Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang
Rhythm and blues/pop band
“In this business, you’re always proving yourself,” said James “J. T.” Taylor, former lead singer of Kool & the Gang in a 1984 interview with Musician. “That’s why we try not to say we ever made it,” he continued, “because you never made nothin’. You can accomplish things to a certain point, but what have you ever made?” In 25 years of recording, the ten-member funk/pop amalgamation has made 34 separate albums that have sold over 40 million copies; won a Grammy award and four American Music awards for Best Soul Group; and released a string of platinum releases. Part of their success is perhaps their continued struggle to prove themselves as some of the top musicians in the fickle trends of American popular music.
According to Rolling Stone’s Christopher Connelly, “In two decades, Kool & the Gang have run the gamut of black music styles, from hard-edged, James-Brownlike funk to disco to brown-eyed pop.” Starting in the early 1970s with their smash singles “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging,” and later with disco hits “Emergency” and “Ladies’ Night,” Kool & the Gang
Original members include Clifford Adams, trombone; Robert “Kool” Bell (born in 1950), bass; Ronald Bell, keyboards; George Brown, drums; Robert Mikens, trumpet; Charles Smith, guitar; and Dennis “D. T.” Thomas, alto sax. Later members include Robert “Robbie G” Gobel (played on 1994 release, Unite ); Gerard Harris (played on 1994 release, Unite), guitar; Sennie “Skip” Martin (joined band 1988), lead vocals, trumpet; Odeen Mays, Jr. (joined band 1988), lead vocals, keyboards; Shawn McQuillar (played on 1994 release, Unite), lead vocals, guitar; James “J. T.” Taylor (joined band 1977), lead vocals.
Band formed as the Jazziacs, 1964; changed name to Soul Machine review, 1967, and to Kool & the Gang, 1969; released over 25 albums, 1969-94. Debut LP Kool & the Gang released on De-Lite, 1970; released Ladies’ Night with lead singer J. T. Taylor, 1979, and Celebrate, 1980; single “Celebration” was played at the 1980 Superbowl and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Awards: Received double platinum album for Emergency; platinum albums for Ladies’ Night, Celebrate, Something Special, and In the Heart; platinum singles for “Ladies Night,” “Too Hot,” “Let’s Go Dancin’,” “Fresh,” “Emergency,” and “Cherish”; gold albums for Wild and Peaceful, Light of the Worlds, As One, and Forever; gold singles for “Funky Stuff,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Hollywood Swingin’,” “Too Hot,” “Take My Heart,” “Big Fun,” “Joanna,” “Tonight,” and “Victory”; Grammy Award for “Open Sesame” from Saturday Night Fever; American Music awards for best soul group, 1981, 1983, 1984, and 1987; Tokyo Music Festival award, 1987, for “Cherish.”
Addresses: Management —Bowen Agency Ltd., 504 W. 168th St., New York, NY 10032. Record company —JRS Records, 7758 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90046.
established themselves as chart-topping R&B artists. The band’s attention to popular music trends has transformed their original horn-driven (two saxophones, two trumpets, and a trombone) dance music through periods of late-1960s “street funk,” to 1970s disco, to 1980s pop and synthesized sound.
In 1980 Kool & the Gang’s single “Celebration” captured the nation’s mood of victory with the increasing prosperity at the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the return of hostages taken from the American embassy in Tehran, Iran, and held for over a year by radical Moslems in the country. The song was often played over sound systems in packed stadiums, whether for sporting events or their own sold-out concerts. Mark Rowland of Musician described Kool & the Gang’s concert style as having the “choreographed kineticism of a Busby Berkely movie,” containing in its breadth “a series of syncopated gymnastics enough to boggle the Temptations.” In one concert, J. T. Taylor performed onstage in a raincoat amid the background rumble of simulated thunder.
The thunder, however, may have foreshadowed the group’s need to prove themselves as changeable yet again in the fairweather popular music scene. Although Steve Sutherland of Melody Maker once described Kool & the Gang as “damned canny when it comes to translating ‘the sayings of the street’ into cold, hard cash,” reviews of their 1988 release, Everything Is Kool & the Gang, were not favorable. Musician, which four years earlier lauded the group as a basically unshakable funk institution, described the album as rife with “drab discofield remakes that suck all the funk from the likes of ‘Jungle Boogie’ and ‘Hollywood Swinging.’”
