Rock Your Baby

Album: Latest And Greatest Hits (1974)
Charted: 1 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • One of the first hits of the disco era, this sold over 11 million copies worldwide. The song was written by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of KC & The Sunshine Band, and it formed the basis for their wildly successful writing and performing partnership which yielded five more US #1 hits and pioneered the disco sound. Casey and Finch worked for T.K. Records, which was a distributor and a studio, complete with a house band that would become KC & The Sunshine Band. One of the artists who recorded at T.K. was Timmy Thomas, who had a hit with "Why Can't We Live Together?"

    Finch told Songfacts: "His organ was left up in the studio, and 'Rock Your Baby' became born unto this crazy drum machine that was inside of this Lowry organ that he left there. I used to use that as a tempo map, and I would play along with the drum machine. In the beginning it would hide my errors, but it would also teach me to be a better drummer, because I was paying attention to it that closely. Then we would build on that. We had a 1-inch 8-track machine and I had a cheap Japanese bass. We were just recording and recording and recording. And one night, this one track came out like better than anything else. It was like God was in the building or something - we had been blessed. It was like the hunger and desire was so incredibly overwhelming that some magical moment happened in there. We knew to build on that track.

    There were a bunch of records coming out at that point. Hues Corporation had a song called 'Rock The Boat,' and Harry and I were also paying attention to the chart actions at clubs, because club records, according to Henry's direction, were doing better than just regular R&B Records. Back then you could sneak into a club and they didn't check your ID, so Harry and I would once in a while go sneak into the local clubs. There was one on Southwest 8th Street in Miami, Florida, that played dance music. We'd go in there for about an hour or two until it got to be way too late for us to be there. And we'd pay attention to what brought the people to the dance floor, and what made them sit down. So we started gearing ourselves to writing more in that direction. 'Rock Your Baby' was inspired by the gathering of all that information."
  • Originally, Casey and Finch were the only two musicians on "Rock Your Baby." After they had the initial track down, they paid Jerome Smith $15 to put a guitar on it. They frequently functioned this way in the early days of KC & The Sunshine Band, keeping a minimum of core band members and then bringing in session musicians on an as-needed basis.
  • Finch revealed a bit of engineering geekery that went into this song: The bass drum on this recording was actually a transistor radio speaker. Said Finch, "One day the microphone was broken for the kick drum. Being the electronics gadget dude that I was, I figured maybe the diaphragm was broken inside the microphone. I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't work, but it didn't. So I took that microphone apart, and I used the transformer inside and connected it to a regular speaker from a little tiny pocket radio. I put the speaker in the bass drum, and that's what I used as a mic for the kick on the 'Rock Your Baby.' (laughs) It came out really good."
  • T.K. Records owner Henry Stone recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "I suggested to Harry that Gwen McCrae (George McRae's wife) might be a good contender to cut the track, but just then George walked in and I then told Harry to let George have a go first."
  • According to Finch, his first check for this song was for $227,000. That's a cool quarter of a million dollars at age 20! The first thing he decided to do with the check was to buy his mom a Jaguar, even though the United States at the time was in the thick of the 1970s oil crisis, and his mom didn't even have a driver's license, and didn't get one for another seven years. This lack of financial foresight cost Finch dearly when he signed a disastrous contract to part ways with the band in the early '80s. He gave up his royalties for the songs he wrote and performed, losing millions of dollars in potential revenue when many of the KC and the Sushine Band's hits were revived in TV shows, movies and cover versions. (check out our full interview with Richard Finch)
  • This was voted the #1 Single of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 12

