KC (of KC and the Sunshine Band) Talks About His Album Projects And How He Wrote Their Hit Songs “That’s The Way I Like It,” “Get Down Tonight” And “Shake Your Booty”

KC (Harry Wayne Casey)
KC (Harry Wayne Casey)

Legendary disco/pop artist KC (Harry Wayne Casey) of KC and the Sunshine Band has had a tremendous career which spans four decades. Starting in the 1970s, he formed the group KC and the Sunshine Band and created many classic hits which led to the popularity of disco music. He co-wrote & produced such dance/pop hits as “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s The Way (I Like It)” and “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” which remain pop standards. KC and the Sunshine Band (which now consists of 15 musicians, singers & dancers) continues to be very active, touring the world and performing over 100 shows per year.

2015 will be a special year for KC, because he and the group will be releasing two new albums which will have the title, Feeling You! The first release, called Feeling You! The ’60s, is a collection of 17 classic songs from the 1960s which the group has recorded fresh versions of. This album will be released on March 10. The second release (due about two months later) will be called Feeling You! and consist of all new songs written by KC.

For the Feeling You! The ’60s album, the group has recorded such hits as “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Both Sides Now,” “Stand By Me,” “Tell It Like It Is,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Words,” “Put A Little Love In Your Heart,” “Oh How Happy,” “Sweet Soul Music” and “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.”

We are pleased to do this new interview with KC, about his current album projects, and how he wrote some of his classic hits. But first, here’s a rundown of KC’s impressive credits. He has written (with Richard Finch, an early member of KC and the Sunshine Band) six number one Billboard Hot 100 hits, including “Rock Your Baby” (which was recorded by George McRae), “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s The Way (I Like It),” “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” “I’m Your Boogie Man” and “Please Don’t Go.” Other chart hits include “Keep It Comin’ Love,” “Boogie Shoes,” “Yes I’m Ready” (a duet with Teri DeSario), and “Give It Up.” Notably, “Boogie Shoes” appeared on the phenomenally successful Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album.

Notably, KC has been the recipient of three Grammy awards, for co-writing the Betty Wright hit “Where Is The Love” which won the Grammy for Best R&B Song, and for his work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, for which he won Grammys for Album of the Year and Producer of the Year. In addition, he won an American Music Award for Best R&B Artist.

The cover of KC and the Sunshine Band's new album, Feeling You! The '60s.
The cover of KC and the Sunshine Band’s
new album, Feeling You! The ’60s.

Here’s our new Q&A interview with KC:

Can you tell us about your new album, Feeling You! The ’60s?

Feeling You! The ’60s will be the first of my two album releases this year. I’m excited for people to hear this album, which has 17 (classic) songs which we’ve covered for the album. I’ve always done some cover songs in my shows. I really went outside of the box vocally and creatively (for this album). Feeling You! The ’60s is autobiographical, showing how I feel about love, life and the work through the music of that era. I love all the songs on this album.

Is it true that you’ll also be releasing an album of original material?

Yes, I’ve written and recorded an album of all new songs which will be called Feeling You! This album will come out about two months after our ’60s album. This album of original material is more dance-oriented than any record I’ve ever done. There will be more pure dance/pop songs on the album. In the past, the dance songs I’ve done have been more in the dance/R&B vein. There’s a good variety of songs on this album.

Back in the 1970s, KC and the Sunshine Band had many dance/pop hits, two full years before Saturday Night Fever came out. Is it fair to say that you helped invent disco music?

Yes, absolutely. At the time, there were many albums which contained mostly ballads. A lot of albums would have about eight ballads with just two uptempo songs. With KC and the Sunshine Band, I wanted to make albums which contained a high number of uptempo cuts that would make you feel good, with happy, upbeat themes.

On your hits, did you usually create the track first, or did you come up with the hook first?

I would usually come up with a working title first. The original title for “I’m Your Boogie Man” was “Son Of A Gun.” “Get Down Tonight” was originally called “What You Want Is What You Get.” “Shake Your Booty” was always that title, as was “That’s The Way (I Like It}.” Usually, I had the working title and then we would lay down the melody and the track.

My favorite hit of yours is probably “That’s The Way (I Like It).” How did you write this song?

Rather than make the lyric too sexy, I put in the “Uh-Huhs” (in the chorus). Rather than have a song with moans and groans in it, I put in the “Uh-Huhs.” It’s a little love song.

Over the years, you’ve continued to put on an exciting live show and tour worldwide.

I love putting on a big show—that’s what people want and expect. We have 15 people in the band (musicians, singers, dancers).

Do you have other projects you’ll be working on?

I want to keep making music. I’m excited about both the ’60s album and my upcoming album of original material. (Later on) I might record a Christmas album, and possibly another covers album.

Dale Kawashima is the Head of SongwriterUniverse and a music journalist. He’s also a music publishing exec who has represented the song catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Motown Records.
Dale Kawashima