In 1964 Robert Bell, his brother Ronald, and five high school friends formed the instrumental band called the Jazziacs. Their father was a boxer on the upper west side of New York City and ran a gym below the flat of jazz great Thelonius Monk, who became Robert Bell’s godfather. Miles Davis, another jazz star who used to work out between gigs, also frequented the gym daily and was friends with Bell’s father. Robert adopted the nickname “Kool” (for his mild or “cool” temperament) and was only 14 when he picked up the bass and began leading the Jazziacs at scattered gigs in New Jersey lounges.
Along with the Bell brothers, the band still includes original members Robert Mickens (trumpet), Dennis “D. T.” Thomas (alto saxophone), Charles Smith (guitar), Clifford Adams (trombone), and George Brown (drums). Together they began covering contemporary pop and motown, collaborating occasionally with jazz musicians McCoy Tyner, Leon Thomas, and Pharoah Sanders.
In 1967 the Jazziacs changed their name to the Soul Machine Review, and when they finally signed with Red Coach records in 1969, they changed it again to Kool & the Gang, modifying their originals to combine “street funk,” R&B, and pop. According to Connelly, “Kool’s bass lines suggested the melodic contours of a song, while horns provided contrapuntal fills, and solos were sculpted around more traditional jazz harmonies.” He concluded that “the result was a kind of easy-listening funk,” sophisticated for pop, but “propulsive enough to shimmy to.” Their early hits, “Let the Music Take Your Mind,” “Funky Man,” and “Love the Life You Live,” made them a street-music sensation, the kings of sweaty dance parties.
Red Coach released Kool & the Gang’s first album, Kool & the Gang, on the De-Lite label in 1970, but the group didn’t reach critical and popular success until the 1973 release of Wild and Peaceful, which contained the smash gold singles, “Funky Stuff,” “Jungle Boogie,” and “Hollywood Swingin’.” According to Vernon Gibbs of the Village Voice, the Gang’s following albums detailed the group’s “spiritual phase,” driven by some members’ growing Muslim convictions and the climate of the country in the mid-1970s.
Although 1974’s “Light of the Worlds” achieved gold status, Kool & the Gang’s popularity was soon squelched by the country’s increasing disco fever. “Ironically,” wrote Gibbs, “it was the inclusion of ‘Open Sesame’ on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (it had already been a black hit) that gave them another glimpse of life at the top and prompted drastic changes that were long overdue.”
By 1977 Kool & the Gang had reached a self-described “career crossroads,” finding themselves to be too progressive for disco and too sugary for funk. “We thought that musically we were there,” Kool told Rolling Stone, “but we just didn’t have the vocals that the Commodores had with Lionel Richie and that Earth Wind and Fire had with Maurice White and Philip Bailey.”
The change that the group needed was J. T. Taylor, a schoolteacher and amateur nightclub singer from New Jersey (not to be confused with the folksinger from Martha’s Vineyard). Like most of the members of Kool & the Gang, Taylor’s familiarity with “the sayings of the street” came from personal experience. “I have eight sisters and two brothers, and when I came here I found that Kool and his brother grew up in a similar situation,” Taylor told Musician in 1984. “We have a lot in common—poverty, hard times growing up and all.”
Taylor was also no stranger to Kool & the Gang’s music. In fact, when he was 13 years old, he and his friends started their own band called Kool & the Gang, modeled after the original.
Taylor’s drummer named himself “George” after George Brown, and his bass player named himself “Kool.” They even made up T-shirts with the original bandmember’s names on the back. The only name that was missing was James Taylor’s; at the time, Taylor was essentially trying himself out as the absent lead singer in all of the Kool & the Gang songs.
Taylor’s high school imitations gave way to reality when the Gang was actually looking for a lead singer; he was already a perfect fit. Taylor later told Musician that when he returned to his old neighborhood to visit, one of his old bandmates called out across the street, “Remember those T-shirts? Now you’re with the real guys! ” With Taylor on board, the band hit the streets to do some research. They drove around the city and hung out at various clubs and functions. The material that they gathered later became their first platinum album, Ladies’ Night, which was released in 1979.
“It was like starting all over again,” Kool told Musician. “We had to tour all the time. New bands like GQ and Instant Funk were getting platinum albums. We had to wonder what they were doing since our music had been danceable since 1969.” In a sense, Ladies’Night was a comment on the very club scene that the band was trying to break into; in their tours around the city, they found that every Wednesday night was consistently “Ladies’ Night” at clubs and discos. “We were trying to capture what was going on,” Kool told Melody Maker. “Our music became an extension of people’s experience.” Taylor’s melodic voice gave the album instant popularity, the singles “Too Hot” and “Ladies’ Night” reaching gold and platinum status.
