Kool & The Gang

Friday September 23

Kool & the Gang has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of three generations. Thanks to 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. Kool & the Gang has performed continuously for the past 43 years, longer than any R&B group in history. Their bulletproof funk and jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled band of all time.

In 1979, Kool & the Gang unveiled a smooth new sound with Ladies Night. Produced by the legendary Pop/Jazz musician Eumir Deodato, it became their first platinum album. The #1 R&B title track also Page 3 reached #8 at Pop. It was followed by Too Hot (#3 R&B, #5 Pop). The 80’s would see them dominate the mainstream, starting with the double platinum-selling album Celebrate (driven by the international monster hit Celebration, which spent six weeks atop the R&B chart and became a #1 Pop single). Celebration, which played as the American hostages returned from Iran, remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide. The smashes Get Down On It, Take My Heart, Let’s Go Dancing, Joanna, Tonight, Misled, the #1 R&B, #2 Pop giant Cherish and the #1 R&B anthem Fresh (these last three from the multiplatinum LP Emergency) solidified the group’s international stardom. Kool & the Gang landed global commercial endorsements, supported countless charitable causes and were the only American group to participate in Band Aid’s 1984 Do They Know It’s Christmas project for famine victims in Africa. With the explosion of hip-hop in the 90’s, Kool & the Gang’s incredible catalog of grooves made them DJ favorites. They were second only to R&B icon James Brown as sources of rap music samples. 2004’s The Hits Reloaded found the band collaborating with Lil’ Kim, Sean Paul, Ashanti, and Blackstreet, among others. The band re-entered the Billboard R&B chart with 2006’s Steppin’ Into Love. In the same year, Kool & the Gang received the NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Chairman Award for lifetime achievement in record sales. Kool & the Gang released a new studio album titled Still Kool in July 2007 on New Door Records/UME. In 2009 Kool & the Gang made history when they became one of only a handful of American acts to perform in Cuba in recent years. The group broke down cultural boundaries staging a free outdoor concert in Havana. In 2012 Kool & the Gang embarked on a very successful 52 city tour with Van Halen.