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South Carolina

South Carolina Beach Music

South Carolina SC State Symbols SC Beach Music

History of South Carolina Beach Music

In 2001, Beach Music was named the official Popular State Music of South Carolina through House Bill 3634. It originated around the time of the second World War, and has come to be regarded as synonymous with the official state dance, the Carolina Shag.

Originally, Beach Music referred to African American "race" music. This music, which we now call rhythm and blues (or, R&B) could only be found locally on the jukeboxes of South Carolina's beachside "jump-joints" and saloons. It was considered inappropriate and sexually suggestive, and a tamer version would later evolve which has come to be known as Bubble-Gum Beach.

Sometimes called Carolina Beach Music, this genre (or style) evolved from numerous musical styles of the 1940's, 50's, and 60's. Different songs might resemble big band swing, the blues, jazz, doo-wop, or rockabilly, and while many disagree on its origins, few would argue its close association with R&B.
SC Popular State Music
Courtesy of http://www.scstatehouse.gov/

White youth in the South found it difficult to hear the different styles of music they enjoyed. There was one radio station that played rhythm and blues - WLAC, out of Nashville, Tennessee. This 50,000 watt station broadcast throughout the south, but parents tended to frown upon listening to such music in the home.

Sunset at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach © Scott Maze of Lexington (2012)

As a result, teens flocked to the bars and pavilions of South Carolina's beach towns to dance and listen to music on the jukeboxes. Some classic artists included the Drifters, Artie Shaw, The Coasters, Sam Cooke, and The Four Tops. Many of the more popular artists of the time produced obscure "b-sides" that rarely made the hit music charts. These are the songe that wound up on beachside jukeboxes and came to define the genre.

Get Beach Music!

Here are some CD's that will provide all the beach music you'll ever need!

Beach Music Anthology Beach Music Anthology - Box Set

A wide variety of true beach music artists that provide hours listening enjoyment! From the first hit to the last, this anthology is full of hidden treasures and beach music classics that will get your feet tapping.
Beach Music Classics 25 Beach Music Classics

This ain't the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean, this is East Coast beach-party music with an R&B bent: Build Me Up Buttercup Foundations; Whispers (Getting' Louder) Jackie Wilson; The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss) Betty Everett; Cool Jerk Capitols; Hey! Baby Bruce Channel; Give Me Just a Little More Time Chairmen of the Board, plus Platters, Embers and more.

South Carolina Beach Music Festivals

More South Carolina Beach Music Resources

  • Beach Music Online - events listing, music reviews
  • WNMB 900 - Beach Music, Oldies & Classics station out of North Myrtle Beach
  • SC Shag - SCIWAY's guide to our state dance so you'll be ready when the beach music starts to play
SC Palmetto Shag

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