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Kool & The Gang

Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-'60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the '70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the '80s after their breakout hit "Celebration" in 1979. Just as funky as James Brown or Parliament (and sampled almost as frequently), Kool & the Gang relied on their jazz backgrounds and long friendship to form a tightly knit group with the interplay and improvisation of a jazz outfit, plus the energy and spark of a band with equal ties to soul, R&B, and funk.

Robert "Kool" Bell and his brother Ronald (or Khalis Bayyan) grew up in Jersey City, NJ, and picked up the music bug from their father. A professional boxer, he was also a serious jazz lover and a close friend of Thelonious Monk. With Robert on bass and Ronald picking up an array of horns, the duo formed the Jazziacs in 1964 with several neighborhood friends: trombone player Clifford Adams, guitarists Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow, trumpeter Robert "Spike" Michens, alto saxophonist Dennis Thomas, keyboard player Ricky West, and drummer Funky George Brown (all of whom, except Michens and West, still remained in the group more than 30 years later).

The growing earthiness of soul inspired the Jazziacs to temper their jazz sensibilities with rhythms more akin to R&B, and the newly renamed Soul Town Band began playing clubs in Greenwich Village. After a mix-up with a club owner resulted in the group being billed Kool & the Flames, they moderated the title to Kool & the Gang and found a leg up with the tiny De-Lite Records. Three singles from their self-titled debut album hit the pop charts, and although the position wasn't incredibly high, Kool & the Gang became a quick success on the R&B charts. Always a staple of their appeal, the group's live act was documented on two 1971 LPs, Live at the Sex Machine and Live at P.J.'s, including left-field covers of "Walk On By" and "Wichita Lineman" (as well as the not so unusual "I Want to Take You Higher").

Studio albums followed in 1972 and 1973, but it was with Kool & the Gang's sixth LP, Wild and Peaceful, that they hit the big time. "Funky Stuff" became their first Top 40 hit at the end of 1973. Then both "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging" reached the pop Top Ten. During the next four years, however, Kool & the Gang could only manage an occasional Top 40 hit ("Higher Plane," "Spirit of the Boogie"), and though they did win a Grammy award for "Open Sesame" (from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), the rise of disco -- a movement centered around producers and vocalists, in direct contrast to the group's focus on instrumentalists -- had appeared to end their popularity.

Then, in 1979, the group added two new vocalists, Earl Toon, Jr. and, more importantly, James "J.T." Taylor, a former Jersey nightclub singer. Kool & the Gang also began working with jazz fusion arranger Eumir Deodato, who produced their records from 1979 to 1982. The first such album, Ladies Night, was their biggest hit yet, the first of three consecutive platinum albums, with the Top Ten singles "Too Hot" and the title track. Celebrate!, released in 1980, spawned Kool & the Gang's only number one hit, "Celebration," an anthem favored by innumerable wedding receptions since. With Deodato, the group produced several more hits, including the singles "Take My Heart (You Can Have It if You Want It)," "Get Down on It," and "Big Fun," and the albums Something Special in 1981 and As One a year later. After Deodato left the fold in late 1982, Kool & the Gang proved their success wasn't solely due to him; they had two immense hits during 1984-1985 ("Joanna" and "Cherish"), as well as two more Top Tens, "Misled" and "Fresh." The group's string of seven gold or platinum records continued until 1986's Forever, after which James "J.T." Taylor amicably left the group for a solo career.

Although Taylor did reasonably well with his solo recordings (many of which were produced by Ronald Bell), Kool & the Gang quickly sank without him. They replaced Taylor with three vocalists, Skip Martin (formerly of the Dazz Band), Odeen Mays, and Gary Brown, but failed to chart their albums Sweat (1989) and Unite (1993). Taylor finally returned to the group in 1995 for the release of a new album, State of Affairs. They continued well throughout the 2000s, releasing 2001's Gangland, 2004's The Hits: Reloaded, and 2007's Still Kool (recorded after the 2006 death of co-founder Charles Smith). They often collaborated with new and well-known younger talent. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Kool & The Gang Gold

Disc 1

1. Kool & The Gang

2. Kool's Back Again

3. Let The Music Take Your Mind

4. Funky Man

5. Who's Gonna Take The Weight

6. Love The Life You Live

7. Funky Stuff

8. Jungle Boogie

9. Hollywood Swinging

10. Higher Plane

11. Rhyme Tyme People

12. Summer Madness

13. Spirit Of The Boogie

14. Caribbean Festival

15. Love And Understanding (Come Together)

16. Open Sesame

Disc 2

1. Ladies Night

2. Too Hot

3. Celebration

4. Take My Heart (You Can Have It)

5. Get Down On It

6. Big Fun

7. Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh, LA, LA, La)

