Kool and The Gang

Kool & The Gang, the group with a sound that has influenced the music of three generations, has sold over 70 million albums worldwide. Songs like Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie, Summer Madness and Open Sesame have won two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits, and 31 Gold and Platinum albums. Kool & The Gang has performed continuously for the past 30 years, longer than any R&B group in history. Their ticket to longevity has been evolution of their music.

In 1964 Khalis Bayyan a.k.a. Ronald Bell and his brother, Robert "Kool" Bell, joined Jersey City neighbourhood friends Robert "Spike" Mickens, Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to form the Jazziacs. Legendary artists John Coltrane, Miles Davis, James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone, influenced the group's unique sound which merged the complexity of jazz, the feel good sound of soul, and the street edge of funk music. In exchange for sandwiches and exposure, they began performing in Greenwich Village at the legendary club Cafe Wha? There they performed alongside rising stars Bill Cosby, Richie Havens and Richard Prior. While building their fan base in New York the group needed to find the perfect name to represent their sound. They went through a series of name changes including The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, and Kool & The Flames. To avoid any confusion with James Brown's "Famous Flames" they decided to make their recording debut as Kool & The Gang.
In 1969 Kool & The Gang released their self-titled debut album. It was the introduction to a theme, music is the message, that Kool & The Gang stands by today. The instrumental album was an expression of their deep love of music. It was also an introduction to their signature sound, fierce horn arrangements, created by Khalis, Dee Tee, and Spike. Their debut album spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single Kool & The Gang and later Let The Music Take Your Mind.
In 1970, their audacious sophomore set Live at the sex machine peaked at no. 6 on Billboard's R&B chart. Kool & The Gang's first live album showcased the group's musical growth and their lyrical expression of spirituality, unity and responsibility of mankind. This album produced three hit singles: Funky Man, Who's Gonna Take The Weight, and I Want To Take You Higher.
From 1971 to 1973, Kool & The Gang released four albums The Best Of Kool & The Gang Featuring The Penguin, Kool & The Gang Live at PJ's, Music Is The Message and Good Times. The group's big break came with the release of Wild & Peaceful in 1973. This album was Kool & The Gang's first certified gold album reaching no.6 on Billboard's R&B charts on the Pop charts. The "Wild" side of the album produced three party anthems, Funky Stuff, Hollywood Swinging, and the million selling single Jungle Boogie. The "Peaceful" side of the album continued their quest for peace and unity with songs like Heaven At Once and the title track Wild & Peaceful.

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