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10 Albums that changed Harry Wayne “KC” Casey's life

KC and the Sunshine Band came to prominence in the '70s, and that infectious sound remains popular. Here are the albums that influenced band leader, Casey.

Harry Wayne “KC” Casey. Publicity photo by A. Streiber.

By Lee Zimmerman

Despite the fact that Harry Wayne “KC” Casey (KC and the Sunshine Band) came to prominence more than 40 years ago, the infectious sound still seems to be everywhere these days — on television, in movies, as commercial soundtracks and, of course, wherever crowds gather to shake their booties or get down to boogie. Denizens of the dance floor always seem to express delight when the deejay throws a KC classic like “Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake Your Booty)” or “Boogie Shoes” into the mix, and even haters have to admit to a certain guilty pleasure when hearing those songs so unequivocally tied to the sounds of the ‘70s. KC’s hallowed status was no fluke — he was, after all, the first artist since the Beatles to score four No. 1 hits in a 12-month period in 1976. Not bad for a kid from Hialeah, Florida, who started his music career in a record company warehouse and who first found fame in the U.K. well before he returned home to greater glories. And lest anyone think KC doesn’t have reverence for his roots, he has a terrific new album which finds him covering seminal songs of the ‘60s. Titled “Feeling You! The 60s,” it finds KC putting his stamp on “Stand By Me” and “Blowin’ in the Wind,” among the 17 selections (read a review of the album).

With that in mind, here are the top albums that first got KC in his groove.

Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On
My top pick because of its social relevance and message. It really made me think about what I wanted my music to say to people, and how I wanted it to make them feel.


Aretha Franklin, Live At Fillmore West
It featured Ray Charles as guest. I enjoy this LP for its musicianship. At times, it seems like it was a jam session that turned into an amazing body of work.


Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
I worked in a record store and I would play this album for everyone who came in because I thought every song was great … something that was very rare at the time.


Three Dog Night,One
Their vocal sound is so tight and fresh, and it also has so many great songs. Many nights were spent at one of my girlfriend’s houses sitting in the dark with black lights on, listening to it.


Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of The Moon
The stereo sound and the concept were amazing. It is a great album to put on, and just allow yourself to detach from reality.


Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blood, Sweat & Tears
David Clayton Thomas ... He had an amazingly soulful voice, and the brass and arrangements were like none other. They were the first group I ever saw live. My mother took me to their concert … I’ll never forget that experience!


Buddy Miles, Them Changes
It has a funky, raw sound with brass. I love it.


Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
His smooth, silky voice is unforgettable, and he brought in orchestrations like no other.


Madonna, Like A Prayer
It just has some great songs on it that have always stood out to me.


Funkadelic, Funkadelic
Funky, raw, heavy soul. It was a very experimental sound, ahead of its time.



And, of course, KC & the Sunshine Band are in the Goldmine HOF. (#36)