‘He loved what he did’: Beach music icon, veteran Paul Craver dies at 71

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Shagging icon and beach music legend Paul Craver passed away on Tuesday of last week and he left behind a legacy that will help beach music live on.

Craver was a recording artist, but he was also known for his DJ skills at Duck’s Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach.

“Paul could walk into a DJ booth, and people just gravitated to the floor,” said radio announcer Pat Gwinn.

He was “The Emperor,” and radio DJ and friend of Paul Craver’s, Ray Scott, explains how Craver got the namesake.

“He did a song called Emperor of My Baby’s Heart, that hit a compilation CD out here, and that became a major hit, and that’s what led him to be called “The Emperor” and also got him awards, got him over to Belgium. That was his big song, so that’s what he is really, really known for.”

Paul Craver married his high school sweetheart, Gail, after proposing to her at Duck’s Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach.

Craver, known for hit “Mister Beach” with the band called Shagtime, he was a DJ Hall of Fame and Beach Music Hall of Fame inductee.

“This was a destination, such as Fat Harold’s is, and this, and those two people, Paul Craver for example, and Fat Harold, were icons,” said Gwinn, standing outside of Duck’s on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach.

For Craver, it wasn’t always about the music. It was also about making others feel good, like his high school sweetheart Gail, who he proposed to at Duck’s Beach Club.

Radio DJ Ray Scott remembers that day. “He was so nervous, for a guy that has been on stage in front of, he performed at the South Carolina Gamecock halftimes in front of 80,000 people,” he laughed.

Since his death last week, Craver’s “Pyramid” album has just about sold out at Judy’s House of Oldies on the corner of Main and Hillside in North Myrtle, which shows the impact he made on the beach.

“Paul genuinely loved his life. He loved what he did,” said Gwinn. “He loved the people that he came in contact with, and when you left the presence of Paul Craver, you felt like you had a new best friend.”

A memorial service with military honors will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church in Little River.

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