Get Down Tonight

Album: KC and the Sunshine Band (1975)
Charted: 21 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Written and produced by Harry Wayne (KC) Casey and his writing partner (and bass player) Richard Finch, this disco classic takes place in a nightclub, where our hero is trying to convince a girl do some dancing, followed by some lovemaking. Casey and Finch would sneak into nightclubs in the Miami area and get a taste of that culture, which influenced their sound.
  • In our interview with Richard Finch, he explained that "Get Down Tonight" was inspired by a Gilbert O'Sullivan song called "Get Down," which is sometimes known as "Bad Dog, Baby." Finch explains: "He wrote that song about his dog. That record was really hot back then. And I was like, 'Okay, this guy has a great idea.' He's talking about 'get down.' But I didn't find out until later on he was talking about his dog. And I was like, 'Well, that's really square.' How hip is that?"
  • This was the first of five US #1 hits for KC & The Sunshine Band. It also went to #1 on the R&B charts, not surprising since disco was really a funky form of R&B. According to Finch, they knew they were creating a new sound, but it was based on what was happening on the charts and in the clubs. T.K. Records, where Finch and Casey worked, was both a recording studio and record distributor, which meant they could tell which records were selling, and then try recreating those sounds in the studio. Helping their cause were guitarist Jerome Smith and drummer Robert Johnson. Says Finch: "Jerome and Robert were the mainstay session cats at T.K. Records. These guys were on fire! They had this Funk Brothers thing going on, and I am very happy to have worked with these two very wonderful guys. They always had a sense of workability and openness - you could record with these guys on 12 different tunes and no two recordings would sound the same."
  • The song features a distinctive introduction, in which a recorded guitar solo is rendered at double speed over a normal-speed guitar line in the background. After observing someone else slowing down a tape machine, Richard Finch had the idea of using this technique to create the guitar riff, as a way of adding to the song something "that really keeps the buzz, that really keeps the excitement going all the way through without being too artificial sounding." Finch states that he was "always doing weird science" in those days, referring to his various experiments with sound.
  • Some of the movies in which this song has appeared include Forrest Gump (1994), Arlington Road (1998) and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999).
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Comments: 6

  • William from Reno, NvI just watched one of their concerts at the "Bomb Factory" on AXS tv and was amazed how many of their songs were so good. Coming from a guy that grew up in that timeframe into Ted, Boston, Thinn Lizzy, REO, Styx and tons of today's Classic Rock it was nice to have enjoyed so much of KC. That old man can still boogie!!!!

    K/H D
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 30th 1975, K.C. & the Sunshine Band performed "Get Down Tonight" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart just under two months earlier on July 6th, 1975 and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    As already stated it was the first of five #1 records by the band; they just missed having a sixth #1 when "Keep In Comin' Love" peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} on September 25th, 1977...
    K.C., in a duet with Teri Desario, also had another record, "Yes, I'm Ready", peak at #2, for 2 weeks on April 25th, 1980...
    Interestingly; the band's first and last Top 100 record, "Please Don't Go", both peaked at #1 {they had a total of 15 records make the Top 100}.
  • Mike from Nampa, IdThey sped up the guitar part? seems to imply that it couldn't be played that fast. Yet I saw a live video where the guitarist played it at that speed. Anyway, this song gives me the chills when I hear it, especially the beginning guitar. My favorite disco & KC & the Sunshine band song of all time. FANTASTIC!
  • Camille from Toronto, OhYes, the very distinctive guitar riff intro makes this song instantly recognizable and incredibly memorable. It gives you a rush the millisecond you hear it and makes you want to get on the dance floor and GET DOWN! Love it.
  • Larry from Coral Springs, FlThis was one of my all time faves from this band. I thought it was so keen and listening to the instrumental interval so cool!
  • Eric from Maastricht, NetherlandsThis song features in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump
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