The group has produced endless hits that include “Celebration,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Ladies Night,” “Get Down On It,” “Joanna,” “Hollywood Swinging,” and were the recipients of 2019 Marian Anderson Award at the Kimmel Center For The Performing Arts in Philadelphia recently.
Kool & the Gang joins an impressive class of those who were honored before, which includes Harry Belafonte, Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Norman Lear, Maya Angelou, Sidney Poitier, Mia Farrow and Dionne Warwick.
Formed in Jersey City, NJ, with brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Khalis Bayyan (formerly Ronald Bell) at the helm, Kool & the Gang released their first single, the self -titled “Kool & the Gang” with “Raw Hamburger” as the flip-side, in 1969. Since then, the band earned several Top 10 hits, including “Jungle Boogie”, “Hollywood Swinging”, “Funky Stuff’, “Summer Madness”, “Ladies Night”, “Too Hot”, “Joanna”, “Get Down On It” and the number one pop/R&B smash, “Celebration”. The group earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top 10 Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums.
Created in 1998, The Marian Anderson Award is named after the legendary classical music icon who was a Philadelphia native. This achievement honors critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way, either through their work or their support for an important cause.
Kool & the Gang band members are Michael Ray, Claydes Smith, Ronald Bell, Dennis D.T. Thomas, James “J.T.” Taylor, Robert Spike Mickens, Clifford Adams, Ricky West, Earl Toon, Jr., Woody Sparrow, George Brown, Robert “Kool” Bell, Curtis “Fitz” Williams and Kevin Bell. Their group who are currently on a domestic tour has a musical style mainly considered as Funk, Jazz, Rock, Electrónica, classic funk rock, soft rock, funk rock, disco, quiet storm, soul christmas, memphis soul, motown, post-disco, jazz funk, Soul and Blues.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince