Discover the Sweet Soulful Rhythm of Carolina Beach Music


Visitors to the Ocean Isle Beach, and in fact, visitors all along the North Carolina coast are often surprised to hear two terms; Beach Music and Shag Dancing. In this blog we'll pull back the curtain a bit and give you a brief history and description of the infectious music we love here on Ocean Isle Beach. Next week we'll explain everything you need to know about Shag Dancing. So come along with us as we share two of those unique coastal Carolina arts that we're sure you'll fall in love with. 

Defining Beach Music 

Beach music is complicated to describe. It is almost one of those things that you know it when you hear it. Ok, we realize that doesn't help you much so we'll share what the famous beach historian and Ripete Records label head, Marion Carter's definition: "It's an aura or sound, a cultural kind of thing, based on "sweet soul"- a style of music by groups like The Temptations, The Radiants, The Four Tops. It's a style of singing where you would never get anything like a scream or howl like Wilson Pickett would of. It's all controlled, nuanced singing. This is the root of Carolina Beach Music."

That probably only complicated things. Don't go download a Four Tops song and think you're listening to Carolina Beach Music, it is so much more than that. The best way to discover it is to hear it. Click on the video below to listen to the iconic Chairman of the Board, who are as close to beach music royalty as there is. This is a great example of Carolina Beach Music.

Where It All Began

Like any history, the truth lies somewhere between the stories, the legends, and the facts. Carolina Beach Music, like any art, was really an evolution of events. It was the popularity of African American music within the white community. There was the beach scene where people felt free to express themselves. And like all great things, there was the timing. 

We could write all day about the history of Carolina Beach Music and where it began, but the legend is that it all started at Jim Hanna's Tijuana Inn in the spring of 1948. It was here that one night at the behest of a friend, Jim allowed African American "jump blues" to be played on the jukebox. People loved it. The dancing began and establishments popped up from Myrtle Beach up the North Carolina coast as white patrons adopted the African American sounds of R&B, Blues, and Jazz. A melting pot of music was created that would spawn what we now call Carolina Beach Music. If you want to learn more about this unique history, check out Carolina Beach Music Encyclopedia, by Rick Simmons.

10 Carolina Beach Music Bands You'll Love 

If you're interested in listening to more Carolina Beach Music but aren't sure where to begin your journey, we have a few suggestions. So go ahead and fire up the iTunes account and get ready to download some of the best beach music available. Here are 10 Carolina Beach Music bands you need to download today. These would even make a great Ocean Isle Beach vacation playlist. 

Chairman of the Board
The Carolinas
Fantastic Shakers 
The Embers Featuring Craig Woolard
The Tams

Hip Pocket
Mark Roberts Band
Carolina Breakers
Band of Oz
Too Much Sylvia 

Live Carolina Beach Music on Ocean Isle Beach 

Want to hear more great beach music? You're in luck because here on Ocean Isle Beach we have a free concert series that features loads of great beach music (as well as other genres of course). The Ocean Isle Beach concert series takes place each Friday at the Museum of Coastal Carolina which is close to all of our great vacation homes. You can even walk or ride your bike from many of our homes. The concerts are from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is no seating so make sure to bring your chairs. Here are just a few of the acts that are coming to the free concert series. 

Too Much Sylvia

July 27, 2018 

This band has a simply infectious personality.  Refusing to use a set list, this band plays off the energy of the crowd, and what an energy they create. Nobody talks about Carolina Beach Music without mentioning Too Much Sylvia. If you can only make one of these shows, this is the one to see!

The Holiday Band

August 17, 2018

 For those who haven’t had the chance to see this band, you're in for a treat.  Over the years the band has experienced some changes, but the new line up appears to be just the right blend to provide us with toe-tapping music you're going to love.

The Entertainers

August 31, 2018

The Entertainers have been part of the Carolina Beach tradition for well over 30 years. Founded in 1980, The Entertainers almost immediately recorded what would be their first regional hit with “Living For The Summer” that same year. This and several other popular songs helped propel the group to the forefront of the beach music scene. 

Continental Divide

September 7, 2018

Continental Divide has been playing Carolina Beach Music for over 30 years. Their reputation is one of quality, professionalism, and above all, awesome music. From the silky smooth voice of Gene Pharr that compliment the tight rhythm section, and soulful horn section, they'll put on a performance everyone will remember.



Are you ready to plan your Ocean Isle Beach vacation and discover more Carolina Beach Music? If so, our friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to help you plan your vacation. Just give us a call at 800-727-9222 or click on the button below to begin planning your vacation today. 

Do you have a favorite Beach Music song or memory? Leave a comment below and let us know about it. 



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