KC and the Sunshine Band: Vangaurd of disco movement still wears ‘Boogie Shoes’

KC Band

KC and the Sunshine Band, all 15 of them, will play Sunday in an outdoor show at MontBleu with the B-52s.

With a penchant for producing one-hit wonders, Miami’s T.K. Records/Studio was part of an anomaly in 1974 at : One of its bands had a second hit.

“To have more than one hit was really something different at that company and I knew I had something right then,” Harry Wayne “KC”  Casey told Tahoe Onstage.

KC and the Sunshine Band, in fact, had several smash hits, including four No.1 singles in a 12-month period, the first band to do so since The Beatles 10 years earlier.

Moreover, KC and the Sunshine Band was the vanguard of the disco era.

KC explained how he helped change music:

“I thought music was really dark at the time and I wanted to make an album that was all uptempo, high-energy sort of thing. That’s what I set out to do.

“It started with the Junkandoo band, a Caribbean band from Bahamas. It’s all percussion, horns, whistles, cowbells, drums, that sort of thing. It’s a very infectious sound and I wanted to capture that on a record. I just used elements of the music I loved growing up.”

KC’s band’s third single, “Queen of Clubs,” ascended the United Kingdom chart (it had just one for all music categories). The follow-up singles “That’s the Way I Like it,” and “Get Down Tonight” were No. 1 in the United States.

With the movie “Saturday Night Fever” starring John Travolta, disco became the most popular music in the nation. The Bee Gees had the majority of the songs on the multi-Grammy winning album, upon which included a KC and the Sunshine Band song.

“They wanted ‘Shake Your Booty,’ but I suggested ‘Boogie Shoes,’ KC said.

All those songs from the 1970s and ’80s remain ubiquitous in clubs, movies and on radio. Royalties keep pouring in, but KC continues to perform about 100 shows a year.

“I really enjoy it,” he said. “It’s what I wanted to do my whole life. When you love what you do, it’s easy.”

Promoter Paul Reder said, “KC’s hits became anthems. There is not a day that goes by when you don’t hear one of those songs in your car or in a store. He imprinted our culture with his music.”

KC said he will bring a 15-member band of musicians and dancers onstage Sunday at the MontBleu Outdoor Event Center in a “one-off” show with the B-52s.

“They are a great band and I think it’s a great combination,” KC said. “It’s fun to perform with people that you have a friendship with.”

KC and the Sunshine Band and the B-52s

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 14; doors open at 6

Where: MontBleu Outdoor Event Center

Tickets: general admission, $40, www.ticketmaster.com, MontBleu Box Office, 1-888-829-7630

Video: http://bit.ly/1dk09C8

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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