Kool and the Gang

▪ American music group
Introduction

      American funk and pop band from Jersey City, N.J., that was one of the first successful self-contained black bands of the 1970s. The principal members were Khalis Bayyan (byname of Ronald Bell; b. Nov. 1, 1951, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.), Robert (“Kool”) Bell (b. Oct. 8, 1950, Youngstown), Claydes (“Charles”) Smith (b. Sept. 6, 1948, Jersey City, N.J.—d. June 20, 2006, Maplewood), George (“Funky”) Brown (b. Jan. 5, 1949, Jersey City), Dennis (“DT”) Thomas (b. Feb. 9, 1951, Jersey City), Robert (“Spike”) Mickens (b. 1951, Jersey City), Ricky West (original name Richard Westfield; b. Jersey City—d. 1985), and James (“JT”) Taylor (b. Aug. 16, 1953, Laurens, S.C.).

      The group's first charting single, "Kool and the Gang," a horn-driven, highly rhythmic instrumental dance track, was followed by a steady string of similar singles through 1976. The band's commercial breakthrough came in 1973 with the album Wild and Peaceful, which featured the singles "Funky Stuff," "Jungle Boogie," and "Hollywood Swinging," all of which reached the rhythm-and-blues (rhythm and blues) Top Ten. Kool and the Gang's sound was an innovative fusion of jazz, African rhythms, and street funk that established the band as an innovator in black music until the onset of the disco era. However, when the group's single "Open Sesame" was reissued on the soundtrack for the motion picture Saturday Night Fever in 1977, Kool and the Gang shifted emphasis toward pop and disco.

      In 1979 the band added lead vocalist Taylor and producer Eumir Deodato, which led to a cleaner, pop-driven sound and to the crossover single "Ladies' Night." Numerous hits followed, including the number one hit "Celebration" in 1980, as well as the sentimental pop songs "Joanna" in 1983 and "Cherish" in 1985. Kool and the Gang charted more pop singles than any other act in the 1980s. The band continued to record and tour into the early 21st century.

Rickey Vincent

Representative Works

Live at the Sex Machine (1971)
Wild and Peaceful (1973)
Spirit of the Boogie (1975)
Ladies' Night (1979)
Celebrate! (1980)

Additional Reading
Kool and the Gang are profiled in Rickey Vincent, Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One (1996), pp. 182–184; Irwin Stambler, Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Soul, rev. ed. (1989), pp. 380–382; Colin Larkin (ed.), The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2nd ed., vol. 3 (1995); and Patricia Romanowski, Holly George-Warren, and Jon Pareles (eds.), The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (1995), pp. 554–555. The recording of their top singles is chronicled in Adam White and Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits (1993).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Kool and the Gang (album) — Infobox Album Name = Kool and the Gang Type = Album Artist = Kool and the Gang Released = 1969 Genre = R B, soul jazz, funk Length = 32:12 Label = De Lite Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|3.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg… …   Wikipedia

  • Forever (Kool and the Gang album) — Infobox Album Name = Forever Type = Album Artist = Kool and the Gang Released = November 3, 1986 Genre = Funk Length = 48:59 Label = Mercury Last album = Emergency (1984) This album = Forever (1986) Next album = Sweat (1989)Forever was an album… …   Wikipedia

  • Something Special (Kool and the Gang album) — Infobox Album Name = Something Special Type = Album Artist = Kool and the Gang Released = September 24, 1981 Recorded = Genre = Funk Length = 36:18 Label = Mercury Producer = Reviews = * Rolling Stone rating|2|5… …   Wikipedia

  • Sweat (Kool and the Gang album) — Infobox Album Name = Sweat Type = Album Artist = Kool and the Gang Released = 1989 Genre = R B Length = 52:37 Label = Mercury Last album = Forever (1986) This album = Sweat (1989) Next album = Unite (1993)Sweat was an album released by the band… …   Wikipedia

  • Kool \x26 the Gang — Kool the Gang Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Kool The Gang Información personal Origen Jersey City, EE.UU. Información artística Género(s) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Celebration (canción de Kool \x26 the Gang) — Celebration (canción de Kool the Gang) Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Celebration» Sencillo de Kylie Minogue del álbum Greatest Hits Lado B Let s Get To It Publicación 16 de noviembre …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kool & the Gang — Origin Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S. Genres Jazz Funk Soul Years active 1969–present Labels …   Wikipedia

  • Kool & The Gang — Kool and The Gang Pays d’origine Jersey City New Jersey États Unis Genre musical Jazz Funk R B Soul …   Wikipédia en Français

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