Kool & The Gang were an American soul-funk band from Jersey City that released 18 albums on De-Lite Records between 1970 and 1984.
Members: Robert Bell (bass, vocals), George Brown (drums, percussion, vocals), Dennis D.T. Thomas (alto saxophone, flute, percussion, vocals), Charles Smith (guitar, 1968-2006), Ronald Bell (aka Khalis Bayyan, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto flute, synthesizer, bass, percussion, piano, vocals, 1964-88, 1993-present), Robert “Spike” Mickens (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals, 1968-86), Ricky West (piano, keyboards, vocals, 1968-76), Kevin Lassiter (keyboards, synthesizer, clavinet, percussion, vocals, 1978-79), Clifford Adams (trombone, 1978-present), Sir Earl Toon (keyboards, 1979-present), James “J.T.” Taylor (vocals, 1979-88, 1995-99), Curtis Williams (alto saxophone, synthesizer, vocals, 1982-present)
Kool & The Gang took root in a Jersey City school band named The Jazziacs, formed in 1964 by brothers Robert “Kool” Bell (bass) and Ronald Bell (tenor sax, flute). Robert adopted the nickname Kool to jibe with neighborhood street gangs. The Bell’s father, Bobby, was a boxer who once roomed with Thelonious Monk and trained with Miles Davis.
The Jazziacs also featured trumpeter Robert “Spike” Mickens, alto saxophonist Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, keyboardist Ricky West, drummer George Brown, and guitarist Charles Smith. All but Smith were schoolmates of the Bell’s at Lincoln High School in Jersey City. They initially played on the opening slots of local Sunday night jazz bills. After masquerading under alternate names (The Soul Town Band, The New Dimensions), they became the house band for Soul Town, a local organization that was fielding aspiring soul singers.
In 1967, the band scored a residency at the Blue Note Lounge, where an MC mistakenly billed them as Kool & The Flames. They were taken under the managerial wing of producer and ex-doo wop singer/musician Gene Redd Jr. (brother of singer Sharon Redd). At his insistence, they altered their name to Kool & The Gang to avoid confusion with James Brown‘s backing band The Famous Flames. Redd secured their contract with the upstart soul-funk label De-Lite Records.
Kool and the Gang
Kool & The Gang released their self-titled debut album in December 1969 on De-Lite.
“Kool & The Gang” (b/w “Raw Hamburger”).
Live at the Sex Machine
In February 1971, Kool & The Gang released Live at the Sex Machine, their first live album.
Live at P.J.’s
In October 1971, Kool & The Gang released Live at P.J.’s, their second live album.
Music Is the Message
Kool & The Gang released their second studio album, Music Is the Message, in July 1972 on De-Lite.
Kool & The Gang released their third studio album, Good Times, in November 1972 on De-Lite.
Wild and Peaceful
Kool & The Gang released their fourth studio album, Wild and Peaceful, in September 1973 on De-Lite.
Released: September 1973
Released: November 24, 1973
Released: April 6, 1974
Light of Worlds
Kool & The Gang released their fifth studio album, Light of Worlds, in September 1974 on De-Lite.
Spirit of the Boogie
Kool & The Gang released their sixth studio album, Spirit of the Boogie, in August 1975 on De-Lite.
“Spirit of the Boogie”
Released: March 13, 1975
Released: June 1975
Love & Understanding
Kool & The Gang released their seventh studio album, Love & Understanding, in March 1976 on De-Lite.
Kool & The Gang released their eighth studio album, Open Sesame, in November 1976 on De-Lite.
Kool & The Gang released their ninth studio album, The Force, in 1977 on De-Lite.
Kool & The Gang released their tenth studio album, Everybody’s Dancin’, in 1978 on De-Lite.
Kool & The Gang released their eleventh studio album, Ladies’ Night, on September 6, 1979, on De-Lite.
Released: October 5, 1979
Released: January 13, 1980
Released: April 1980
Kool & The Gang released their twelfth studio album, Celebrate!, on September 29, 1980, on De-Lite.
Released: October 1980
“Take It To the Top”
Released: January 1981
“Jones vs. Jones”
Released: April 1981
Kool & The Gang released their thirteenth studio album, Something Special, on September 24, 1981, on De-Lite.
Released: September 1981
“Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)”
Released: October 1981
“Get Down On It”
Released: November 24, 1981
Kool & The Gang released their fourteenth studio album, As One, on September 7, 1982, on De-Lite.
In the Heart
Kool & The Gang released their fifteenth studio album, In the Heart, on November 21, 1983, on De-Lite.
Released: December 17, 1983
Released: January 1984
Kool & The Gang released their sixteenth studio album, Emergency, on November 15, 1984, on De-Lite.
Released: November 2, 1984
Released: November 24, 1984
Released: August 1985
Kool & The Gang released their seventeenth studio album, Forever, on November 3, 1986, on Mercury.
Released: November 1986
Released: February 1987
Released: May 1987
- Kool and the Gang (1970)
- Live at the Sex Machine (1971)
- Live at P.J.’s (1971)
- Music Is the Message (1972)
- Good Times (1973)
- Wild and Peaceful (1973)
- Light of Worlds (1974)
- Spirit of the Boogie (1975)
- Love & Understanding (1976)
- Open Sesame (1976)
- The Force (1977)
- Everybody’s Dancin’ (1978)
- Ladies’ Night (1979)
- Celebrate! (1980)
- Something Special (1981)
- As One (1982)
- In the Heart (1983)
- Emergency (1984)
- Forever (1986)
- Sweat (1989)
- Discogs: Kool & The Gang
- Funk Albums Directory (page 4)
- 45worlds: Kool & The Gang
- 45cat: Kool & The Gang
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