  • Mike from New EnglandThe rhythm guitar track by Jerome Smith is ground breaking and paved the way for the likes of Nile Rodgers and other great "chucking" rhythm players. Smith is super out front in the mix, makes me want to dance! Shocking he was paid $15 to cut this track!!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 15, 1975, Gwen McCrae performed "Rockin' Chair" on the NBC-TV musical variety late-night program 'The Midnight Special"...
    At the time the song was at #59 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, and just two weeks earlier it had peaked at #9 {for 1 week}, it spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    Exactly one year earlier on August 15th, 1974 Gwen's husband George McCrae was at #36 on the Top 100 chart with "Rock Your Baby", one month earlier on July 7th, 1974 it had peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks}...
    Ms. McCrae, born Gwen Mosley, will celebrate her 74th birthday this coming December 21st {2017}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 20, 1974, George McCrea performed "Rock Your Baby" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV network Saturday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time it was in it's second of two weeks at #1* on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, and it spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    It also reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, and it proved to be a world-wide hit, also reaching #1 in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Holland, and as noted above in the United Kingdom...
    He had four other Top 100 records; "I Can't Leave You Alone" {#50 in 1974}, "I Get Lifted" {#37 in 1975}, "Look At You" {#95 in 1975}, and "Happy!" {#65 in 1976}...
    The following in 1975 his wife, Gwen, would have a Top 10 record when her "Rockin' Chair" would peak at #9 {for 1 week} on July 27th, 1975...
    George Warren McCrae, Jr. will celebrate his 73rd birthday in three months on October 19th, 2017...
    * The record it replaced at #1 on the Top 100 also had the word 'Rock' in it's title, "Rock The Boat" by the Hues Corporation.
  • Wayne from Ottawa, OnApparently, the real story is that George's wife, Gwen McCrae, had recently had a hit with "Rockin' Chair" while George was still struggling to make anything happen for himself as a recording artist. Gwen is the one who happened to be at the TK office (not George) when she heard "Rock Your Baby" for the first time and literally begged and pleaded with Henry Stone to keep it for George to record. The rest is history. (PS: this version of events is according to Gwen McCrae)
  • Rick from Belfast, MeHave always LOVED this song...and its pretty cool that KC and Sunshine Band wrote this song and played all the instruments, leaving George McCrae to just sing it....what a great combo!!!!!!
  • Carol from Oceanside,calif., Calove this song.... one of my favorites!!!!
  • Robin from Vincennes, InYes, a very delightful and well sung song... Brings back alot of memories during my first love with Cheryl when i was a teenager... I will never stop listening to it...

    Robin
  • Edwin from Vancouver, BcThis is one sexy tune.
  • Andrew from Birmingham, United StatesThis song is the bomb!! George McCrae, you have it all together!! Any other hits around? I'd like to hear 'em, if you don't mind!
  • Lvbinx from Marietta, GaRock You Baby is one of those songs like a Barry White song. You just want to curl up with the one you love and be together. Mmmmmm.
    -Lvbinx,Marietta,GA
  • Jonnie King from St. Louis, MoI interviewed George McCrae when I was at KSLQ/St. Louis. "Rock Your Baby" was at the Top of the Charts at the time and he was just great and a truly nice person. Here's a little known fact: George McCrae sang back-up on the Supremes 1969 hit "Someday We'll Be Together". Listen for him next time you hear the song.
  • Pete from Nyc, NyThis song was almost revolutionary when you first heard it in 1974, when the now-familiar disco pulse was still unknown. I remember lying in front of my parent's stereo in the living room in awe of it as a 12-year-old. I thought it was the best song I had ever heard.

    I still get chills when I hear it. Harry Casey deserves a lot more credit than he gets. This, along with the first two KC hits 'Get Down Tonight' & 'That's The Way I Like It' were as ground-breaking as the Ramones or Sex Pistols two years later.
see more comments

Rickie Lee JonesSongwriter Interviews

Rickie Lee Jones on songwriting, social media, and how she's handling Trump.

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.

Tony Banks of GenesisSongwriter Interviews

Genesis' key-man re-examines his solo career and the early days of music video.

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Christopher CrossSongwriter Interviews

The man who created Yacht Rock with "Sailing" wrote one of his biggest hits while on acid.