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The history of the famous "Kool & the Gang"

Kool & The Gang are famous all over the world. Their work did not leave anyone indifferent, because the musicians won the hearts of both jazz lovers and pop music fans. What were the features of their work, why did they never adapt to fashion trends and what was the composition of the participants? We will talk about all this in our article.

How the group "Kool & the Gang" was created - new idols of the 70s and 80s

Kool & the Gang musical group known for the infectious hits of the 1970s and 1980s. Thanks to their bulletproof funk and jazz arrangements, Kool & the Gang became the most popular R&B group of all time. Brilliant guys from New Jersey created their own team in 1964. The group exists in our time and works in such musical directions as rhythm and blues, jazz, funk, disco, soul.

Create a group

The group was founded in school years and she was called Jazziacs, In her composition Brothers Robert "Cool" (bass) and Ronald (piano) Bell, Robert "Spike" Mickens (trumpet), Dennis "DT" Thomas (saxophone), Ricky West (piano), George Brown (drums) and Charles Smith ( guitar). Virtually all of them (Smith studied elsewhere) attended Lincoln High School in Jersey City. Robert Bell gave himself nickname "Kool" (he used the name "Cool", replacing "C" with "K") to become "in" among the guys from the street gangs of his area after moving from Ohio.

Kool & The Gang on their album cover
Kool & The Gang on their album cover

'Kool & the Gang' has been through a lot changes both in composition, and in musical genres, and even in titles. They explored different styles: from jazz to pop music. Since the father of two brothers (Robert and Ronald Bell) was on good terms with many musicians and composers, for example with By Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Leon Thomas and Pharoah Sanders, it becomes clear why they strongly influenced to the musical repertoire of the new group.

Success

After several attempts to change the name (for example, "Soul Town Review", "New Dimensions") in 1968, the musicians settled on Kool & the Gang. At that time, the group composed songs in classic funkabandoning jazz. Musicians were most interested in concert activity, and not recording albums or songs, so their self-titled debut album took place only in 1969. It introduced their unique instrumental sound and violent horn arrangements, and spawned their first single Kool & the Gangcharted on the Billboard R&B chart .

In 1970, the group began to think about changing their scenic execution. Inspired them to this performance Willie Fister and Mighty Magnificents, which, according to Robert Bell, "hit us". The musicians understood: in order to conquer the audience not enough just stand on stage and sing or play. In the future, many will be amazed and delighted by their stage performances. These were real shows (someone called their performances “a 24 carat show”), which consisted of instrumental virtuosity, thoughtful and practiced choreography. group over 50 years and despite this, every year they perform all over the world.

The group released 4 albums and their stellar reputation grew with each of them, but, precisely "Wild and Peaceful" (1973), including the singles "Jungle Boogie", "Hollywood Swinging" took "Kool & the Gang" to new heights. Subsequently, these songs were included in the top ten. After that, "Kool & the Gang" was waiting for a small creative crisis. But between 1979 and 1986 they were successful again. This happened after their collaboration with the producer Eumir Deodato, a Brazilian musician, and the inclusion of the talented singer James J.T. Taylor. At this time, the group releases such hits as «Higher Plane», «Summer Madness» (from the soundtrack to the film "Rocky", won a Grammy).

The holiday, dedicated to the return of American hostages from Iran, still does not lose its popularity around the world. Singles "Get Down On It", "Take My Heart", "Let's Go Dancing" strengthened the international fame of the group. Kool & the Gang received worldwide commercial support, supported countless charitable causes, and was the only American group to participate in the 1984 Band Aid program (a famine relief project from Africa).

In 1978, the group's repertoire began to appear ballads. This was due to the addition of a clean vocalist to Kool & the Gang. Subsequently, the song "Ladies Night" appeared, which foreshadowed a change in the fate of the group. Most of the work of the 80s became "platinum".

Kool & The Gang with new line-up
Kool & The Gang with new line-up

Music features

One of the characteristic features of the musical performance of "Kool & the Gang" was sharp brass sounding, virtuosic guitar solo and powerful rhythm section. It was their dance rhythm that later influenced the emergence of the disco style. In 1977 the song "Open Sesame" was one of the soundtracks of the popular movie "Saturday Night Fever" ("Saturday Night Fever").

Kool & the Gang have always been true to their musical landmarks, they refused to constantly change their style, adapting to fashion trends. On this occasion, Ronald Bell said in 2007: “We tried ... it doesn’t work. It's a bit like a fish out of its element." Individual compositions of the group reflect religious preferences of the part of the musicians who were interested Mohammedanism.

Nowadays

The group is still protrude around the world and delight their fans. "Kool & the Gang" has won a huge number of awards and recognition. Thanks to cult songs ("Celebration", "Cherish", "Jungle Boodie"), the musicians earned 2 awards Grammy Awards, 7 awards American Music Awards, the Music Business Association Chairman Award for Artistic Achievement, and in 2015 the band received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In addition to organizing concerts, the group composes songs and writes albums. For example, the 25th studio album "Perfect Union", released in 2021 and produced by Khalis Bayan.

Kool & The Gang on CD cover
Kool & The Gang on CD cover

Their music has always sounded on cool parties, and some songs from "Kool & the Gang" have also been used in computer games. Song "Summer Madness" sounds inGrand Theft Auto: Vice City", song "Hollywood Swinging" was selected for the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack.

Now "Kool & The Gang" is reasonably considered one of the most popular bands in the world - the musicians skillfully combine and rhythmic primitive, which is very popular with many people, and genuine musical finds. In total, this group released 23 albums and almost 70 singles. Nowadays, Kool & The Gang continues to delight fans from all over the world with its hits and live performances.

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