It’s Friday Jan 3rd 2020 & the music of Kool & The Gang is featured on The Old School Rewind..
Kool & the Gang is an American band formed in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1964 by brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell, with Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. They have undergone numerous changes in personnel and have explored many musical styles throughout their history, including jazz, soul, funk, rock, and pop music. After settling on their name following several changes, the group signed to De-Lite Records and released their debut album, Kool and the Gang (1970).
The band’s first taste of success came with their fourth album Wild and Peaceful (1973), which contained the US top-ten singles “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging”. Kool & the Gang subsequently entered a period of decline before they reached a second commercial peak between 1979 and 1986 following their partnership with Brazilian musician/producer Eumir Deodato and the addition of singer James “J.T.” Taylor to the line-up. Their most successful albums of this period include Ladies’ Night (1979), Celebrate! (1980), and Emergency (1984), their highest selling album with two million copies sold in the US, and the hit singles “Ladies’ Night”, the US number one “Celebration”, “Get Down on It”, “Joanna”, and “Cherish”. The band continues to perform worldwide, including as support for Van Halen in 2012 and their fiftieth-anniversary tour in 2014.
Kool & the Gang have won numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and, in 2006, a Music Business Association Chairman’s Award for artistic achievement. In 2018, the Bells, Brown, and Taylor were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Their discography includes 23 studio albums and almost 70 singles. They have sold 7.5 million and 4.5 million RIAA-certified albums and singles, respectively, in the US. Worldwide, they have sold 70 million albums.
in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1964 seven school friends decided to perform together as an instrumental jazz and soul group named the Jazziacs.
Among them were Robert “Kool” Bell on bass, his brother Ronald Bell on keyboards, Robert “Spike” Mickens on trumpet, Dennis “D.T.” Thomas on saxophone, Ricky West on keyboards, George Brown on drums, and Charles Smith on guitar.
All of them, except Smith, attended Lincoln High School in Jersey City. Robert Bell had given himself the nickname “Kool” as a way of adapting to the street gangs in his neighborhood after moving from Ohio and took the name of someone named Cool, replacing his with a “K”.
The Bells’ father Bobby and uncle Tommy were boxers.
They moved to New York to train and lived in the same apartment building as Thelonious Monk, who became Robert’s godfather. Miles Davis would drop by because he wanted to be a boxer.
Their first gigs took place as the opening act to a weekly jazz night held in a local theatre They also played occasionally with McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, and Leon Thomas during their early period. The group then underwent several name changes, including The Soul Town Band and The New Dimensions,
during which they would play Motown covers as the backing musicians for Soul Town, a small Jersey City-based organization similar to Motown.
In 1967, they decided to perform as their own identity and became regulars at the Blue Note Lounge in Jersey; one of the MC’s advertised them with a new name, Kool & the Flames. However, their manager Gene Redd advised against it to avoid confusion with James Brown’s band, The Famous Flames, leading to a further change to Kool & the Gang, in 1969.
After securing their new name and line-up, Kool & the Gang secured a recording deal with Redd’s new independent label, De-Lite Records.
Gene Redd wrote: “I discovered these eight supertalented incomparable young musicians I immediately realized that their potential would earn them success unknown by most musicians”.
The group entered the studio and recorded their debut album, the all-instrumental Kool and the Gang (1970), with Redd as a producer, arranger, conductor, and partial songwriter.
It is their only album with guitarist Woody Sparrow who completed a temporary eight-man formation. The album peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard R&B chart. Around this time, the group began to develop their stage performance after they witnessed a set by Willie Feaster and the Mighty Magnificents which, according to Robert Bell, “Blew us away We thought, ‘Wow, if we want to be in show business, we have to change our act. We can’t just stand up there and play’.
Kool and the gang followed their debut with two live albums: Live at the Sex Machine, recorded the year before, and Live at PJ’s, both released in 1971.
They returned to the studio in 1972 to record Music Is the Message, released in July of that year, it reached No. 25 on the R&B chart.
It was quickly followed by Good Times in November, which features the band backed by a string section. The elements of jazz, rock, and instrumental styles on the record made it difficult for reviewers to label them as one specific genre.
