Kool & The Gang

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About Kool & The Gang

Kool & The Gang’s punchy, riff-driven urban grooves cemented funk music as a versatile and radio-friendly force during the ’70s and ’80s. Robert “Kool” Bell and his brother Ronald formed the band in New Jersey in 1964 as an Afro-jazz outfit, using several names before settling on Kool & the Gang and signing to De-Lite Records in 1969. The band specialized in chant-like, horn-filled rhythms that toggled between jazz fusion and James Brown-inspired soul. Its breakthrough came in 1973 when it cracked the R&B charts with “Funky Stuff.” Its seminal album, Wild and Peaceful, yielded the Gang’s first crossover hits with proto-disco classics “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging,” paving the groundwork for its many dance-floor staples throughout the rest of the decade. But as funk cooled in disco’s wake, the band members traded their gutsy tricks for a slick cosmopolitan sound. The addition of James “J.T.” Taylor’s smooth, charismatic falsetto kept the Gang aflame with a parade of chart-dominating hits—from 1979’s “Ladies’ Night” to 1985’s “Cherish”—that have endured as pop culture anthems as equally as R&B mainstays.

Jersey City, NJ, United States
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