Something Special

Something Special

Along with Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang was arguably the only mainstream Black American band to successfully transition from the 1970s to the 1980s. But where Earth, Wind & Fire toyed with disco as part of a broader diet of R&B, jazz, and other Black idioms, Kool & The Gang embraced the sound consciously and head-on. Released in 1981, Something Special would become the band’s third platinum album in three years. It wasn’t all that functionally different from 1979’s Ladies’ Night or 1980’s Celebrate!: It’s polished, pop-friendly, and song-oriented—a sound that scanned as Black, but was easily embraced by mainstream America. But Something Special also found the group moving beyond disco, with its eight tracks including everything from modern updates on 1960s Motown (“Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)”) to dolphin-smooth funk (“Get Down On It”) to quiet storm ballads (“No Show”). In a way, it was as though the band members had discovered they were less unified by sound than by their persistent, family-friendly optimism, whether for the children (“Pass It On”), the ladies (“Be My Lady”), or humanity in general (“Stand Up and Sing”). Kool & The Gang worked hard to make you feel good. But they made it sound easy.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada