Kool & the Gang have 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, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums. Kool & the Gang has performed continuously for the past 43 years, longer than any R&B group in history. Their bulletproof funk and 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, the band 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 & the Gang.
Today, the group enjoys global fame and recognition and a following that spans generations due in part to the groups widely sampled catalogue. Kool & the Gang’s drum beats, bass, guitar and signature horn lines lace the tracks of numerous artists including the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill, and P. Diddy. Kool & the Gang is the most sampled band in hip-hop by far. Their music is also featured on the soundtracks for Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction, Wreck-It Ralph and countless others. Kool & the Gang has continued to tour the world appearing with artists such as Kid Rock, Dave Matthews Band, Elton John, The Roots and a 50-city tour with Van Halen.
In October 2015, in the town they sing about in one of their earliest hits ”Hollywood Swinging” Kool & the Gang was honored to take their place as American musical icons with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame and was honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement award.