Kool & the Gang

Beginning life in 1964 as a high school jazz band from Jersey City, New Jersey, Kool & The Gang went on to produce some of the biggest disco anthems of the era and notch up record sales of over 70 million. Led by brothers Robert ('Kool') and Ronald Bell, the band was a key figure on New York's club scene of the early 1970s, overseeing the evolution of soul and R&B into funk and making their commercial breakthrough with fourth studio album Wild and Peaceful (1973). Singles “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging” became Top 10 hits in the US, and they built a reputation as a serious, well-respected funk band with the albums Light of the Worlds (1974) and Spirit of the Boogie (1975). That changed, however, when the pop glitz of the disco era came shimmying onto the dance floor in the late 1970s and the band embraced the new sound with their classics “Ladies' Night”, “Celebration” (a US number 1) and “Get Down on It”. Something Special (1981) became their most successful UK album, reaching number 10, and they made it to number 2 on both sides of the Atlantic with the romantic ballad “Joanna”. The band’s hits dried up at the end of the 1980s as R&B began to evolve and new artists were introduced to younger listeners via MTV and other video channels. However, they still performed well into the 21st century, while their music has been heavily sampled by many acts in the hip hop world. Sadly, co-founder Ronald Bell died on September 9th, 2020, at the age of 68. Founder member and alto saxophone player Dennis ‘D.T.’ Thomas, who was still an active band member, died on August 7, 2021, at the age of 70. Drummer George ‘Funky’ Brown – who was also a founding and active band member since 1964 – died on November 17, 2023, at the age of 74.

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Stations Featuring Kool & the Gang

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