8. Joanna

9. Tonight (AOR Mix)

10. Misled

11. Fresh

12. Cherish

13. Emergency

14. Victory

15. Stone Love

x

Track List: The hits: Reloaded

1. Jones Vs. Jones (feat. Angie Stone)

2. Jungle boogie (feat. redman)

3. Take My Heart (feat. Blu Cantrell)

4. Hollywood Swinging (feat. Jamiroquai)

5. Too Hot (feat. Lisa Stansfield)

6. Ladies night (feat. Sean Paul & Spanner Banner)

7. Cherish (feat. Ashanti)

8. No Show (feat. Blackstreet)

9. (Ooh La La La) Let's Go Dancin' (feat. Jimmy Cliff & Bounty Killer)

10. Summer Madness (feat. Youssou N'Dour)

11. Jazziacs A The Kool Jazz Cafe

x

Track List: The Ultimate Collection

Disc 1

1. Ladies Night

2. Too Hot

3. Hangin' Out

5. Celebration

6. Jones Vs Jones

7. Take It To The Top

9. Get Down On It

10. Good Time Tonight

11. Steppin' Out

12. Think It Over

13. Big Fun

15. Hi De Hi Hi De Ho

Disc 2

1. Straight Ahead

2. Tonight

3. Joanna

4. In The Heart

5. Fresh

6. Cherish

7. Misled

8. Bad Woman

9. Emergency

10. Victory

11. God's Country

12. Peacemaker

13. Stone Love

14. Rags To Riches

15. Strong

Disc 3
x

Track List: The Best of Kool & The Gang - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

1. Celebration

2. Jungle Boogie

3. Ladies Night

4. Joanna

5. Get Down On It

6. Hollywood Swinging

7. Cherish

8. Fresh

9. Too Hot

10. Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)

11. Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh, La, La, La)

x

Track List: The Best Of Kool & The Gang (1969-1976)

x

Track List: Celebrate

1. Celebration

2. Jones Vs. Jones

3. Take It To The Top

4. Morning Star

5. Love Festival

6. Just Friends

7. Night People

8. Love Affair

x

Track List: Love And Understanding

1. Love & Understanding

2. Sugar

3. Do It Right Now

4. Cosmic Energy

5. Hollywood Swinging (Live)

6. Summer Madness (Live)

7. Universal Sound (Live)

8. Come Together

x

Track List: Wild And Peaceful

1. Funky Stuff

2. More Funky Stuff

3. Jungle Boogie

4. Heaven At Once

5. Hollywood Swinging

6. This Is You, This Is Me

7. Life Is What You Make It

8. Wild And Peacful

x

Track List: Celebration: The Best Of Kool & The Gang 1979-1987

1. Celebration

2. Get Down On It

3. Fresh

4. Too Hot

5. Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)

6. Let's Go Dancing

7. Misled

8. Cherish (12'' Version)

9. Ladies Night

10. Steppin' Out

11. Joanna

12. In The Heart

13. Take It To The Top

14. Tonight

15. No Show

16. Straight Ahead

17. Stone Love

x

Track List: Emergency

1. Emergency

2. Fresh

3. Misled

4. Cherish

5. Surrender

6. Bad Woman

7. You Are The One

x

Track List: Greatest Hits Live! (Live)

1. Victory (Live)

2. Ladies Night (Live)

3. Fresh (Live)

4. Take My Heart (Live)

5. Hollywood Swinging (Live)

6. Too Hot (Live)

7. Joanna (Live)

8. Cherish (Live)

9. Ooh La La La (Let's Go Dancing) (Live)

10. Get Down On It (Live)

11. Celebration (Live)

12. Tonight (Live)

13. Emergency (Live)

x

Track List: Kool Jazz (Remastered)

1. Breeze & Soul

2. Sea Of Tranquility

3. Sombrero Sam

4. Lucky For Me

5. Dujii

6. Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)

7. North, East, South, West

8. I Remember John W. Coltrane

9. Wild And Peaceful

10. Winter Sadness

11. Summer Madness

12. Universal Sound

13. Messenger Of Wisdom

14. Free

x

Track List: Sexy (Where'd You Get Yours) (Single)