“We’d always been about change,” Kool told Melody Maker, citing the band’s traverse of musical genres over the decades. “It’s the result of a [continued] growth pattern.” Yet Kool & the Gang were criticized for this move out of instrumental-based music into pop conformity with the addition of a front man; it was seen by some fans as an abandonment of their black cultural roots and urban street-sound. D. T. Thomas told Billboard magazine in a 1988 interview that during this period, the Gang didn’t think of their audience in terms of color. “It’s true that our material … has been very heavily crossover. We were doing that purposely, but it was never with the intention of leaving our black base.”
Besides the inclusion of a new lead singer, the group’s change to a pop sound was enhanced by producer Eumir Deodato, who, starting with Ladies’ Night, produced the group’s next four platinum and gold albums, between 1979 and 1982. He made room for Taylor’s sweet crooning voice by simplifying the production, moving the keyboards up front, switching the vocal chorus into backup sound, and softening the hardedged funk horns. The result, according to Gibbs, was that Kool & the Gang sounded “more like a new band in their first great surge than veterans who have seen it all.”
With the help of Deodato, the group’s next album, Celebrate, became one of the biggest hits of their career, the hit single, “Celebration” carving its own niche as a national theme song for the release of the hostages in Iran, as well as scoring the Macy’s Thanks giving Day Parade and the Superbowl. “Celebrate is the kind of album that is hard to repeat,” Kool told Melody Maker. “It happened, the timing was right, the conditions in the world were conducive to what was going on in the song.” The lyrics of the title track also seemed to epitomize the group’s spiritual values at the time. “Our music is very celebrative,” Kool continued in the Melody Maker interview. “Life is very celebrative. When you wake up in the morning and the sun is shining, you’re thankful that you woke up and that the creator blessed you to live again.”
In 1981 Kool & the Gang released the platinum-selling album Something Special, which included the gold hitsingle “Take My Heart.” On a concert tour for the album, the group sold out four shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York, signaling their massive national popularity. Gibbs called Something Special “unquestionably the most accomplished album of their career … every bit as brilliant as the singles ‘Ladies’ Night’ and ‘Celebration.’”
Although As One, the fourth Deodato-produced album, reached gold in the United States and outsold all of their other albums in Africa and Europe, Kool & the Gang separated amicably from their producer in 1983 and decided to create their own recordings in-house. “After four albums we wanted to make a change and give ourselves a shot at it,” Kool told Nelson George of Billboard magazine. The 1983 album In the Heart credits Ronald Bell, Kool & the Gang, and engineer Jim Bonneford for production, but in all following albums, Ronald Bell became the group’s secret production weapon. “We try to stay open to everything, but we don’t worry about it ’cause I think basically Kool & the Gang’s sound is established,” Taylor told Rolling Stone.
From the mid-1980s until the early 1990s Ronald Bell kept the sound established, however unconventionally; rock guitars began to replace horns, and their sound was transformed under the power of digital technology. Bell called his production set-up the IBMC, or Itty Bitty MIDI Committee, using MIDI computer synthesizers and mixers. In a 1986 Musician article, Jock Baird called the more reclusive Bell brother “a funky jazz mad scientist, Coltrane meets Mr. Wizard, Soul-Train meets micro-chip.”
In the 1980s Bell produced the double-platinum Emergency and the gold Forever, on which he played almost all the instruments. “The Itty Bitty MIDI Committee is basically translating musical ideas into computer language, and bringing it out to sound like what they’re really meant to be, instead of sounding like stiff, synthetic computer music,” Bell told Musician. Through this process, tapes of Kool & the Gang’s musicians were taken and translated into MIDI sequencers, and copied and layered, eliminating the need for studio time.
For a band that for over 20 years had experienced as much musical genre change as a band probably could and still stay together, the move to in-house production was just another marker of growth. On the In the Heart album, Ronald said that the rest of the band, “wouldn’t even let us put a drum machine on because they were against it at that time. It was new to them.… But now they understand technology.” The change to in-house production also helped the members increase their outside production; Taylor produced a rap record, and Ronald Bell produced work by Latoya Jackson and Jimmy Cliff.
