The music that got people out of their seats and onto the dance floor originated with humble beginnings in Hialeah, Florida. KC has never moved farther than 10 miles away from his birthplace and the birthplace of his legendary music underlines the fact that he is proud that his “Sunshine Sound” has flourished continuously for over 37 years.
“I remember that I always wanted to do something that would make people forget about their problems and be happy,” recalls KC. “I always loved music and I was fortunate enough to grow up in a multi-ethnic area that exposed me to a lot of different cultures and music…from Pop to Reggae to Latin. I experimented at trying to put all three types of music together and the Sunshine Sound was born. Why move from an area that not only do I love, but owe so much to?’
Let’s “rewind” back to 1973. The price of an average home was $32,500. The price of an average automobile was $2,900. The price of a gallon of gasoline was 40 cents a gallon. The United Stales was still involved in the Vietnam conflict, Richard Nixon was the target of the Watergate investigation, University Students were protesting and rioting, and there was discontent all over the world with rising unemployment and inflation. People were looking for something that would divert their attention from the negative aspects of everyday life surrounding them.
During this time, young Harry Casey did anything and everything that he could do to further his passion for music. He worked at a local record store, opened boxes at Tone Record Distributors and hung around a local recording studio just hoping that somebody would give him a chance to fulfill his biggest dream…to record a record.
That “dream” was answered by a man named Henry Stone who owned both Tone Distributors and TK Recording Studios. KC recalls the early days of TK Records: “It was like a big family and Henry was our Dad.” Stone had recorded Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker and James Brown at the TK Recording Studios and took a liking to the energetic and optimistic Harry Casey and decided to give him a chance to make his dream come true…a chance to record.
Nobody would have thought that Henry Stone’s insight and Harry Casey’s talent and enthusiasm would make history and make Miami, Florida the hottest music city on the planet. The “birth” of KC and the Sunshine band was about to happen and nobody knew that its birth would not only bring the world legendary music, but influence a whole generation. From clothing to hairstyles to dance styles to new acceptable words in the English language, KC and the Sunshine Band had arrived! And what an arrival! Four Number one Records in a row, Grammy Awards, Peoples Choice Awards, American Music Awards, and the focus of the music world became Miami, Florida.
Things have changed drastically since 1973. One thing hasn’t changed, though. The infectious, feel good happy music of KC and the Sunshine Band. What started out as a “dream” is now “legend.”
Their first record, BLOW YOUR WHISTLE, made the top 15 on the R&B chart.
Their second album, KC & 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. Also in 1975 he won the American Music Award for Best R&B Artist.
KC & 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 crossed over to become #1 R&B, as well.
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.
He also received Grammy Awards 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.
In 2002 KC received the coveted Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
KC’s music is now being sampled by rappers, and whole new generations of fans have been introduced to his music.
Harry Wayne Casey, a true icon of so many generations, gets people up and dancing, making everyone happy, his place at the top in the music world is secure and that is as it should be.
KC and the Sunshine Band have been entertaining audiences around the world for over 37 years, and have sold in excess of 100 million records and “That’s The Way They Like It” uh-huh uh-huh!