1. Sexy (Where'd You Get Yours)

x

Track List: Something Special

1. Steppin' Out

2. Good Time Tonight

3. Take My Heart

4. Be My Lady

5. Get Down On It

6. Pass It On

7. Stand Up And Sing

8. No Show

9. Stop!

Comments

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marieabella1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
I WOULD LOVE IT MORE THAN EVER 2 C ALL OF U PERFORM. I FOLLOWED YOUR MUSIC 4 A LONG TIME. ENJOYABLE
Report as inappropriate
Wished I could've been a member of the Gang. They were excellent!
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It's always ladies night!!!
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Take me back old school the best
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metallicagur l 1 8
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Still gettin down with this song!!!!!
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Love It!!! They are the best,love this era in music <3
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aestrada223
'Fresh' just makes me want to dance and clap my hands whenever I hear it. Kool and the Gang made you enjoy being able to hear and move without any limitations. Nowadays music is so indiscernibl e and what you can discern is pretty much unintelligib l e . Thank God for the '70s and 80s'.
Report as inappropriate
This is some good music.
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Boy obit theeeee oldies is were it's at yes sir
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C'mon y'all let's get down on VOTING today!! Very important nationally and local election, too!!
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moleculematt
Jammin to this song on that old cadillac over there. Those were good times. Love you kool and gang.
Report as inappropriate
The bass line is nice. Ladies �� Night.. nice.
Report as inappropriate
this song played at the Halloween dance
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~~Summer Madness~~ by Kool & The Gang has got to be the BADDEST all instrumental song ever recorded!! Just COLD!! Takes me to the place everytime!! My all time favorite all instrumental song!! Love bumping this in the ride, it makes folks just stop....and look!!
Report as inappropriate
The best way to get your groove on , and start your weekend off. Now that I have your attention , let's get funk out of here.
Report as inappropriate
Get Down On It~~back in the day house party anthem just partying having fun, nothing but Kool-Aid and potato chips...and partying, lol.
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Should Always Be LADIES NIGHT CUZ THE FEELINS RIGHT!!☪☪☮
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VERY COOL SOUND!!! Summer Night in NYC.
Report as inappropriate
I love Get Down On It such a really good song
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Ladies night time for some mackin...

Light camera action..
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mariejames34 7 9
❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
chasewayneta y l o r
With u scared
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chasewayneta y l o r
I love it
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Love Jame Tyler love Kool and the Gang Jame look like my uncle gill
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<3 this song
Report as inappropriate
Remember roller skating holding on and the show offs funny now
Report as inappropriate
There is nothing BETTER.Than. Being around,in&ov e r 'freshness!'
The mutual attutude.
Every 'friendly conversation ' .
All included.Wit h anticipated repetation.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Report as inappropriate
dragonlady60 8 8
Love kool..
.love this song.

Miss this music....lad i e s NIGHT
Report as inappropriate
What the hell is Kool & The Gang doing on my Classic Rock Station ? get out !
Report as inappropriate
Damn good music!!! Turn up!!!!!
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JT and his beautiful eyes.
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justinjenny4 9 5
Report as inappropriate
This is So Smooth Sensual & Sultry.... Moves the Core of me!
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COOL......th i s ...is s Very Cool ...version.. . . I . . . . L U V . . . . ! ! ! ? C X X X X X X O O O O O G E T DOWN TONIGHT..... . . . . B A B Y . . . . . . . . . . . . ! ! ! ! ! !
Report as inappropriate
I LUV.....this Version..... . . C h e c k it OUT......... . . ! ! ! ! ! ! ! X X X X X O O O O O X OOO
Report as inappropriate
SWDVJO











































P





lol


















Eat me












Report as inappropriate
justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Earth,Wind and Fire. Da Bomb.
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Roller skate music
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Everyone should recognize... . . . . w a y back then .....��..... . K o o l & t h e gang.....kne w . . . . . i t is LADIES NIGHT!!!!!!! ! !
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I will be by your side always and forever I will always cherish our love here is my kisses and my great big hugs my prescious love I am so proud of you Mike love mimi
Report as inappropriate
dragonlady60 8 8
LADIES NIGHT YESSSSSSS
Report as inappropriate
jamieb12871
Probably who I heard/listen e d 2 the most. . .
Report as inappropriate
House Party anthem back in the early-mid 80s....Get Down On It by Kool & the Gang....just partying having fun
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Love this song
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Chi's brown
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