts in 1983 with “Give It Up,” which also hit #1 in the UK.
KC’s success in music has earned him an extensive list of accolades including an American Music Award for Best R&B Artist in 1975 and a songwriting Grammy for Best R&B song for “Where Is The Love,” which was recorded by Betty Wright. He also received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, as well as Producer of the Year in 1978 for his work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. In 2001, KC was honored with the NARAS Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by a chapter of the Academy. He received a coveted Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002, where Dick Clark and music producer Michael Lloyd turned out to honor him. This particular recognition represents the passion that KC has in writing music, implementing elements of various eras in his songs, proving him to be a passionate, veteran craftsman. All of these career highlights are chronicled in his book, That’s The Way I Like It – The Harry Wayne Casey Story, which was published that same year.
KC’s music continues to be a favorite today. His songs have appeared in ads for companies like General Motors, Burger King, Payless Shoes, Papa John’s Pizza, Old Navy and Nick at Nite. His music has also been featured in over 200 commercials and movies such as Forrest Gump (“Get Down Tonight”), Boogie Nights (“Boogie Shoes”), Boys Don’t Cry (“Rock Your Baby”), Rush Hour (“Get Down Tonight”), Carlito’s Way (“Rock Your Baby,” “Shake Your Booty” and “That’s The Way I Like It”) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (“Shake Your Booty”). In the summer of 2003, KC also had a cameo in the feature film The In-Laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.
KC’s songs are regularly heard at sporting events, were featured during Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy and he even performed a free concert in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. No stranger to the small screen, KC’s songs have been featured in such shows as Desperate Housewives, Ally McBeal, American Bandstand’s 50th Anniversary Party and most recently American Idol and Dancing With The Stars with the help of the USC marching band. Additionally, KC and the Sunshine Band have the distinction of having made more appearances on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve than any other artist in the program’s history!
Music acts like White Zombie, Baha Men, Beyoncé and American Idol’s Kelly & Justin have covered his music. Additionally, KC and the Sunshine Band’s grooves and bass lines have been sampled in everything from “Rap” by Snoop Dogg to “Trick Daddy to Dance” by Ultra Nate and many, many more.
You can count on hearing his music on the radio, at a nightclub, at the movies, in a sports arena or at one of the 100-plus concerts KC and the Sunshine Band plays every year. It is always fun and truly makes all who hear it happy enough to dance!
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