Sunday, 06 August 2017 02:00

The Essential Beach Music Playlist For Charleston Weddings

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The Drifters were an integral part of the beach and shag music genre that developed on the South and North Carolina coasts back in the 1950s and 60s. The Drifters were an integral part of the beach and shag music genre that developed on the South and North Carolina coasts back in the 1950s and 60s.

Beach music "beach pop" is a very regional genre of music that actually has it's origins back to the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina, as well as the southeastern coast of North Carolina as early as the 1940s. It developed from numerous rock, pop, R&B artists from the 1950s and 60s. The "Carolina shag" is the official state dance in North Carolina and South Carolina, and beach music closely related to this style of swing dance commonly known as the "shag". Despite it's roots  up the coast in Myrtle Beach and on the southeast coast of North Carolinba, beach music made its presence down the coast in Charleston over the years and is well known by the native of the area. The golden era of beach music was said to have occurred throughout the 1960s, but by the late 60s, beach music was in decline. Beach and shag music saw a bit of a rebirth in the late 1970s. There was no real explanation of this rebirth, but it could have been due to the young college students who were kids in the 60s during the height of beach music wanting an alternative to disco of the mid - late 1970s. Doing a little research on beach or shag music or even learning to shag might offer a bit of a local flavor to the music for your Charleston wedding.



In doing the research for this blog on this regionalized genre of music, I found a quite a few websites that talked about it's exact origin, but if you are coming to Charleston for your wedding and want to take a listen to see if it's something you might want to add into your playlist, click over to this website. It's actually a real radio station located in North Myrtle Beach that's format is all beach and shag music.
The Surf Radio Station

1. "I Love Beach Music" | The Embers
Formed in 1958, the Embers came from Raleigh, NC. This track is definitely one that Charleston locals who know their beach music will respond to.  Take a listen below.

2. "Build Me Up Buttercup" | The Foundations
Released in 1968, this song hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1969 and also hit number 2 in the United Kingdom.  The Foundations were a British soul band that were multi-racial and the first of it's kind to have a number 1 hit in the UK.

3. "With This Ring" | The Platters
The Platters were originally formed in Los Angeles in the early 1950s and were one of those R&B bands that found it's way into the beach music genre. "With This Ring" hit the Top 20 in early 1967 and is a perfect addition to your Charleston wedding playlist.

4. "The Shoop Shoop Song" (It's In His Kiss) | Betty Everett
Merry Clayton first released this track in 1963, but it went nowhere on the charts. A year later, Betty Everett took it all the way to number 1 on the R&B charts.  Cher did a great cover for the song in 1990 for the movie "Mermaids".

5. "Under The Boardwalk" | The Drifters
It's not hard to see why this song became a beach music staple as it talks about meeting "under the boardwalk" in a seaside town.  It reached number 4 in 1964 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and made the Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all time.

6.  "Hey Baby" | Bruce Channel
Hey Baby sold a million copies in 1962 and appears on the soundtrack to one of my favorite 80s movies. "Dirty Dancing". Be sure to look up that soundtrack for even more wedding playlist ideas.

7. 'Stay" | Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs
Maurice Williams was actually born in Lancaster, SC which is west of the Myrtle Beach area, but formed the "doo-wop" sounds of the Zodiacs in the late 1950s and early 60s with their origins to the Nashville area. Another song also on the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack too. Are you seeing a pattern? :)

8. "Myrtle Beach Days" | The Fantastic Shakers
The band was formed in 1978 and according to their website makes the Grand Strand (the Myrtle Beach area) it's home during the summer months. 

9. "Carolina Girls" | General Johnson & The Chairman Of The Board
During that revival of beach music in the late 1970s, this song was released as a single in 1980. Surfside Records was the label. It never charted but has remained in the crates of DJs since it's release.

10. "Baby I Need Your Lovin" | The Four Tops
The Four Tops were one of those Motown acts that fit nicely into the beach and shag music genre.  Even if beach music is not your thing, this popular Motown artist shows up a lot on the playlists at weddings all around Charleston.

11. "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" | The Tams
Hitting #26 on the R&B charts in 1968, this popular group from Atlanta has seen it's share of lineup changes over the years, but this song could easily describe the feeling that beach music lovers always had.

12. "Girlwatcher" | The O'Kaysions
You were probably doing  a lot of girl watching on the piers around Myrtle Beach and southeastern North Carolina in the late 60s when this became a Top Ten hit. 

13. "Just One Look" | Doris Troy
Doris hit the Top Ten in 1963 with this classic that was actually recorded in TEN minutes in the fall of 1962. 

14. "39-21-46" | The Showmen
Coming out of the New Orleans area in the early 1960s, this hit became a standard for Carolina Beach music.

15. "Miss Grace" | The Tymes
A number 1 song in Great Britain, the song barely cracked the Hot 100 for this Philadelphia-based group. However, it became a local beach music standard in the Carolina Beach music scene. 

These 15 Beach and shag music songs are just a few of the big ones that have been requested at some of my weddings around Charleston over the years.  Be sure to check out Amazon for more beach music compilations if you are interested in adding this regional genre of music into the playlists for your Charleston wedding.  Check out this link for a historical perspective of beach music.  If you are in the hunt for a true professional wedding DJ for your Charleston wedding, I LOVE to talk to brides and grooms. Click HERE to schedule to quickly tell me some details about the big day.

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