KOOL AND THE GANG

ALEX

Kool & The Gang's story starts in the Jersey City projects. They were teenagers, studying Miles Davis albums and James Brown singles, jamming in basements, partying for the people in a swirl of Black consciousness. In 1969 they made their first record. Still teenagers, and full of confidence, they named that first record after themselves. Their confidence and creativity produced a string of loose-but-tight, "fun" records, culminating in the Pop Chart smash Jungle Boogie. Kool & The Gang didn't need a singer then: the horns were the lead voice; the fans chanted along. Their songs were featured in films like Rocky and Saturday Night Fever.


But it was another Casey/Finch original, "Rock Your Baby," that R&B artist George McCrae scored a hit with in 1974 as KC & the Sunshine Band began issuing further albums and singles, quickly scoring big hits on their own. The group then began an impressive run of disco hits: 1977's "Shake Shake Shake (Shake Your Booty)," "I'm Your Boogieman," "Keep It Comin' Love," "Boogie Shoes" (the latter included on the monster-selling soundtrack to the hit John Travolta disco movie, Saturday Night Fever), 1979's "Do You Wanna Go Party," and 1980's "Please Don't Go." Despite earning nine Grammy nominations (receiving three awards) and selling millions of records, KC & the Sunshine Band were still susceptible to the backlash that disco bands felt by the dawn of the '80s, eventually leading to dwindling sales and the group's split by the early '80s (although KC scored a moderate solo hit in 1983 with "Give It Up"). Come the '90s, an appreciation of everything '70s swept across the U.S., which led to a renewed interest bands from the era, prompting KC & the Sunshine Band to re-form for concert performances. That decade saw the release of countless KC "hits" collections and even an episode of VH1's popular Behind the Music series that studied the group's ups and downs

 

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