That’s My Story… (12-11-16)

I’ve told this story several times over the years and after they announced that K C and the Sunshine Band would be playing The Labor Day Hospice Concert this year (2016), a few people who’ve heard my story called to ask me my thoughts… so I decided I’d better get this story on paper (or at least on a blog) so here it is.
IN the summer of 1975 I lived and worked in Melbourne Florida, working at a radio station in Cocoa Beach. This was when AM radio still ruled but FM was out of the gate.
The station was WKKO (I know there’s a huge country station in Toledo with those call letters today but this was over 40 years ago). Studios were just off I-95 in Cocoa.

WKKO 1975
Studios just off I-95 at State Road 520

The WKKO Control Room

I occasionally played records at a lounge called Big Daddy’s in Vero Beach. Actually Big Daddy’s was a chain with several locations in Florida, but I played records there on Saturday nights. Remember, disco was big in these days.
There was a little record company in Hialeah Florida (on the fringe of Miami) and in late spring or early summer 1975 a promotions guy from T K Records dropped off several copies of a record at WKKO’s studios. It was an unknown band made up of mostly studio musicians for TK Records. I found it laying on the counter and listened to it. I thought it was a great record and I told the program director (PD) he should add it to our playlist. He said it was a bit too ethnic (or a similar excuse) and it didn’t get added.
I nabbed a copy of it (this was in the days of 45 RPM vinyl records) and took it to Big Daddy’s the following Saturday. I played it and the people went nuts. I think I played it 4 or 5 times that first night.
On Monday I went back to WKKO and told the PD it was a really good record and told him the people at Big Daddy’s loved it too. He still didn’t add it and the next Saturday at Big Daddy’s it was the hottest song,  requested 4 or 5 times. On Monday I finally talked the PD into adding it, although in a very low rotation. I also called a friend at WDAT (1380 AM, now WELE-AM) in Daytona Beach and told him about it.
The first time we played it at WKKO the phones went nuts and within a week it became an A Current, meaning we played it every 90 minutes to 2 hours. It was the hottest record of the summer of 1975 and shortly after we added it, WDAT in Daytona beach added it, then the Orlando stations added it followed by WAPE (AM 690) in Jacksonville. WAPE was a 50,000 watt AM station heard all over Georgia and Florida and was a huge station in the southeast.
It soon became a Southeast Regional Breakout hit in Billboard magazine and it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in late June 1975. On August 23, 1975 it hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly after that the guy from T K Records gave WKKO a gold record for breaking the single. That was 41 years ago and this band would go on to have a dozen Top 40 hit singles, 5 of which went all the way to number 1.
The name of the single was ”Get Down Tonight” by K C and the Sunshine Band.

K C and the Sunshine Band 1975
K C and the Sunshine Band in 1975

K C and the Sunshine Band Album
Their debut album

I’m not so arrogant to believe that K C and the Sunshine Band would have never been discovered without my help, they were a great band and most certainly would have had massive success, but I like to think I might have hastened things along.

In any event K C and the Sunshine Band will be performing at Rock the Park August 13th 2016 at Mill Race Park. [Added August 2017:  The band showed up and did a sound check and was set to go for the 9:00 show, then mother nature kicked in, providing us with a strong thunderstorm with very heavy rain, which ultimately cancelled the show.  Columbus missed out on a potentially great show, but I’m sure Wayne Casey and the band took the architectural tour].  I’m not sure how many original members of the band are still around, but Harry Wayne Casey is still the front man.  The number two man for the band, Richard Finch (an Indianapolis native) who co-wrote Get Down Tonight and most of the other hits for the band, was arrested in Newark, Ohio, on March 23, 2010 on charges of having sexual contact with a 17 year old male. Police stated that
during an interview, he admitted to having sexual contact with that teen, and other teens
aged 13 to 17. In December 2010, Finch pleaded ‘no contest’ and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He served his sentence and was released on March 13, 2017.
But as for the Labor Day Weekend concert, it should be a great show, especially if you are over 40 and really liked disco (I am both).
{This blog was edited 8-27-17 to state that the concert was cancelled and updated on Richard Finch’s current status}

One thought on “That’s My Story… (12-11-16)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s