Happy Birthday, Jaco Pastorius; Here's to Other National South Florida Legends

Categories: Birthday

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"There's hardly a bass player alive that doesn't owe gratitude to Jaco for how he changed the role of the bass. Moreover, Jaco left an indelible mark on the music world as an uncompromising artist and composer. The music Jaco created during his brief lifetime sounds just as fresh and urgent today as it ever did." Acclaimed bassist Gerald Veasley sums up Fort Lauderdale musician Jaco Pastorius' contributions succinctly. Widely recognized as one of the most talented and imaginative musicians to ever pick up a bass guitar, Pastorius left a legacy that still lingers some 25 years after his untimely passing. 

Fortunately, other talented artists that have emerged from South Florida achieved far happier results while gaining superstardom. Here are a few examples of some hometown heroes that took the national stage by storm.


John Francis (Jaco) Pastorius

Pastorius played with local revivalist rocker Wayne Cochran and his C.C. Riders, and later, the Peter Graves Orchestra, an ensemble that regularly backed up visiting national talent. He then joined Weather Report for a period before leaving them and forming his own big band (which he dubbed Word of Mouth). Things quickly began barreling downhill from there. His increasingly erratic behavior and ongoing flirtation with drugs and alcohol sidelined him for extended periods of time, and his ability to keep himself under control seemed less and less assured. A violent scuffle outside a local bar left him in a coma from which he never gained consciousness, and he died a short time later, on September 21, 1987. HBD and RIP. 


6. Harry Wayne Kasey 

Better known worldwide as K.C. of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, this Miami homeboy went from being a nondescript warehouse worker at TK Studios in Hialeah to taking the U.K. by storm, and eventually became one of the biggest names on the American pop charts. 

Radio listeners either loved or hated him, and indeed such noxious hits as "Get Down Tonight," "That's the Way (I Like It)," "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty," and "Please Don't Go" were constant staples throughout the '70s, helping to jumpstart the disco revolution. K.C. had his own problems with drug abuse and bad investments, but with the help of some wise counsel and the revival of his music through various film and TV scores, he came back to the fore and remains a popular attraction some 30 years later.


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