On October 22, 1960, the Drifters’ beach music classic, “Save the Last Dance For Me,” reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. According to the South Carolina Encyclopedia, “[b]each music, as it is known in the South, originated in the coastal Carolinas in the years following World War II.” The encyclopedia entry goes on to detail the origins and evolution of the genre. Beach music is particularly associated with Myrtle Beach and Ocean Drive, which is now part of North Myrtle Beach.
Below are two of William D. Workman’s images of the area in the 1940s, when beach music was born. Each picture is followed by a Google Maps Street View image of the same location in 2017. Of particular interest is Workman’s photo of the Roberts Pavilion. This was one of the early venues for beach music and shag dancing. A historical marker commemorating the pavilion is visible in the Google Maps image of the area.
Reprocessing and digitization of the William D. Workman, Jr. Papers photographs has been made possible by a grant from the National Historic Publications & Records Commission.