Tuesday, November 10, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kool & The Gang

Artist:Kool & The Gang
Song:Funky Stuff

Before their mainstream success of the 80s with hits like Celebration, Kool & The Gang had years of success as a more straight ahead funk band. Funky Stuff was their first pop hit in 1974. The band was always the same with much of the same personnel. The big difference in the 80s was the addition of smooth soul singer James "J.T." Taylor. Kool & The Gang are from Jersey City, NJ. As teens, bassist Robert Bell and his sax player brother Robert Bell started The Jazziacs in 1964. Their father was a pro boxer and a huge jazz fan. He was good friends with Thelonious Monk. Other members were Clifford Adams on trombone, Robert "Spike" Michens on trumpet, Dennis Thomas on alto sax, Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow on guitar, Ricky West on keyboards and George Brown on drums. For the most part, the band is still the same today. The name Kool & The Gang came due to a mixup at a club. They started out wanting to be a jazz band. They were boxers and a lot of the jazz musicians, especially Miles Davis, were boxers too. But they decided to go for a funk sound with jazz overtones when they signed with De-Lite Records in 1970. They had success mostly on the R & B charts with their first few albums. But their first big single was Funky Stuff in 1973 from the album Wild and Peaceful. Funky stuff reached #5 on the R & B Singles chart and #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Gold. They had similar success with hits like Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging which were both top ten pop hits. But with the mid-70s onslaught of disco, Kool & The Gang were fading and the turning point was when they hired Taylor as their new lead singer in 1979. And that led to mainstream success in the 80s. I know a lot of funk fans prefer the early Kool & The Gang and so do I. But change was necessary for them to survive. This 2CD comp covers Kool & The Gang's entire career. After Taylor left Kool & The Gang in 1988, they weren't the same. But they're still around. A couple of the guys have died but most of the band still tours. And they released a Christmas CD in 2013. Here's Kool & The Gang performing Funky Stuff on Soul Train 1974.

1 comment:

  1. Jungle Boogie was always a guilty pleasure of mine and a favorite. I never knew much about them, thank-you for the Bio and information Frank. I am not surprised at their Jazz roots. I will sometime have to check out their early music that was Funk.