by Lola Rossi-Meza
KC and the Sunshine Band will be honored by the Palm Springs Walk of Stars this Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 3 p.m. in front of See’s Candy located at 144 South Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs. No doubt it will be a very hot day, but still not as hot as his music continues to be, for almost 40 years. Later that night at 8 p.m., KC and the Sunshine Band will perform along with The Village People in the Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84-245 Indio Springs Parkway in Indio. For tickets call (800) 827-2946.
Born Harry Wayne Casey, and raised in Miami, Florida, KC took on this shortened name in 1973 when he formed his own band, KC and The Sunshine Junkanoo Band, a local group of studio musicians. It was later changed to KC and the Sunshine Band, in honor of Florida, the Sunshine State. To this day, he still lives about five miles from where he grew up.
I watched a YouTube video where KC was being interviewed by a young girl who has a radio program called Pavlina’s Kid’z Place that airs on WAPN 91.5 FM in Holly Hill, Florida. Be sure to check it out. During this interview, you will see a very humble, caring man, with a thankful heart for having a God-Given talent.
“I had a dream and a gut feeling that I wanted to be an entertainer and felt it would happen but I didn’t know how or when,” said KC. “I was seventeen and in the twelfth grade in high school and it was hard to set goals because of the Vietnam War. I didn’t know from day to day if I would be called to serve and be drafted.” He had very supportive parents who instilled in him good moral values.
He worked at a local record store and also worked part-time for TK Records, where he met up with Richard Finch. It was the beginning of the Casey-Finch musical collaboration that lasted for over ten years. Their first song to go number one in 51 countries, as writers and producers, was in 1974 when lyrics were put to one of their instrumental compositions “Rock Your Baby” sung by George McCrae.
Their second album in 1975 brought their first major US hit with “Get Down Tonight” topping the R & B charts in April and the Billboard Hot 100 in August. “That’s The Way (I Like It)” was also a number one hit in November. “Shake Your Booty”, “I’m Your Boogie Man” and Keep It Comin’ Love” peaked at number two in 1976. Their last chart topping hit “Please Don’t Go” was released in December of 1979 and made it to number one for one week in January of 1980. KC formed Meca Records in 1984, and still released many songs, but soon the Disco Era was coming to an end, and he decided to retire.
Let’s face it, good music is good music, and KC & The Sunshine Band’s music will live on forever. Although he personally felt he was in a “musical coma” as he put it, in my opinion, his music has always been a crowd pleaser, even though he may not have thought so. In 1991, a revival in the interest of disco music brought KC out of retirement, Thank God. He reformed the group with all new members except for his percussionist and began touring once again.
His music has been featured in numerous radio and TV commercials, television shows, sporting events and on over 200 movie soundtracks, to name a few, with his music still being introduced to younger generations. His band was one of the most progressive bands in the ‘70s and is credited with changing the sound of modern pop music.
In addition to selling over 100 million records, nine Grammy nominations, three Grammy Awards, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the NARAS Governor’s Award, which is the highest honor given by a chapter of the academy, and an American Music Award, this extremely talented, humble and gracious man will add one more special award mention to his bio. “We are very proud to honor KC and The Sunshine Band with a Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars,” said Bob Alexander, President of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
Along with all the ticket holders, I am excited to see the show, and plan to stand and shake my booty all night, see you there!