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Formed by Ronald Bell originally as The Jazziacs - by 1969 they were called Kool and the Gang. Formed their own record label, De-lite. Without a lead singer, they produced funk songs from the late sixties to the early seventies with minimal vocals. This phase included releases like "Kool and the Gang", "Pneumonia", "Kool it", "Dujii", "Who's gonna take the weight" and "Chocolate buttermilk". Changing their funk sounds to glide with the onset of the mid seventies, they recorded songs like "Funky stuff", "Jungle boogie", "Hollywood swinging", "Higher plane" and "Rhyme tyme people"; these allowed them to break into the mainstream US singles charts. As disco began, their music followed with "Spirit of the boogie", "Open sesame" and "Superband". By the time of their Force album of 1977, they were heavily disco-funk styled; listen for "Slick Superchick" and "A place in space". Their last album of this era unfortunately flopped - it contained the full length cut of their "Everybody's dancin'" disco groover. New producer Eumir Deodato ("Whistle bump") and a vocalist, James Taylor, yielded the international smash single and album "Ladies Night" - a true classic. Listen also for the great "Tonight's the night". "Celebration" was even better received than "Ladies Night" and quickly went platinum. Other singles of the early eighties included UK hits "Take it to the top", "Steppin' out" and "Get down on it".

Another Biography

Originally formed as a quartet, the Jazziacs, by Robert 'Kool' Bell (b. 8 October 1950,Youngstown, Ohio, USA; bass), Robert 'Spike' Mickens (b. Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; trumpet), Robert 'The Captain' Bell - later known by his Muslim name Amir Bayyan (b. 1 November 1951, Youngstown, Ohio, USA; saxophone, keyboards) and Dennis 'D.T.' Thomas (b. 9 February 1951, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; saxophone). Based in Jersey City, this aspiring jazz group opened for acts such as Pharaoh Sanders and Leone Thomas. They were later joined by Charles 'Claydes' Smith (b. 6 September 1948, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; guitar) and 'Funky'George Brown (b. 5 January 1949, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; drums), and as the Soul Town Band,moderated their early direction by blending soul and funk, a transition completed by 1969 when they settled on the name Kool And The Gang. The group crossed over into the US pop chart in 1973 and  initiated a run of 19 stateside Top 40 hits on their own De-Lite label starting with 'Funky Stuff', a feat consolidated the following year with a couple of Top 10 hits, 'Jungle Boogie' and 'Hollywood Swinging'. They continued to enjoy success although their popularity momentarily wavered in the latter half of the 70s as the prominence of disco strengthened. In 1979 the Gang added vocalists James 'J.T.' Taylor (b. 16 August 1953, Laurens, South Carolina, USA) and Earl Toon Jnr., with Taylor emerging as the key member in a new era of success for the group, which coincided with their employment of an outside producer. Eumire Deodato refined the qualities already inherent in the group's eclectic style and together they embarked on a series of highly successful international hits including 'Ladies Night' (1979), 'Too Hot' (1980) and the bubbling 'Celebration', a 1980 platinum disc and US pop number 1 - later used by the media as the home-coming theme for the returning American hostages from Iran. Outside the USA they achieved parallel success and proved similarly popular in the  UK where 'Get Down On It' (1981), 'Joanna' (1984) and 'Cherish' (1985) each reached the Top 5. The arrival of Taylor also saw the group's albums achieving Top 30 status in their homeland for the first time, with Celebrate! reaching the Top 10 in 1980. Their longevity was due, in part, to a settled line-up. The original six members remained with the group into the 80s and although newcomer Toon left, Taylor blossomed into an ideal frontman. This core was later supplemented by several auxiliaries, Clifford Adams (trombone) and Michael Ray (trumpet). This idyllic situation was finally undermined by Taylor's departure in 1988 and he was replaced by three singers, rmer Dazz Band member Skip Martin plus Odeen Mays and Gary Brown. Taylor released a solo album in 1989, Sister Rosa, while the same year the group continued recording with the albumSweat.

Essential "DISCO" Discography

 Kool and the Gang (LP, 1969)
 Live at the sex machine (LP, 1971)
 Live at PJ's (LP, 1971)
 Music is the message (LP, 1972)
 Good times (De-lite LP, 1973)
 Wild and peaceful (De-lite LP, 1973)
 Light of the worlds (De-lite LP, 1974)
 Spirit of the boogie (De-lite LP, 1975)
 Love and understanding (De-lite LP, 1976)
 Open sesame (De-lite LP, 1976)
 The force (De-lite LP, 1977)
 Everybody's dancin' (De-lite LP, 1978)
 Ladies night (De-lite LP, 1979)
 Celebrate! (De-lite LP, 1980)
 Something special (De-lite LP, 1981)
 As one (De-lite LP, 1982)

 Hollywood swinging (De-lite, 1973)
 Higher plane (De-lite, 1974)
 Rhyme tyme people (De-lite, 1974)
 Spirit of the boogie (De-lite, 1975)
 Open sesame (De-lite, 1976)
 Superband (De-lite, 1976)
 Everybody's dancin' (De-lite, 1978)
 Ladies night (De-lite, 1979)
 Too hot (De-lite, 1979)
 Hangin' out (De-lite, 1979)
 Celebration (De-lite, 1980)
 Take it to the top (De-lite, 1980)
 Steppin' out (De-lite, 1981)
 Get down on it (De-lite, 1981)
 Take my heart (De-lite, 1981)