Kool & the Gang

Kool & the Gang
Frederic J. Brown / AFP Photo


Music: North side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
R & B Group
Formed 1964

Kool & the Gang are one of the most recognizable acts in American funk and R&B. Over their four decades as an act, they helped define the popular center between American rhythm music, soul and contemporary electronic sounds, and wrote some of the genre's most indelible hits.

Robert Bell founded the combo as a young teenager in 1964 in Jersey City, N.J.. The group first appeared on the Billboard R&B charts with a self-titled debut in 1970. In 1973, the group's "Wild & Peaceful" yielded three singles — "Jungle Boogie," "Funky Stuff" and "Hollywood Swinging" — that would break through to pop radio and mainstream America.

Kool & the Gang's 1974 and 1975 albums "Light of Worlds" and "Spirit of the Boogie" are widely considered their best full-length LP's, but the group had a unexpected late-career push after being included on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack and releasing 1980's "Celebration," one of disco-pop's most ubiquitous singles and perhaps the band's best-known tune. In the hip-hop era, the band has been widely sampled by acts including DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Snoop Dogg, Nas and N.W.A.

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