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Encyclopedia > Kool and the Gang
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Kool & The Gang

Kool & the Gang was a massively successful rhythm and blues and disco group. They originally formed in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1964. They went through several musical phases in their career. They started out as practitioners of R&B and funk, eventually went through a phase where they were a smooth disco ensemble, and wound up the successful period of their career recording tunes that were a mixture of pop and R&B.


The group's main members over the years included brothers Robert Bell (known as "Kool") on bass (b. October 8, 1950, Youngstown, Ohio) and Ronald Bell on saxophone (b. November 1, 1951, Youngstown, Ohio); George Brown on drums; Robert Mickens on trumpet; Dennis Thomas on saxophone; and Rick Westfield on keyboards. The Bell Brothers' father was an acquaintance of Thelonious Monk and the brothers were friends with Leon Thomas.


The group first hit the pop charts with their debut, self-titled album. Though none of the three singles from the album went far on the pop charts, their R&B success was swift and massive. Several live and studio albums followed, but 1973's Wild and Peaceful broke the into the mainstream with "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging".


The late 1970s saw a lull in Kool & the Gang's career that ended (after new lead singer James "JT" Taylor joined the group) with 1979's Ladies Night, the title track from which spawned a 25-year-long tradition of ladies' nights in New Jersey dance clubs and bars. Their only #1 hit was 1980's "Celebration", off Celebrate!, produced by Eumir Deodato. More hits followed in the early 1980s, including "Big Fun" and "Get Down on It". Their fame quickly diminished in the later part of the decade, though they continued releasing albums throughout the 80s and 1990s. One of their more famous songs from this period was "Cherish," part of their album Emergency.


Discography

Albums in the Billboard Top 40

  • Wild and Peaceful (1974, De-Lite, #33)
  • Ladies' Night (1979, De-Lite, #13)
  • Celebrate! (1980, De-Lite, #10)
  • Something Special (1981, De-Lite, #12)
  • As One (1982, De-Lite, #29)
  • In the Heart (1984, De-Lite, #29)
  • Emergency (1985, De-Lite, #13)
  • Victory (1986, Mercury, #25)

Hit singles

  • "Funky Stuff" [1973, #29]
  • "Jungle Boogie" [1974, #4]
  • "Hollywood Swinging" [1974, #6]
  • "Higher Plane" [1974, #37 (#1 R&B)]
  • "Spirit of the Boogie"/"Summer Madness" [1975, #35 (#1 R&B)]
  • "Ladies' Night" [1979, #8 (#1 R&B)]
  • "Too Hot" [1980, #5]
  • "Celebration" [1980 #1, (#1 R&B)]
  • "Jones vs. Jones" [1981, #39]
  • "Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)" [1981, #17 (#1 R&B)]
  • "Get Down on It" [1982, #10]
  • "Big Fun" [1982, #21]
  • "Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh La, La, La)" [1982, #30]
  • "Joanna" [1983, #2 (#1 R&B)]
  • "Tonight" [1984, #13]
  • "Misled" [1985, #10]
  • "Fresh" [1985, #4]
  • "Cherish" [1985, #2]
  • "Emergency" [1985, #28]
  • "Victory" [1986, #10]
  • "Stone Love" [1987, #10]

  Results from FactBites:
 
Kool & the Gang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (413 words)
Kool and the Gang was a highly successful RandB/soul/funk/disco group.
They started out as practitioners of RandB and funk, eventually went through a phase where they were a smooth disco ensemble, and wound up the successful period of their career recording tunes that were a mixture of pop and RandB.
The late 1970s saw a lull in Kool and the Gang's career that ended — after new lead singer James "JT" Taylor joined the group — with 1979's Ladies Night, the title track from which spawned a 25-year-long tradition of ladies' nights in New Jersey dance clubs and bars.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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