Category: kool & the gang

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Vintage R&B Concert Posters

1. Memorial Auditorium (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – November 16, 1954

2. Memorial Auditorium (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – June 10, 1959

3. Oakland Auditorium (Oakland, California) – February 8, 1963

4. Exhibition Garden (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) – June 26, 1964

5. Wilmer’s Park (Brandywine, Maryland) – July 25, 1965

6. Veterans Memorial Auditorium (Columbus, Ohio) – October 25, 1965

7. Carr’s Beach (Annapolis, Maryland) – June 26, 1966

8. Civic Auditorium (Knoxville, Tennessee) – March 31, 1967

9. Shelby County Fairgrounds (Shelbina, Missouri) – July 27, 1968

10. Norfolk Arena (Norfolk, Virginia) – November 22, 1969

On this day in music history: November 21, 1981 – “Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want You It)” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #17 on the Hot 100 on December 26, 1981. Written by Claydes Charles Smith, James “J.T.” Taylor, George Brown, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell and Eumir Deodato, it is the sixth chart topping single for the R&B band from Jersey City, NJ.  Kool & The Gang begin work on their third album with Brazilian born producer, musician and arranger Eumir Deodato (“Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”, “Whistle Bump”) in the Spring of 1981, continuing their hot streak that began when Deodato produces their album “Ladies Night” in 1979. The idea for what becomes “Take My Heart”, originates with guitarist Claydes Smith when he begins playing the signature guitar line as the band is jamming in the studio. The band’s drummer George Brown is also instrumental in setting the distinctive swaggering rhythm of the song, influenced by Motown icon Marvin Gaye, who is name checked by lead singer James “J.T.” Taylor when he says “like Marvin, huh…” toward the end. Issued as the first single from their thirteenth studio album “Something Special” in September of 1981, it quickly becomes a big hit on R&B radio, crossing over to the pop chart. The success of “Take My Heart” and the follow up singles “Steppin’ Out” (#12 R&B, #89 Pop) and “Get Down On It” (#4 R&B, #10 Pop) makes “Something Special” (#1 R&B, #12 Pop) Kool & The Gang’s third Platinum selling album in a row.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: November 3, 1979 – “Ladies Night” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on January 12, 1980. Written by George Brown, Ronald Bell, Robert Bell, James “J.T.” Taylor, Dennis Thomas, Charles Smith, Robert Mickens, Meekaaheel Muhammed and Earl Toon, it is the fourth chart topping single for the R&B band from Jersey City, NJ. By 1978, Kool & The Gang find themselves at a career crossroads, after their two previous albums “The Force” and “Everybody’s Dancin’” fare poorly. With their long time label De-Lite Records now a subsidiary of Polygram, the band realizes they must adjust to shifting musical tastes if they want to keep going. Not having a permanent lead singer in past years, vocalist James “J.T.” Taylor is hired as Kool & The Gang’s front man, after he is introduced to them by House Of Music Studios co-owner Stephan Galfas. Possessing smooth and versatile vocal chops as well as formidable songwriting talent, Taylor proves to be a perfect fit. For their first album with their new singer, the band works with Brazilian born jazz musician, arranger and producer Eumir Deodato (“Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”). The idea for what becomes “Ladies Night” initially comes from bassist and band leader Robert “Kool” Bell who coins the title. Drummer George Brown develops the musical foundation of the song with the other band members pitching in ideas and helping write the lyrics. The track comes together quickly, and all agree that it is a hit. When “Ladies Night” is released as a single in late August of 1979, it is an immediate smash. Initial pressings of the single have the full LP version of “Too Hot” (#3 R&B, #5 Pop) as the B-side (edited and reissued as an A-side in January of 1980), but are quickly recalled and pressed with “If You Feel Like Dancin’” as the flip side. Though some of the bands’ original fans grumble that Kool & The Gang has “sold out” their R&B and funk roots for “disco and pop”, the record marks the beginning of a new era for the band, and the start of an unbroken hit streak that lasts for