The biggest change of the 1980s, however, came with the departure of lead singer Taylor. The vocalist, who left in 1988, reportedly departed amicably with plans to make a solo album. “What happened was that he actually had had some physical problems with his voice last year and he was convalescing. We all felt it was a good time to re-evaluate our status together,” D. T. Thomas told Billboard in 1988. The Gang replaced Taylor with singers/instrumentalists Gary Brown, Odeen Mays, and Skip Martin.
From 1988 until 1994 Kool & the Gang released five more albums, and continued to tour Europe, the United States, and Africa, proving once again the band’s tenacity and ability to bounce back in the face of change and the diverse taste of their fans. Even the departed Taylor acknowledged this truth, and in an interview with Melody Maker, he summed up the group’s credo best by saying, “If you look at our stories, they’re very social.… We just write about everyday experiences.… That’s our main objective; that’s what we’re here to do.”
On JRS Records
Kool & the Gang, 1970.
Kool & the Gang Live at the Sex Machine, 1971.
The Beat of Kool & the Gang Featuring the Penguin, 1971.
Kool & the Gang Live at P.J.’s Hollywood, 1972.
Music Is the Message, 1972.
Good Times, 1973.
Wild and Peaceful (includes “Funky Stuff,” “Jungle Boogie,” and “Hollywood Swinging”), 1973.
Kool Jazz, 1974.
Light of the Worlds, 1975.
Greatest Hits, 1975.
Spirit of the Boogie, 1975.
Love and Understanding, 1976.
Open Sesame, 1976.
Hollywood Swinging/Summer Madness/A Kool & the Gang Anthology, 1977.
Jungle Boogie/Funky Stuff/Kool & the Gang Anthology, 1977.
The Force, 1977.
Kool & the Gang Spin Their Top Hits, 1978.
Everybody’s Dancin’, 1978.
Ladies’ Night (includes “Too Hot”), 1979.
Celebrate (includes “Celebration”), 1980.
Something Special (includes “Take My Heart”), 1981.
As One (includes “Big Fun” and “Let’s Go Dancin”’), 1982.
In the Heart (includes “Fresh” and “Joanna”), 1983.
Kool & the Gang at Their Best, 1984.
Twice as Kool, 1984.
The Very Best of Kool & the Gang: Let’s Go Dancing, 1984.
Emergency (includes “Cherish”), 1984.
Best of Kool & the Gang, 1985.
Everything’s Kool & the Gang’s Greatest Hits and More, 1988.
The Singles Collection, 1989.
Kool & the Gang Great & Remixed ‘91 (released in the United Kingdom and Europe), 1991.
Contributed single “Open Sesame” to Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, 1976.
Billboard, February 13, 1982; December 17, 1983; August 10, 1985; December 6, 1986; November 5, 1988; January 13, 1990.
Entertainment Weekly, May, 28, 1993.
Melody Maker, February 6, 1982; January 1, 1985; January 3, 1987.
Musician, September, 1986; December 1986; October 1998.
Rolling Stone, March 15, 1984.
Variety, August 1, 1984.
Village Voice, March 23, 1982, May 29, 1984.
Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang were one of the most successful R&B and pop groups of the 1980s, placing more singles in the pop top ten during the first half of that decade than any other group. They experienced moderate success during the funk years of the early and middle 1970s as well, appearing regularly on R&B charts and impressing live audiences with their showmanship and instrumental skills developed during the group's early years as a jazz ensemble. Kool & the Gang remain known above all for a single song: "Celebration" (1980) is as close to a universal wedding reception standard as exists in American music, and it is often played at parties and dances for audiences not even born when the song was recorded.
Kool & the Gang came together in 1964 as the Jazziacs in Jersey City, New Jersey. At the center of the group were two brothers, Robert and Ronald Bell, born in 1950 and 1951, respectively, in Youngstown, Ohio. Their father, a champion featherweight boxer, had also dabbled in jazz and was a friend of pianist Thelonious Monk. When the family fell into dire poverty due to steel mill closures in Youngstown, their mother, Mabel, sent President John F. Kennedy a letter containing a picture Ronald Bell had drawn of their falling-down home, and Kennedy read the letter on national television. Robert Bell was a bassist, and Ronald played tenor saxophone. The other members of the Jazziacs were trumpeter Robert "Spike" Mickens (born in Jersey City in 1951), saxophonist and flutist Dennis "Dee Dee" Thomas (born in Orlando, Florida in 1951), lead guitarist Claydes Smith (born in Jersey City on September 6, 1948), keyboardist Ricky Westfield, and percussionist George "Funky" Brown (born in Jersey City on January 5, 1949).
