KC and the Sunshine Band
ess than three months after their first number one single, "Get Down Tonight," KC and the Sunshine Band returned to the top of the charts with "That's the Way (I Like It)."
KC's mother might not have been so shocked. She was a long-time music fan, and while growing up in Hialeah, Casey listened to many of the R&B singles she bought. "My mother was into rhythm and blues music and (the first song I heard) must have been a Jerry Butler record. She loved Jerry Butler, Nat 'King' Cole and of course, the Flamingos."
As he got older, Casey fell in love with the sound of Motown, especially Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye. "I like the stuff on Atlantic Records," he adds. "Aretha Franklin, the Rascals -- (also) James Brown, Buddy Miles and the Chambers Brothers. I loved keyboard artists too, like Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Billy Preston. I liked Blood, Sweat and Tears for the brass sound. I liked rhythm, I liked percussion, I liked brass."
Casey's musical roots served him well in concert. Before his initial recording success, he had never played keyboards and sung at the same time, but he learned quickly when he had to go out on the road to promote his singles.
Steve Ditlea, writing in the New York Times, praised the live performances of KC and the Sunshine Band: "In person, they are one of the most exciting groups performing today. On stage KC becomes truly possessed by his rhythms, happily rocking from side to side as he stands hunched over his electric piano, skipping across the floor, proselytizing his listeners to give in to the spirit of his fervent sound. This is no insecure Caucasian kid mimicking black inflections, exhorting a crowd to 'put your hands together.' Raised in the Pentecostal Church, KC has assimilated black music as if he were born to it. Like Elvis Presley a generation ago, KC has the stage presence and the musical ability to bridge the cultural chasm separating white performers and black listeners as well as between black music and white audiences."
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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