The song was written by band member Harry Wayne Casey and the band’s bass player Richard Finch. The story the song tells is pretty simple. At a nightclub, the singer wants a girl to dance with him and then to make a little love. “Get Down Tonight” was released as a single in 1975 and on KC and the Sunshine Band’s 1975 album KC and the Sunshine Band. The song was the first #1 hit for them (the first of five #1 hits). In 1975, “Get Down Tonight” rose to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles. It was #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Disco Singles. It also was #1 on the U.S. Cash Box and U.S. Record World Charts, as well as in Canada.
The unique introduction to the song is a recorded guitar solo at double speed over a normal-speed guitar line in the background. It is used to create an excitement for the song without sounding artificial, as many artists were experimenting with the new sonic landscape the studio could provide.
“Get Down Tonight” has been featured in films, including Forrest Gump (1994), Arlington Road (1998) and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999). The song has been sampled by Mack 10 in “Get a Lil’ Head” and by Bamboo for “Bamboogie.”
Personnel included Harry Wayne Cayse (keyboards, vocals), Jerome Smith (guitar), Richard Finch (bass guitar, drum, percussion), Robert Johnson (drums), Oliver C. Brown (percussion), Ken Faulk and Vinnie Tanno (trumpet), Mike Lewis (tenor Sax), Whit Sidener (baritone sax), and background vocals by Beverly Champion, Margaret Reynolds, and Jeanette Williams.
KC and the Sunshine Band formed in Hialeah, Florida in 1973. The KC refers to Harry Wayne Casey. The sunshine part refers to Florida, which is known as the sunshine state.