Learn all about the History of Carolina Beach Music


Learn all about the History of Carolina Beach Music | Better Beach Rentals

Few things are as fun as being on the beach except, of course, being on the beach with great music. Here in North Carolina we have a special connection with a unique kind of music that is infectious, fun, and beach inspired. If you've ever heard the term Carolina Beach Music and wondered what the hype was all about, then keep reading and discover the beachy sounds and rhythms of Carolina Beach music. 

Explaining Beach Music

Beach music is unique and not easy to describe. There are some common traits to all forms of beach music. Many people mistake it for oldies or maybe Motown and soul music. If you want to start YouTubing videos you would likely start with music by groups like The Temptations, The Radiants, or The Four Tops. These bands form the foundation of beach music. However, don't download a Four Tops song and think you're listening to Carolina Beach Music because there is so much more to it than that. The best way to discover it is to hear it. 

Where Did Beach Music Originate

There are a lot of stories and myths about where Carolina Beach Music began. Like many things, over time the story gets warped and changed but there are a few things we know for sure. 

At its core, Carolina Beach Music came about with the popularity of African American music within the white community. The beach was a place of freedom. It allowed cultural norms to be lifted and, let's face, it kids are always adventurous. So on the beach white kids soon discovered the local African American music scene. It was just a matter of timing.

The legend is that it all started at Jim Hanna's Tijuana Inn in the spring of 1948. One night a friend convinced Jim to allow African American "jump blues" to be played on the jukebox. The kids went wild. Soon all over Myrtle Beach and the North Carolina coast dancing joints popped up. White patrons adopted the African American sounds of R&B, Blues, and Jazz. Soon bands were tweaking the sound into the unique Carolina Beach music sound we love today. You can hear it in each note, the fast pace, the lively rhythms, the historically African American music influence. A wonderful thing was born.

The Shag Connection

If you've been to any local event on Oak Island and there is music playing, you will likely see people dancing a distinctly North Carolina dance, The Shag. The Shag is, by the way, the official dance of the State of North Carolina. 

The term "Shag Dancing" didn't begin to be used until the 1950's but it's origins began long before. Remember how we mentioned all those dance joints that popped up in Myrtle Beach and the Carolina Coast. Well, that's where the Shag began. So how does one dance the Shag? Not as easy as it looks.

The Steps

The Shag is a six-count, eight-step basic pattern danced in a slot. It is similar to a six-count swing dance with a twist. The dance is male-led, free-flowing and includes a healthy amount of improvisation. It looks easy, but it isn't.

The basic rhythm is a six-count swing in that it is a triple step, triple step, rock step or counted as "one-and-two, three-and-four, five-six." There are eight shag dance steps in the basic pattern. The "one-and-two" and "three-and-four" steps should take about as much time to complete as the "five-six." Check out the video above o see the Shag in action. 


Now that you've discovered the joy of Carolina Beach music all you need to do is plan your Oak Island beach vacation. From Oak Island to Southport we have plenty of great options to choose from. Give one of our friendly reservationists a call today at 910-278-1147 or click the button below to book your vacation today.


Learn all about the History of Carolina Beach Music | Better Beach Rentals

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