Kool & the Gang had their first commercial success with their fourth studio album Wild and Peaceful, which gave the band three more hits:
- “Funky Stuff” which has been sampled 79 times in hip hop so far.. there is a list of these 79 samples on the webpage oldschoolrewind.com https://www.whosampled.com/Kool-%26-the-Gang/Funky-Stuff/sampled/. Find the link in the text area of this podcast (clip nwa). ((Talk about the beginnning of NWA from appetite for destruction just a snip used but such genius samples applied. )) all the great breaks that have been used in pop rap and r and b. So influential. We’re just getting started
(Play funky stuff entirely)
Kool and the gang on the old school rewind. We’re way back in 1973
The single “Jungle Boogie” from the 1973 album Wild and Peaceful is up.
It reached number four as a single and became very popular in nightclubs.
Billboard ranked it as the number 12 song for 1974, despite there being as many as 36 #1 singles that year.
The song’s spoken main vocal was performed by the band’s roadie Don Boyce.
There’s and instrumental version of this joint, with an overdubbed flute part and additional percussion instruments titled “Jungle Jazz” find it on their album “Spirit of the Boogie.
The song is noted for the Tarzan yell heard at the song’s end and the grunting, panting and scatting heard throughout.
samples are used in EPMD’s 1988 album Strictly Business,
The Beastie Boys’ 1989 release “Hey Ladies”,
Madonna’s 1992 top ten success “Erotica”,
TLC’s 1991 hit “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”,
Too name a few of the 151 times jungle boogie has been sampled
And M/A/R/R/S’ “Pump Up the Volume” in 1987.
same thing, a link here in the text at oldschoolrewind.com
The song was also featured in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film, Pulp Fiction.
And fun fact. It is played at Cincinnati Bengals home games because Paul Brown Stadium is often referred to as “The Jungle”.
((Play Jungle Boogie))
The third single from this album was jungle jazz I checked who sampled.com for it due to the popularity of the samples and found out its been used 61 times. Most noted right off of the first hear I hear Jade Don’t Walk Away from the nineties listen to this. The difference is the flutes and the instrumental nature of jungle boogie almost the same.. (clip jungle jazz)
We are up to 1974 “Hollywood Swinging” “Hollywood Swinging” is from the album Wild and Peaceful. It was written by Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George M. Brown, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Claydes Charles Smith, Dennis R. Thomas and Rick A. Westfield.
“Hollywood Swinging” was the group’s first number one R&B single, reaching that position in June 1974. The single was a successful crossover hit, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart as well
In a 2015 interview Nile Rodgers stated that his group Chic’s 1979 song “Good Times” was partly inspired by the song “Hollywood Swinging”. Nile Rodgers also is the cousin of Robert Mickens.
((Play Hollywood swinging))
Next up on this weeks old school rewind is “Summer Madness” an instrumental tune that was released in 1974 by Kool & the Gang on their album Light of Worlds. It reached number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 36 on the Hot Soul Singles charts. It has subsequently become one of the most sampled R&B compositions of all time. As of 2020 Jan 3, over 211 recordings had sampled summer madness. It is a transporting experience, check The Who sampled website or the link in the text of the website https://www.whosampled.com/Kool-%26-the-Gang/summer-madness/sampled/
((Play “Summer Madness” ))
We’re exploring Kool and the gang a very culture rich band intertwined in music of all genres via sample and all of these 70’s tax are all the same in that fact next up open sesame part 1, Open Sesame is the eighth studio album by Kool & the Gang, released in 1976. The album yielded the hit title track, “Open Sesame”, which achieved some success, first as a top ten R&B single, then later as part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
((PLAY “Open Sesame – Part 1”))
Im Aaron Goodwin thank you for picking my podcast to listen to on the big ass inter web thingy my old school podcast the OSR is a work of art and labor that I put together every week, we are honoring Kool And The Gang for being who they are and what they’ve delivered to our old school format at the time was not old school naturally but wow for kool and the gang and all of the time standing art they put out is remarkable… like
1979’s Hit Title Track “Ladies’ Night”.
The song is a play on the popular use of “Ladies Nights” at bars and clubs that were meant to draw in more female patrons in order to draw in even more male clientele.
The song as a single was a success, and became a radio staple. It was also a chart success, peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980 and stayed atop the R&B charts for two weeks. It also gave them their first hit in the United Kingdom in August 1979, peaking at number 9 in the UK Singles Chart. The album brought a return to the mainstream after a lull in success from 1976-1978. In addition all the cuts from the album reached number five on the disco chart.
