Concert preview: KC and the Sunshine Band to get down at GSR

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Concert preview: KC and the Sunshine Band to get down at GSR

Posted on: March 6th, 2014 by tommyj

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He’s sold more than 100 million records. He’s won three Grammy awards and been nominated for nine others.

His music has been featured on more than 200 movie soundtracks, along with countless commercials and TV shows. He’s Harry Wayne “KC” Casey, founder and leader of KC and the Sunshine Band.

During a recent phone interview with Best Bets, Casey, who performs March 8 at the Grand Sierra Resort, cited the uplifting undertone of his music as the primary reason it has been so popular ever since the 1970s.

“I write love songs with a positive message and high energy,” he said. “I choose to lift your spirits instead of bringing them down, and I think that’s why the music has been so successful and continues to be successful today.”

Formed in Casey’s home state of Florida in 1973, KC and The Sunshine Band’s disco blend of R&B, funk and Latin percussion hit the masses upon the release of their first album, and it was well-received from the start.

“At the time, it seemed like music had gotten a little dark,” Casey said. “What I was looking for with our first record was music with better energy and a more positive sound.”

That first album, “Blow Your Whistle,” reached the top 15 on the R&B chart — but this was only a hint of the huge success that KC and the Sunshine Band would achieve.

Soon, the group would be the first to score four number-one hits in a one-year period since the Beatles in 1964.

Their second album, called “KC and the Sunshine Band,” came out in 1975 and went triple platinum. This record contained the No. 1 hits “That’s The Way (I Like It),” “Rock Your Baby,” “Get Down Tonight” and “Boogie Shoes.” The latter of these three songs also earned a coveted spot on the soundtrack of the blockbuster movie “Saturday Night Fever,” starring John Travolta.

“I was asked to provide a song for the soundtrack, and originally they wanted ‘Shake Your Booty,’ but I suggested they use ‘Boogie Shoes,’ and they liked the idea,” Casey said. “The rest is history, as they say.”

In 1978, Casey received two Grammy Awards — for album of the year and producer of the year — for his work on the now legendary “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. However, these were not his first Grammy Awards.

Two years earlier, Casey had won a songwriting Grammy for best R&B song for a track called “Where Is The Love.”

The band’s third album, “Part 3,” was released in 1976 and also went triple platinum, driven by the chart-topping hits “I’m Your Boogie Man,” “Shake Your Booty” and “Keep It Comin’ Love.”

Today, you can hear the music of KC and the Sunshine Band at major sporting events, parades, political conventions and other large-scale events. His songs also have been featured in movies ranging from “Forrest Gump” and “Boogie Nights” to “Carlito’s Way” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Playing more than 100 concerts per year, Casey continues to tour the globe and share the positive sound that propelled KC and the Sunshine Band to such great fame four decades ago.

“Music is my hobby — it’s what I love doing,” he said. “It’s not the only thing I know how to do, but I do believe it’s what I was put here on Earth to do.”

Casey also continues to release new albums and original songs. His latest single, “I Can’t Get You Outta My Mind,” came out about six months ago and hopped to the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Dance Chart, spawning a slew of DJ remixes.

The single is one of 17 new songs Casey has written, all of which will be coming out on one record this fall.

Around the same time, Casey also plans to release an album comprising 17 of his favorite KC and the Sunshine Band songs from the ’60s.

“It was actually really hard to narrow it down to 17 songs,” Casey said. “It was about picking the songs that added something to my life, the songs I’ve always loved.”

Fans are sure to hear quite a few of those favorites, as KC and the Sunshine Band take the stage and get the dance party going.

“There’s 15 people on stage, and everybody participates in the show,” Casey said. “You can leave all your troubles at home and just have a good time.”

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