East Bound and Down

When you think of music in the United States, you don't often think about the 1700s, but that's exactly when the first music society in America began. The St. Cecilia Society was born in South Carolina, at the time home to many colonial musicians from Europe.

Josephine Baker does the Charleston in this undated public domain photo. 
Fast forward a couple of hundred years. South Carolina is home to a thriving rock, and hip hop scene. It's also credited as being the spot where African American  Spirituals (the foundation of R&B and then Rock) first entered our country's conscience. But the genre South Carolina is best known for is ...wait for it.... Beach music. You read that right. Not Cali, not Florida. South Carolina. "Beach" music, not to be confused with Surf,  Calypso, or whatever Jimmy Buffet plays, is  an offshoot of early R&B and rock'n roll that featured a shuffling beat which spawned a dance called The Shag. Oh- and while we're talking about South Carolina dancing, let's not forget that little number they came up with back in the 1920's known as the Charleston (photo). 

The Palmetto State's current bumper crop of popular music venues include the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach which has become one of the major centers for country music on the East Coast. Each year, Myrtle Beach hosts the South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival.

Hootie the Blowfish hail from South Carolina, as do Duncan Sheik, Dizzy Gilespie, Peabo Bryson, Chubby Checker, and that other "King"... James Brown.