Harry Wayne Casey Created Gay Anthems at a Time When Self-Expression Was a Taboo
The pioneer of the disco genre of the 1970s, Harry Wayne Casey, better known as KC, has always been ahead of his time. You might want to know how!
First, understand that when KC began his career in the '70s and made the disco genre familiar to everyone, the landscape of the time was totally different from what it is at present.
For instance, the size of the cars was as big as boats and they were made of American steel with seatbelts that only secured your lap. It was a time when it was fine to ride in the back of rusty old pickup trucks while speeding down the freeway.
Meanwhile, the nation was noticing women gaining their voices while still recovering from the wounds that came from the questionable conflict in the jungles of Vietnam.
Now, imagine a young musician in his 20s experimenting with the music and not choosing to work around the popular music genre of that time. It was like the man single-handedly created music that many others dared not to create.
The popular music at the beginning of the '70s was a hodgepodge of trends, from poppy up-tempo hits from Tony Orlando and Dawn, love songs by Roberta Flack, and British crossover rock by flamboyant Elton John.
Speaking with SDGLN's community editor, Timothy Rawles, in April 2017, KC revealed that his aim behind creating music in the disco genre or gay anthems, so to speak, was to bring happiness to the music.
"I thought the music was becoming really dark," KC said. "And I really just wanted to bring happiness to the music again to a whole album when you put it on. I just wanted to create that kind of energy."
Rawles also described the musician by stating that he possibly was the first artist to recognize the power of disco and what it meant to the people whose self-expression was limited. Yes, it was the time when being gay was illegal in some parts of the U.S.
It was like we were just coming out of the sixties and everyone wanted peace and to love one another, and accept everybody. And you know I thought it was the right time – the timing was right for me. I was probably going through the same sort of things in life; being able to be yourself for a change.
Since KC brought the disco songs and gay anthems, his songs became iconic and subsequently a world music movement. People — with limited self-expression rights — enjoyed the songs and used the gay anthems as vehicles of self-expression on the dance floor.
During the interview, the 70-year-old musician even revealed he always dreamed of bringing revolutionary movement to the music industry. In fact, he claimed that he had a particular year on his mind, and he wanted to make things happen within that year.
And it wasn't that he stuck with a particular genre all his time, as the Florida native also released a hit like 'Give it Up' in 1984 when he said the trend was weighing towards pop music.
Interestingly, there used to be discussions around the gay community that many fans of his music wished he was gay, so some would try their chance on him. But KC is straight and has kept his personal life private to date.