KOOL & THE GANG is an American Funk, R&B, soul, and disco band who 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, twenty-five Top 10 R&B hits, nine Top 10 Pop hits, and thirty-one gold and platinum albums.
KOOL & THE GANG has performed continuously for the past 45 years, longer than any R&B group in history. Their bulletproof funk and tough, jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled band of all time.
In 1964 Khalis Bayyan (AKA Ronald Bell) and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, joined Jersey City neighborhood friends Robert “Spike” Mickens, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. At first calling themselves the Jazziacs, they went through various names – The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & The Flames – before settling on their moniker. Over the next several years, they solidified their musical chemistry on the rough-and-tumble East Coast music scene, supporting acts like Bill Cosby, Ritchie Havens and Richard Pryor. Their self-titled 1969 debut album introduced their signature instrumental sound and fierce horn arrangements and spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single "Kool And The Gang".
In 1969, KOOL & THE GANG released their self-titled debut album. It was the introduction to a theme, music is the message, that the band stands by today. The instrumental album was an expression of their deep love of music. It was also an introduction to their signature sound and the fierce horn arrangements created by Khalis, Dee Tee, and Spike. Their debut album spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single “Kool And The Gang” and later “Let The Music Take Your Mind”.
In 1970, their audacious sophomore set “Live At The Sex Machine” peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B chart and yielded three hit singles: “Funky Man”, “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight” and “I Want To Take You Higher”. Next came “The Best Of Kool & The Gang Featuring The Penguin”, “Kool & The Gang Live at PJ’s”, “Music Is The Message”, and “Good Times”, all of which helped solidify a sound that wowed not only fans but such contemporaries as James Brown and Nina Simone.
The band’s stellar reputation grew with each album, but 1973’s gold disc “Wild & Peaceful” took KOOL & THE GANG to another level, spurred by the immortal party anthems “Funky Stuff“, “Hollywood Swinging” and the platinum smash “Jungle Boogie”. Hits like “Higher Plane”, the classic “Summer Madness” (featured on the Grammy-winning movie soundtrack Rocky) and LPs “Spirit Of The Boogie”, “Love & Understanding” and “Open Sesame” followed. The latter’s title track was featured on the top-selling movie soundtrack of all time “Saturday Night Fever”, earning the group their second Grammy.
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. It was followed by “Too Hot”. The ’80s 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 No. 1 Pop chart 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”, “Cherish” and “Fresh” (these last three from the multi-platinum LP “Emergency”) solidified the group’s international superstardom. 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 1990s, KOOL & THE GANG’s incredible catalog of grooves made them DJ favorites, and 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 such acolytes as Lil’ Kim, Sean Paul, Ashanti, and Blackstreet, among others.
The band re-entered the Billboard R&B chart with 2006’s “Steppin’ Into Love” and received in the same year the NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Chairman Award for lifetime achievement in record sales.
KOOL & THE GANG continues to perform to packed audiences of new and old fans around the world and remains one of the most active touring bands, performing approximately two-hundred shows every year.
Jul 18 - Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, CA (USA)
Jul 20 - Nelson Mandela Park, Amsterdam (NED)
Jul 21 - Jazz Festival, Vitoria-Gasteiz (ESP)
Jul 22 - White Nights Festival, St.Petersburg (RUS)
Jul 24 - Jazz Festival, Marseilles (FRA)
Jul 26 - Agora-Palais des Congrès, Saint Raphael (FRA)
Jul 27 - Le Port, Saint-Nazaire (FRA)
Jul 28 - Le Port, Saint Nazaire (FRA)
Jul 29 - Grote Markt, Tienen (BEL)
Aug 10 - Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, OH (USA)
Aug 11 - Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, NV (USA)
Aug 12 - San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose, CA (USA)
Aug 15 - Peralada Festival, Peralada (ESP)
Aug 18 - Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames (UK)
Aug 19 - Hotel Puente Romana, Marbella (ESP)
Aug 23 - Innsbrook After Hours, Glen Allen, VA (USA)
Aug 24 - Lynn Memorial Auditorium, Lynn, MA (USA)
Aug 29 - Pacific National Exhibition Amphitheatre, Vancouver (CAN)
Aug 30 - Oregon State Fair, Salem, OR (USA)
Aug 31 - Fort Sill Army Base, Lawton, OK (USA)
Sep 01 - Seneca Niagara Falls Event Center, Niagara Falls, NY (USA)
Sep 03 - Los Angeles County Fair, Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Sep 13 - Kaaboo Festival, Del Mar, CA (USA)
Sep 15 - Bill Aylor Sr. Memorial Riverstage, San Angelo, TX (USA)
Sep 28 - Gran Arena Monticello, Santiago (CHI)
Sep 29 - Gran Arena Monticello, Santiago (CHI)
Nov 01 - Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA (USA)
Nov 16 - Pyramid Festival, Paris (FRA)
Nov 17 - Ziggodome, Amsterdam (NED)
Nov 18 - Ziggodome, Amsterdam (NED)
Nov 19 - El Gran Teatre el Licue, Barcelona (ESP)
Dec 07 - Marriott Grand Hotel, St. Louis, MO (USA)
Dec 29 - Edgewater Casino, Laughlin, NV (USA)
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