Ladies’ Night was the album where Kool & the Gang perfected their funky style and made it more mainstream by incorporating some pop and light R&B into the sound. The result was that this album was not only popular during the 1970s black-oriented funk era where the band started, but also during the more popular and diverse disco era. Ladies’ Night became their first Platinum album. It also marked the debut of lead vocalist James “J.T.” Taylor. That’s the magical voice you’re familiar with as the smoothness of this great funk band..
(Play Ladies Night))
Side B track 3 of the ladies night album was a song titled too hot and this is like for me the 6th grade. The Black Music was starting to feed the small white hispanic area I am from in Central California from radio station KSTN. We could dance at lunch time on Fridays. The teacher mr brogan allowed me to bring records from home and I would start on the 45’s and skate to school that’s a whole other ‘nother story
((Play Too HOT))
Hello 1980 from the old school rewind the new kool and the gang album is titled Celebrate! Its the twelfth studio album . Released on October 29, 1980, the album reached #1 on the US R&B chart and #10 on the Billboard 200. The album produced perhaps Kool & the Gang’s most recognizable hit song, the #1 chart-topper, “Celebration”, which still receives heavy play today over three decades later. THE ONLY hit from the Celebrate! album
“Get Down on It” is a 1981 track from their Something Special album in 1981. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA.
The song hit the top 10 of the US Pop and R&B charts in Billboard in early 1982. It entered the UK charts in December 1981 and reached number three, their highest-charting hit in the UK at that time. It spent a total of 12 weeks on the British play list. Ten years later, it was re-released in the UK charts – on the Mercury label – but only charted for a week (at number 69).
Nelly’s “Ride wit Me”, though it does not strictly sample “Get Down on It”, does use an identical chord progression to the Kool & The Gang selection, especially in the refrain.
Get down on it has Appearances in other media
The song was used in the film The Nice Guys (2016)
Also ‘’The Firm ’’ (2009)
((Play “Get Down on It”))
Remember this one from Kool and the gang on the podcast for old school. The old school rewind. 1982 brought us this song
((Play. “Let’s Go Dancin’ (Ooh La, La, La)” ))
This is Aaron Goodwin on the old school rewind podcast featuring the most popular works from the our era 82-89 prior sometimes. But I try not to get into the 90’s and new jack we’ll save that for another podcast “Joanna” is a song by Kool & the Gang from their 1983 album, In the Heart. Released as a single on December 17, 1983, the song was an immediate hit peaking at #2 in the US for one week, behind “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. Additionally, the track reached #2 in the UK as well as #1 on the US R&B chart.
Joanna is A romantic ballad similar to many of Kool & The Gang’s later releases, the song features as its main subject the eponymous girl named “Joanna”. In the group’s music video, “Joanna” is portrayed as the current owner of a small, roadside café named “Joanna’s Diner” (Filmed at the Colonial Diner in Lyndhurst, N.J. The Colonial sign can be seen briefly outside in the opening seconds of the video). Throughout the video, she serves the band members as both cook and waitress as they serenade her with the video occasionally flashing back to her younger days as a dancer at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club in New York City and in love with the character portrayed by the group’s lead singer, James “J.T.” Taylor.
((PLAY “Joanna” ))
“Fresh” is next from Kool & the Gang. Released as a single in 1984 from the album Emergency, the song peaked at #11 on the UK chart, #9 on the U.S. Hot 100 charts, and was number one on both the U.S. R&B and dance charts. The song introduced a new meaning to the word “fresh”, meaning “good”
((PLAY “Fresh” ))
PLAY CLIP of “Misled”. CLIP
(outro misled clip). And in 1985 the big one hit “Cherish”
“Cherish” was the third single released from the band’s album, in 1985 Emergency. It was certified Gold by the RIAA and held the number 1 position on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart for six weeks running. It would ultimately rank as the biggest Adult Contemporary chart hit of the 1980s.
The song is a romantic ballad that proved to be extremely popular when it was released and has since been a wedding song staple of sorts. “Cherish” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 1985, remaining in the runner-up position for three weeks, behind “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits. It was a number-one hit on both the R&B and adult contemporary charts in the US, spending one week atop the R&B chart and six weeks atop the AC chart.
Stone Love” is a 1987 song written and performed by Kool & the Gang, issued as the second single from the band’s 1986 album Forever. The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1987, becoming the band’s final Top 10 single, and also their final top 40 to date.
One of the first songs I played by kool and the gang back in these days when I first got into radio was this song it was the beginning sound of crossover black to white radio stations music and kool and the gang opened the gate with this singe have a great weekend and welcome to 2020
((PLAY “Stone Love”))