KC & The Sunshine Band Biography

This racially integrated band was formed in Florida, USA, in 1973 by Harry Wayne (KC) Casey (31 January 1951, Hialeah, Florida, USA; vocals, keyboards) and Richard Finch (b. 25 January 1954, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; bass). Arguably the cornerstone of the Miami-based TK label, the duo wrote, arranged and produced their own band’s successes, as well as those of singer George McCrae. The Sunshine Band enjoyed several hits, including ‘Queen Of Clubs’ (1974, UK Top 10), three consecutive US number 1s with ‘Get Down Tonight’, ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’ (both 1975) and ‘(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty’ (1976), each of which displayed an enthusiastic grasp of dance-based funk. The style was exaggerated to almost parodic proportions on ‘I’m Your Boogie Man’ (1977, a US number 1) and ‘Boogie Shoes’ (1978), but a crafted ballad, ‘Please Don’t Go’, in 1979, not only reversed this bubblegum trend, but was a transatlantic smash in the process (and a UK number 1 in 1992 for K.W.S.). That same year KC duetted with Teri DeSario on the US number 2 hit ‘Yes, I’m Ready’, on the Casablanca label.

Although the band numbered as many as 12 on its live appearances, its core revolved around Jerome Smith (b. 18 June 1953, Hialeah, Florida, USA, d. 28 July 2000, USA; guitar), Robert Johnson (b. 21 March 1953, Miami, Florida, USA; drums) and its two songwriters. The team moved to Epic/ CBS Records after the collapse of the TK organization in 1980. Any benefit this accrued was hampered by a head-on car crash in January 1982 that left Casey paralyzed for several months. Their fortune changed the following year when the band found themselves at the top of the UK charts with ‘Give It Up’. It did not reach the US charts until the following year, and was by then credited to ‘KC’. Casey and Finch subsequently seem to have lost the art of penning radio-friendly soul/pop.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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