KC and the Sunshine Band play a free concert in Vail Tuesday | VailDaily.com

KC and the Sunshine Band play a free concert in Vail Tuesday

Henry Wayne Casey launched KC and the Sunshine Band when he was 17 in his native South Florida. The band plays tonight in Vail.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go

What: KC and the Sunshine Band.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Where: Championship Plaza, at the Vail Solaris, following the medal ceremony for the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships.

Cost: Free.

Information: The concert is part of the free concert in conjunction with the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.

forty years later, glitter still looks good.

It was 1974 and Harry Wayne “KC” Casey penned and produced “Rock Your Baby,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

That song hit No. 1 in 51 countries and became a landmark recording of early disco, and before you could say, “crank up the disco ball!” KC and the Sunshine Band was on their way.

Some other stuff happened in 1974: Richard Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford pardoned him, Mia Farrow appeared on the cover of the first People magazine and the Oakland A’s won the World Series.

KC and the Sunshine Band takes the Championships Plaza stage as part of the Vail Valley Foundation’s free concert series. The music starts around 7 p.m., as soon as the day’s medals are awarded.

The band is no stranger to skiing. They were featured during the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and performed a free concert in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Time tested, still fun

KC and the Sunshine Band have been doing this for 40 years. They have seven No. 1 singles and three triple platinum albums, including hits like “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s The Way (I Like It),” “Boogie Shoes” and “Rock Your Baby.” They have nine Grammy nominations, three Grammys and became the first act to score four No. 1 pop singles in one 12-month period since The Beatles in 1964.

Disco has been maligned, sometimes unfairly, but Casey’s songs have stood the test of time. His music will still make you move your feet.

“To think that my records and my music have stood the test of time when everybody tried to put them down, tear them down and give no credit to what we’d done, really says something,” he said.

Still, their staying power has surprised even him.

“I wrote songs because I didn’t want people to not know the name of them when they went into the record store, but I never thought I would write the kind that they would just never forget for as long as 40 years,” Casey said.

In, our, repeat

Casey started working in the music business at age 17, performing menial tasks around the T.K. Records/Studio complex in his hometown of Miami. The Sunshine Band originated in 1973. Their first record, “Blow Your Whistle,” hit the top 15 on the R&B chart. Their second album, the self-titled “KC and the Sunshine Band,” was released in 1975 and went triple platinum.

There is a big gap in the KC and the Sunshine Band timeline; Casey was fed up with the music industry by 1985 and, for the first time in his adult life, he stepped away from it.

“I partied my arse off,” Casey laughs, when asked what he did between 1985 and 1993.

Everything all the time, is the answer, but he says he has no regrets.

“It was definitely a good thing for me, I believe, even though the things I was doing were bad things, I think it ended up being a good thing for me. I was able to sit back and look at everything, my life and just everything,” Casey said.

Grammys and a basket of other awards have come his way. His songs have appeared in ads for companies like General Motors, Burger King, Payless Shoes, Papa John’s Pizza, Old Navy and Nick at Night. His music has also been featured in more than 75 movies such as “Forrest Gump” (“Get Down Tonight”); “Boogie Nights” (“Boogie Shoes”); “Boys Don’t Cry” (“Rock Your Baby”); “Rush Hour” (“Get Down Tonight”); “Carlito’s Way” (“Rock Your Baby,” “Shake Your Booty” and “That’s The Way I Like It”); and “Austin Powers” in Goldmember.

“The Best of KC and the Sunshine Band” went gold in 1999. In the fall of 2001, they celebrated their 25th anniversary (in 1999) with a commemorative double CD release. Proceeds from the title song, released as a single, were donated to the September 11 relief effort.

They still play more than 100 live shows annually, circling the globe. Casey will release a new CD in March, “Feeling You — The ’60s.” He and his band perform 17 songs from the 1960s.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.