KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND
Whose music has been featured at EVERY major sporting event in the world including the Super Bowl, World Series, Conference Championships, The NBA, Collegiate Bowl Games National Championship Games, the NASCAR racing Circuit and Championships, The World Cup, The Indianapolis 500, The Kentucky Derby, EVERY Holiday Parade include the famous Macys Thanksgiving Day parade, and the Tournament of Roses Parade, Political Party Conventions, Presidential Campaigns and nearly EVERY wedding, confirmation, and bar mitzvah in the world
1. Whose music has been featured on more than 200 motion picture film soundtracks?
2. He has been called the “Founder of the Dance Revolution.
3. He is Harry Wayne Casey, better known as the founder and leader of KC and The Sunshine Band.
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!
THE VILLAGE PEOPLE
For 40 years, the music of Village People has been putting smiles on the faces of fans all around the world. Their hits have become part of the international songbook – and heard in commercials from Pepsi to Wonderful Pistachios. In fact, the iconic Y.M.C.A (along with its dance) is featured at almost every party, wedding, bar mitzvah, and sporting event.
It began in 1977 when producer/composer Jacques Morali, with business partner Henri Belolo, were recording a new album for their group, Ritchie Family, called African Queens. One of the background singers recruited for the album by arranger and conductor Horace Ott was Victor Willis who was performing in the Broadway musical The Wiz. After completing the album, Morali and Belolo again approached Willis – this time about another musical project they were planning.
“I had a dream that you sang lead vocals on an album I produced, and it went very, very big,” Morali told Willis. “I have four tracks. I can’t pay you much right now but if you agree, I’ll make you a star.” Willis agreed.
Those four tracks, San Francisco (You’ve Got Me), In Hollywood (Everyone’s a Star), Fire Island, and Village People were recorded by Willis with professional background singers and released on the debut album Village People in 1977. Essentially, Village People initially was simply Victor Willis. The album quickly rose to the top of the dance charts.
Demand for the “group” to appear in concert and on television shows like American Bandstand and Merv Griffin was great. The only problem … there was no group! This forced Morali, Belolo and Willis to put together an actual group around Willis and quick.
Village People become an international phenomenon with the release of their second album, Macho Man. Following the release of their third album, Cruisin, they embarked on a worldwide tour. Cher, Madonna and Joan Rivers are among artists who appeared on the bill with Village People everywhere from Las Vegas to Madison Square Garden to Hollywood’s Greek Theatre. Even Michael Jackson shared billing with the group.
With hits like San Francisco/In Hollywood, Macho Man, YMCA, In the Navy and Go West, the group sold more than 100 million records worldwide and earned many awards including the American Music Award-Favorite Musical Group 1979. Village People was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Television appearances included a Bob Hope Special, 20/20, American Bandstand, Solid Gold, Soul Train, Midnight Special, and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.
Village People hits are featured in dozens of major motion pictures, including Wayne’s World II, Adams Family Values, The Nutty Professor, and Despicable Me 2. The Broadway hit Priscilla: Queen of the Desert features the Village People tune Go West. The songs are also heard in casinos around the world in “Village People Party” slot machines. In September 2008, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Over the years, various renditions of Village People consistently toured the world with several replacement lead singers.
On the 40th anniversary of the group, Willis, the original lead singer, returned. With his powerful and distinctive voice, the party continues with the original “Hot Cop” back at the helm featuring a live band for a world class Village People performance and headline act.