Kool & The Gang, officially launched in 1969, after performing for five years under various band titles, has influenced the music of three generations and, at the age of 49, the band has become true recording industry legends.
Thanks to iconic songs like Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie, Summer Madness and Open Sesame, they’ve earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums.
From Nairobi to Newark, Kool & The Gang has performed continuously longer than any R&B group in history and their bulletproof funk and jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled R&B band of all time. A reviewer recently called their performance “a 24-karat show” and every year, even after a half-century on the road, yields a non-stop schedule of shows across the globe.
The heavily-in-demand band has continued to tour the world, appearing most recently alongside Kid Rock, Dave Matthews Band, Elton John and The Roots and performing on a recent, 50-city tour with rock legends Van Halen.
In 1964, Ronald Bell and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, joined Jersey City neighborhood friends Robert “Spike” Mickens, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. At first calling themselves the Jazziacs, the band went through various names – The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & the Flames – before settling on their famous moniker.
Over the next several years they solidified their musical chemistry on the rough-and-tumble East Coast music scene supporting acts like Bill Cosby, Ritchie Havens and Richard Pryor. Their self-titled 1969 debut album introduced their signature instrumental sound and fierce horn arrangements and spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single, 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 and the 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.