Performed in Jazz Coffeehouses
Members of the group had known each other and played in various bands as high school students in Jersey City. Several were influenced by hearing jazz in their parents' record collections or by becoming aware of the growing jazz club and coffeehouse scene in nearby New York City. Several future Kool & the Gang members, including both Bell brothers, formed a group called the Five Sounds Jr. (to distinguish it from another local Five Sounds) and landed jazz gigs at a coffeehouse at Jersey City's St. John's Church, and then, in early 1964, at the Café Wha? in New York's Greenwich Village. There they performed with ahost of other then-unknown African-American talents, including Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, and folksinger Richie Havens. They changed their name to the Jazz Birds and then to the Jazziacs. Robert Bell, who had been involved with a street gang, decided he needed a more jazz-oriented nickname. He selected "Kool," spelling it with a K because so many other young people at the time had names beginning with "Cool."
The Jazziacs evolved to the Soul Town Band as musical fashions shifted away from jazz, and then, in 1968, to Kool & the Flames. They were signed to the Redd Coach label, and the following year they began to record for the associated small De Lite label in New York, taking the name Kool & the Gang to avoid confusion with James Brown's band the Famous Flames. With shows featuring costumes and choreography, they made an impact from the start, and two singles from their debut Kool & the Gang album reached Billboard's national rhythm-and-blues sales chart.
Kool & the Gang issued a live album as their sophomore release—an unconventional decision, but one that worked well for a band known for its live performances. The singles "Funky Man," "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?," and "I Want to Take You Higher" became hits, and Kool & the Gang launched an international tour in 1972. Ronald Bell was given a Koran in Germany, and both Bell brothers became members of a Nation of Islam temple in Jersey City and took Islamic names. Ronald Bell from that point on often used the name Khalis Bayyan.
For the Record …
Members include: Robert "Kool" Bell, bass; Ronald Bell, saxophone; George "Funky" Brown, percussion; Robert "Spike" Mickens, trumpet; Claydes (Charles) Smith, lead guitar; James "J.T." Taylor, vocals (joined group, 1978); Dennis "Dee Dee" Thomas, saxophone, flute; Ricky Westfield, keyboards (left group, 1976).
Formed in Jersey City, NJ, as Jazziacs, 1964; performed at Café Wha?, Greenwich Village, New York City; changed name to Soul Town Band, Kool & the Flames, and Kool & the Gang; made debut album, Kool & the Gang, for De Lite label, 1969; recorded Good Times, 1972, and Wild & Peaceful, 1973; released album Open Sesame, with title track included in film Saturday Night Fever, 1976; added vocalist James "J.T." Taylor, 1978; began working with producer Eumir Deodato; recorded album Ladies Night, 1979; released album Celebrate, featuring single "Celebration," 1980; released sequence of hit albums, including Emergency, 1984; J.T. Taylor left group, 1987 (returned 1995); continued to tour and record, 1990s–.
Awards: Two Grammy Awards for "Open Sesame" (featured on soundtrack to film Saturday Night Fever); American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group, and Favorite Soul/R&B Album for Emergency, 1986.
Addresses: Record company—Sanctuary Records Group, 369 Lexington Ave., Sixth Fl., New York, NY 10017. Website—Kool and the Gang Official Website: http://www.koolandthegang.com.
The 1973 album Wild & Peaceful was certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies and cracked Billboard's rhythm and blues top ten. Other Kool & the Gang albums of the mid-1970s sold moderately well. Open Sesame (1976), with its title track featured in the film Saturday Night Fever, brought the group a pair of Grammy Awards. But the decline of the heavily instrumental and often spiritual funk sound and the simultaneous rise of more mechanical disco began to put a crimp in their popularity. In 1976 Ricky Westfield left the band, and the remaining group members made two important decisions that would soon result in skyrocketing popularity. The first was to hire a lead vocalist. Most of the Kool & the Gang hits to that point had lyrics, but weren't really vocally oriented. "We had never had a real lead singer, and couldn't perform a lot of the tunes we wrote," Kool told Robert Palmer of the New York Times. They picked Hackensack, New Jersey, schoolteacher James "J.T." Taylor after an audition lasting just a few minutes.
