Music of South Carolina

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State song
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South Carolina is one of the Southern United States, and has produced a number of renowned performers of rock, blues, R&B, country, bluegrass and other styles. In 1766, Charlestown, South Carolina became the home of the St. Cecilia Society, the first musical society in North America. At the time, Charleston was a cultural center, attracting a number of musicians from Europe.

A few urban centers in South Carolina are home to thriving rock and roll and hip hop scenes, including Greenville, Clemson, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston. Perhaps the best known rock band to hail from South Carolina was Hootie & the Blowfish, but other groups such as The Marshall Tucker Band, The Swinging Medallions, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs and Crossfade also hail from the Palmetto State. Pinkney "Pink" Anderson along with Reverend Gary Davis were both from Laurens, S.C. Pink Anderson is best known for being one of the namesakes for the band Pink Floyd. Native musicians, singers, and other artists born and/or raised in the state include Arthur Smith, James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Chubby Checker, Eartha Kitt, Peabo Bryson, Nick Ashford, Teddy Pendergrass, Josh Turner, Bill Anderson, Edwin McCain, Duncan Sheik, Rob Thomas, and John Phillips. The state's bluegrass scene has produced such bands as The Hired Hands.

Official music[edit]

South Carolina is most noted for being the birthplace of beach music, an offshoot of early R&B and rock'n roll that featured a shuffling beat which spawned the dance called The Shag. This Myrtle Beach-area dance is the official State Dance, although South Carolina has also produced two other famous dances, the Charleston and the Big Apple. It also has two official state songs: "Carolina", with words by Henry Timrod and music by Anne Custis Burgess, and "South Carolina on My Mind", by Buzz Arledge and Hank Martin. South Carolina also has an "official music", spirituals; spirituals are sacred Christian songs originally developed by African Americans in the 19th century.

Music institutions and venues[edit]

The region of Myrtle Beach has been home to the well-known Carolina Opry, a country music-based variety show, established in 1986 by singer, producer and entrepreneur, Calvin Gilmore, South Carolina's official country music ambassador, who continues to produce and perform in the show today. The Carolina Opry was the first live family entertainment venue on the Grand Strand and helped turn Myrtle Beach into one of the major centers for country music on the East Coast. Local venues include the Dixie Stampede, one of many attractions owned by Dolly Parton, the Alabama Theater, named for the band Alabama, and the Palace Theatre. Other artists tried their hand with their own theaters which did not last, such as Ronnie Milsap with the Ronnie Milsap Theater, and the Gatlin Brothers with the Gatlin Brothers Theater. Both of these venues now house churches. Myrtle Beach is also home to the South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival.

Outside of Myrtle Beach, the town of West Columbia is notable as the home of Bill Wells of the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass; he is the owner of a local music shop, next to which is held a weekly bluegrass show called at the Pickin' Parlor.[1]

Lesser known venues include Ground Zero in Spartanburg, New Brookland Tavern in West Columbia, Headliner's Music Hall in downtown Columbia, House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, The Plex in North Charleston, the Music Farm in the downtown area of Charleston, and the former venue The Studio in Ladson.

Musicians and bands from South Carolina[edit]



  1. ^ Byron, pgs. 178 - 182

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