Saturday, October 18, 2014

KC and The Sunshine Band, The #83 Artist of the Seventies*

We begin this group's story in 1973, when Harry Casey worked at a record store, helped out at Tone Record Distributors, and hung out at a local recording studio in Florida, anything that would make someone give him a chance to achieve his dream of recording a record for himself.

Henry Stone, who owned both Tone Distributors and TK Recording Studios, was the man that gave Casey his chance.  He liked the enthusiastic Casey, and Stone, who had recorded artists such as Ray Charles and James Brown at his studio, set out to help Casey.

Casey brought together studio musicians from TK and a local band called the Miami Junkanoo Band, which included the great percussionist Fermin Goytisolo.  But the best thing that happened was that Casey met Richard Finch, an engineer at TK.  Guitarist Jerome Smith and drummer Robert Johnson were added, and KC & the Sunshine Band had its beginnings.

The group recorded the album Do It Good in 1974.  "Blow Your Whistle" reached the Top 15 on the R&B chart, and "Sound Your Funky Horn" was another minor R&B hit.

While working on another album, Casey and Finch created the song "Rock Your Baby", which reached #1 in 51 countries for George McCrae.  This gave the songwriting duo substantial credibility.
The group's follow-up album, KC & the Sunshine Band, was released in 1975.  The first single flopped, but along came "Get Down Tonight".  It soared to #1 in both the U.S. and Canada.

Another hit, "That's The Way (I Like It)" repeated that success, and also hit #1 in the Netherlands and was #34 in the U.K.

KC & the Sunshine Band captured the American Music Award for Best R&B Artist, as the album went Triple Platinum.

On a roll, KC and the Sunshine Band released the album Part 3.  "(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty" also topped charts in the U.S. and Canada.

The red-hot group released the single "I'm Your Boogie Man", which also went to #1 in both the United States and Canada.  KC and the Sunshine Band thus became the first act to achieve four #1 songs in a 12-month period since the Beatles in 1964.

Casey had not only realized his dream of recording a record; he and the band were now a major factor in the Disco craze of the 70's.  Part 3 also sold over three million copies for the group.  They continued with the single "Keep It Comin' Love".  All it did was go to #2 (but they probably should have edited the last minute out of the 45...).

The group landed a song on the influential "Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack, "Boogie Shoes".  The song stalled at #35, but nonetheless gave the group tremendous exposure.  And, the song is still heard every time someone watches the outstanding movie.  KC picked up Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Producer of the Year for his work on the soundtrack. 

The next album Who Do Ya (Love) went Platinum, but the formula didn't work here, as no hits were generated.  In 1979, KC & the Sunshine Band released the album Do Ya Wanna' Go Party.  The group recorded a rare ballad, "Please Don't Go", which gave them their last big hit.  The single hit #1 in the  United States, Canada, and Australia, and was #3 in the U.K.

The title track was not released, but received significant airplay, especially in discoteques.

Do You Wanna' Go Party also went Platinum.  KC later joined a former high school friend, Teri DeSario, for the big hit "Yes, I'm Ready".  That of course does not factor into the point total achieved for the group.

The group landed 15 hits in the decade, with four #1 songs and five Top 10's.  They were prolific on the R&B chart, with 20 hits and eight Top 10 songs.

In 2002, KC was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  KC & the Sunshine Band sold over 500,000 albums in the U.S. in the Seventies.

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