Worked with Producer Deodato
The second decision was to begin working with Brazilian-born dance producer Eumir Deodato. By 1979 all the elements were in place: strong, smooth lead vocals from Taylor, state-of-the-art production from Deodato, and a continuing commitment to elaborate stage shows and a funky rhythmic groove from the band as a whole. The changes brought immediate results. In 1979 "Ladies Night" topped the R&B charts for three weeks and cracked the pop top ten. The following year Kool & the Gang released the album Celebrate, which earned double-platinum status for sales of over two million copies.
Most of those sales were generated by the single "Celebration," the composition of which was credited to Ronald Bell and Kool & the Gang. An infectious call and response between Kool's bass and a group "wa-hoo" suited the song to celebrations of all kinds, and it topped both pop and R&B charts. During the early 1980s Kool & the Gang concerts attracted crowds that were more racially diverse racially than those of almost any other act. The albums Something Special, As One, and In the Heart maintained the group's momentum with smooth but rhythmically catchy singles like "Get Down on It" and "Joanna."
Joined Famine-Relief Project
The 1984 album Emergency was another multimillion seller, spawning the three hit singles "Misled," "Cherish," and "Fresh." That year Kool & the Gang became the only American band to participate in the British Do They Know It's Christmas? all-star famine relief recording project. Forever was another strong seller, and the group's momentum was slowed only by the departure of J.T. Taylor as lead vocalist in 1987. The split was friendly, and Khalis Bayyan produced several of Taylor's solo albums. Kool & the Gang, however, began to founder, with the albums Sweat (1989) and Unite (1993) making little impact.
Bayyan's production skills helped launch the careers of the Fugees and their two solo talents, Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, and Kool's son Hakim also became a hip-hop artist. Taylor rejoined Kool & the Gang in 1996 for State of Affairs, and the group's drawing power as a live act waned only slightly. Financial problems that had plagued the group evaporated with the growth of hip-hop, for the Kool & the Gang classics of the 1970s and 1980s were among the most sampled of any music of the era, and royalties flowed in, with a big boost from the use of the early 1970s hit "Jungle Boogie" in the film Pulp Fiction. The group's 2004 album The Hits: Reloaded featured remakes of the their famous songs with added new elements by contemporary hip-hop artists. In 2005 Kool & the Gang had a busy schedule that included a tour of Germany, France, and Finland. They were also seeking creative and production assistance for a Mamma Mia-style musical that would be built around a group of songs as well known to the Baby Boom generation as any others in the repertory of popular music.
Kool & the Gang, De Lite, 1969.
Live at the Sex Machine, De Lite, 1971.
Live at P.J.'s, De Lite, 1971.
Music Is the Message, De Lite, 1972.
Good Times, De Lite, 1972.
Wild & Peaceful, De Lite, 1973.
Kool Jazz, De Lite, 1974.
Light of Worlds, De Lite, 1974.
Spirit of the Boogie, De Lite, 1975.
Behind the Eyes, Polydor, 1976.
Love & Understanding, De Lite, 1976.
Open Sesame, De Lite, 1977.
The Force, De Lite, 1977.
Everybody's Dancin', De Lite, 1978.
Ladies Night, De Lite, 1979.
Celebrate!, De Lite, 1980.
Something Special, De Lite, 1981.
As One, De Lite, 1982.
In the Heart, De Lite, 1983.
Emergency, De Lite, 1984.
Forever, De Lite, 1986.
Sweat, Mercury, 1989.
Unite, RCA, 1993.
State of Affairs, Curb, 1996.
The Very Best of Kool & the Gang, Mercury, 1999.
The Millennium Collection: The Best of Kool & the Gang, Polygram, 2000.
Gangland, Eagle Music Group, 2001.
The Ultimate Collection, Universal, 2003.
The Hits: Reloaded, Sanctuary, 2004.
Gold, Mercury, 2005.
Still Kool, 2006.
Slonimsky, Nicolas, editor emeritus, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, centennial edition, Schirmer, 2001.
Albuquerque Journal, May 13, 1005, p. 13.
Dayton Daily News, June 10, 2000, p. C1.
Orange County Register, January 31, 2006.
New York Times, January 2, 1985, p. C14; January 11, 1985, p. A26.
Star Ledger (Newark, NJ), March 18, 1996, p. 39.
Washington Post, March 23, 1981, p. C1.
Washington Times, January 29, 2000, p. 6.
"History," Kool and the Gang Official Website, http://www.koolandthegang.com/history/index.html (March 6, 2006).
"Kool & the Gang," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (March 6, 2006).