That's The Way (I Like It)

Album: KC and the Sunshine Band (1975)
Charted: 4 1
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "That's The Way (I Like It)" was the second of an astounding five US #1 hits from KC & The Sunshine Band. Their first #1 was "Get Down Tonight," which gave them the template for songs like this one. Like all their hits, it was written by their bass player/producer Rick Finch and frontman Harry Wayne Casey.

    In a Songfacts interview with Richard Finch, he explained, "We were all happy, and you could tell. We transferred the excitement of that hit feeling from 'Get Down Tonight,' and trust me, then we were all like, 'Oh, my God, this is amazing! We've done it! Let's put the magic on something else.' And you could definitely hear the excitement and the magic from that first hit record with 'That's The Way I Like It,' because we were all pumped, and we were all stoked. If you listen to that record closely, you can hear everyone smiling while they're singing. Especially the background singers. It was a very, very magic moment. I mean, we're in Miami, Florida, and we're in a little independent label, and we're becoming successful? C'mon, man, this is not possible, this must be a dream!"
  • This was originally recorded in a more suggestive manner by KC & The Sunshine Band before lead singer Harry Wayne Casey toned down the "uh-huhs," making them sound like cries of jubilation instead of moans of pleasure. In a Songfacts interview with Casey, he explained that the très risqué French song "Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus" by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg gave him the idea to make the "uh-huhs" rather sensual, but he thought better of it. "It was a little bit overboard," he said.
  • There's no mistaking the title in this one: it's repeated four times in each chorus, and that chorus opens and closes the song. This wasn't by accident: Harry Wayne Casey worked in a record store while he was earning his wings as a musician at TK Records. Customers would often come in looking for a song, but didn't know the name of it; Casey wanted to make sure that didn't happen to him.

    He also had a revelation when listening to some Beatles albums. Casey wasn't a big fan of the group, but he heard how they would repeat a title over and over in songs like "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand."
  • This song is one of the few in music history to reach #1 on the charts twice in the same month. First it was replaced at the #1 spot by "Fly Robin Fly" by Silver Convention, then replaced that song in turn, completing its three-week run.
  • As for the "controversial" lyrics, Rick Finch told Songfacts: "We had to tone down the words a little bit. It used to be called 'What You Want,' and I was like, 'No, KC. That's not commercial enough, people aren't gonna figure out what you're saying.'

    Back then you had to watch what you say. Not like today. People come on the radio and cuss and say all kinds of s--t, but back then, you had to watch yo' mouth. You can be suggestive in a poetic way. It can mean whatever to whoever the listener is, and it doesn't really tie it down to any one thing or gender. So I figured that the more open you keep it, and unresolved, the more people you draw in."
  • Covers of this song include a 1976 hit by Madeline Bell and a 1984 cover by the New Wave band Dead or Alive. Additionally, it's been sampled by rap artists Oaktown's 3.5.7 ("Get Loose"), Vanilla Ice ("The V.I.P. Posse 1 by 1"), 2 Live Crew ("Face Down, Ass Up"), and Luther Campbell (on his solo song "I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)").
  • A 1975 Time magazine article cited this song as an example of "sex rock," naming it, along with Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby," as part of a new wave of sexually suggestive songs that were all the rage, but drawing opposition from conservative groups.

    Opposition to "sex rock" was led by Jesse Jackson, who pressured industry leaders through his Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) group, but didn't get very far.
  • Commercials to use this song include an early 1980s TV spot for Cadbury Crunchie candy bars (replacing the "uh huh uh huh" with "crunch-crunch-crunch-crunch"), a Crest toothpaste commercial, and a Burger King ad, both in the 1990s.
  • Films to use this song include Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Happy Feet, Carlito's Way, Starsky & Hutch, From Justin To Kelly ("Kelly" being Kelly Clarkson) and Space Jam. Unfortunately for Finch, he signed a disastrous contract when he left the band, which stripped him of all future payments for the songs he wrote with Casey, so he doesn't see any money from the many commercial uses. At one point, his songwriter credit was removed from the record as well, and on the credits for Carlito's Way, he is not listed as one of the song's writers.
  • The song is so elemental to the essence of KC & The Sunshine Band that Craig MacInnis titled his biography of H.W. Casey That's the Way I Like It.

Comments: 4

  • James from Rowland HeightsLove it - whose playing that funky rythymn guitar
  • John from Nashville, TnHarry Wayne Casey kept his choruses simple so that consumers can sing the hook when asking for the record in a record store. Casey used to work in a record store where customers would actually do this while asking for a particular record.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaThis song rocks! & Wayne Brady's standup comedy performance of it is the best!

  • George from Baltimore, MdI hated disco when this song hit, and I still hate it!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Don Brewer of Grand Funk

Don Brewer of Grand FunkSongwriter Interviews

The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.

Rick Astley

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

Dean Pitchford

Dean PitchfordSongwriter Interviews

Dean wrote the screenplay and lyrics to all the songs in Footloose. His other hits include "Fame" and "All The Man That I Need."

Queen

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

Evolution Of The Prince Symbol

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.