KC and the Sunshine Band
KC and the Sunshine Band
KC and the Sunshine Band are an American disco and funk band, founded in 1973 in Hialeah, Florida. Their best-known songs include the hits "That's the Way (I Like It)", "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty", "I'm Your Boogie Man", "Keep It Comin' Love", "Get Down Tonight", "Boogie Shoes", "Please Don't Go" and "Give It Up". The band took its name from lead vocalist Harry Wayne Casey's last name ("KC") and the "Sunshine Band" from KC's home state of Florida, the Sunshine State. The group scored 6 top 10 singles, 5 number one singles and one number two single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The band was formed in 1973 by Harry Wayne Casey (KC), a record store employee and part-timer at TK Records in Hialeah, Florida. KC originally called the band KC & The Sunshine Junkanoo Band, as he used studio musicians from TK and a local Junkanoo band called the Miami Junkanoo Band. He was then introduced to Richard Finch, who was doing engineering work on records for TK. This was the beginning of the Casey-Finch musical collaboration. The initial members were just Casey and Finch. Guitarist Jerome Smith (June 18, 1953 - July 28, 2000) and drummer Robert Johnson, both TK studio musicians, were added later.
The first few songs, "Blow Your Whistle" (September 1973) and "Sound Your Funky Horn" (February 1974), were released as singles, and did well enough on the U.S. R&B chart and overseas that TK wanted a follow-up single and album. However, while working on demos for KC & the Sunshine Band, the song "Rock Your Baby" (George McCrae) was created, featuring Smith on guitar, and became a number one hit in 51 countries in mid-1974. The band's "Queen of Clubs", which featured uncredited vocals by McCrae, was a hit in the UK, peaking at #7, and they went on a tour there in 1975.
With the release of the self-titled second album KC and the Sunshine Band in 1975 came the group's first major U.S. hit with "Get Down Tonight". It topped the R&B chart in April and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August. "That's the Way (I Like It)" also became a number one hit in November 1975 and the group did well at the 1976 Grammy Awards. The 1976 album Part 3 yielded two number one singles: "I'm Your Boogie Man" and "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty". Another hit, "Keep It Comin' Love", peaked at number two. Their success lasted until the fifth album from 1979; their last chart topping hit was "Please Don't Go", hitting number one for one week in January 1980, and becoming the first number one hit of the 1980s. With the explosion of new wave music and the declining popularity of disco, the group explored other styles and changed labels, joining Epic Records in 1980 after TK Records went bankrupt.
With a change in styles, Casey enjoyed success, dueting with Teri DeSario with "Yes, I'm Ready," which hit No. 2 in March 1980; the adult contemporary sound was much different from his disco hits of the 1970s, and his first major success away from the Sunshine Band.
In 1981, the partnership between Finch and Casey came to an acrimonious end. Two years after the release of the previous album, the band released two albums with new material: The Painter and Space Cadet. These albums generated little success, but in 1982, a hit track called "Give It Up" from the album All in a Night's Work brought a return to success in the UK, and appeared two years later in the U.S. Top 40. The song was also featured on the band's next album, 1984's KC Ten. Epic Records, however, refused to issue the song as a single due to its prior failure in the U.S. Because of this, a frustrated Casey formed Meca Records, releasing the single himself on this label in a final attempt to garner the song some success in America. It worked, but the album still failed to surpass expectations. This led to the group falling into stasis around 1985 with Casey's retirement.
1990s and beyond
A revival of interest in disco music in 1991 brought Casey out of retirement. He reformed the band with some new members and two other original members, (the percussionist Fermin Goytisolo and vocalist Beverly Champion-Foster) and began touring once again. Some of the original members of the band are now deceased. The new band has released a large number of compilation albums through Rhino Records, along with some newly recorded material. The album Oh Yeah! was released in 1993 after a ten-year gap between new albums (excluding compilations).
On July 28, 2000, Jerome Smith (rhythm guitar) died accidentally while working as a bulldozer operator.
In 2001, the band made a brief comeback into the music scene after an eight-year lull with the release of a new album titled I'll Be There For You. The album was praised by critics, but it failed to generate any impact on the charts or in sales. More recently, the group had an appearance in the 2003 remake of the movie The In-Laws.
Several KC/Finch songs have been included in the Dance Dance Revolution series of dance video games. "That's the Way (I Like It)" was included in the original Dance Dance Revolution, "Shake Your Booty" was in Dance Dance Revolution 4thMix and "Get Down Tonight" was in DDRMAX2 Dance Dance Revolution. The song "Keep It Comin' Love" was on the soundtrack of the movie Blow, about 1970s and 1980s cocaine smuggler George Jung. Additionally, many KC/Finch songs, most frequently "I Get Lifted", have been sampled for hip hop songs. In 2005, "I'm Your Boogie Man", was featured in a rollerskating sequence in the movie, Roll Bounce. The song "I Get Lifted" appears in 2016 video game Watch Dogs 2.
In 2012, Sunlife Insurance included the band in a parody commercial in which the insurance company, trying to drum up publicity, offers to pay for them to conduct a road tour of the band if they'll change the band's name to "K. C. and the Sunlife band." They are not amused by the offer.
On July 6, 2013, KC and the Sunshine Band were honored with a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. The star was presented by Barry Manilow and city officials. Members of the Village People were also in attendance.
In March/April 2016, KC and the Sunshine Band saw success on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with "I'm Feelin' You", a collaboration with dance act Bimbo Jones.
- "Obituaries: Jerome Smith, 47, of K. C. and the Sunshine Band, the Hit Disco Group". The New York Times. August 10, 2000.
- Prato, Greg. "KC & the Sunshine Band – Overview". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- Palm Springs Walk of Stars: listed by date dedicated
- Official website
- Music Legends Part 1: KC & The Sunshine Band
- Band history at Classicbands.com
- KC and the Sunshine Band at AllMusic
- Interview on Yuzu Melodies