the next eight years. The huge success of “Ladies Night” drives the accompanying album to Platinum plus status in the US, giving them their biggest selling album since “Light Of Worlds” five years earlier. “Ladies Night” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: September 6, 1979 – “Ladies’ Night”, the eleventh album by Kool & The Gang is released. Produced by Eumir Deodato, it is recorded at House Of Music in West Orange, NJ and Media Sound Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1979. A consistent presence on the charts throughout much of the 70’s, by the later part of the decade, Kool & The Gang find themselves at a major career crossroads. The New Jersey based R&B/Funk band’s unique sound begins to fall out of favor, when the Disco phenomenon sweeps the musical landscape. And without a regular lead singer to hold the public’s focus, they realize that they need to reinvent themselves. Kool & The Gang hire South Carolina born James “J.T.” Taylor, to become their front man. A few other things take place during this time that change the course of the band’s career. Their single “Open Sesame” is featured on the Grammy winning mega soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”, helps keep them in the public eye. Also, their label De-Lite Records changes distribution from independent Pickwick International, to Polygram. With the backing of a major behind them, Kool & The Gang also understand they have to evolve their sound as well. They are paired with Brazilian born jazz musician and arranger Eumir Deodato to produce them. Famed for his Grammy winning jazz/funk classic “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”, Deodato helps the band re-tool their sound. It marks the beginning of a highly successful collaboration, that lasts over the course of four Gold and Platinum selling albums. Kool & The Gang hit pay dirt immediately with the album “Ladies’ Night”. The title track (#1 R&B, #8 Pop, #5 Club Play) issued as the first single in August of 1979, is a perfect hybrid of R&B, pop and disco that proves to be irresistible to a wide mainstream audience. It is followed up by “Too Hot” (#3 R&B, #5 Pop, #5 Club Play, #11 AC) in January 1980. Initially issued as the B-side of “Ladies’ Night”, “Too Hot” is reissued as an A-side. The single is another across the board, multi-format smash. The album spins off a third and final single with “Hangin’ Out” (#36 R&B, #103 Pop). Though there is some grumbling from the band’s original fans that they have “sold out to disco and commerciality”, “Ladies’ Night” sets the template for massive success the band enjoy for the next eight years. Originally released on CD in 1986, it is reissued numerous times over the years. Most recently, it is remastered and reissued by Big Break Records in 2013. The expanded reissue contains the original six track album, with six additional bonus tracks, including the original 12" and single edits of the singles. “Ladies’ Night” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: June 8, 1974 – “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on July 6, 1974. Written by Ricky West and Kool & The Gang, it is the first R&B chart topper for the R&B/Funk band from Jersey City, NJ led by bassist Robert “Kool” Bell. The song comes about when Kool & The Gangs’ record label De-Lite asks them to record a cover version of African musician Manu Dibango’s recent hit “Soul Makossa”. During rehearsal the next day, the band start improvising and instead of working out a new arrangement of “Soul Makossa”, they quickly come up with the ideas for “Funky Stuff”, “Hollywood Swinging” and “Jungle Boogie”. Quickly booking time at Mediasound Studios in New York City, all three songs are cut in the same session, and becomes the biggest hits from their breakthrough album “Wild & Peaceful”. It is the albums second single following up the million selling smash “Jungle Boogie” (#2 R&B, #4 Pop),. “Hollywood Swinging” is sampled numerous times over the years by artists such as DJ Kool (“Let Me Clear My Throat”), Too Short (“Money In The Ghetto”), and Mase (“Feels So Good”), as well as being covered by UK acid jazz/soul band Jamiroquai. “Hollywood Swinging” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 18, 1985 – “Fresh” by Kool & the Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on May 4, 1985, and peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on June 8, 1985. Written by James “J.T.” Taylor, Sandy Linzer and Kool & The Gang, it is the eighth chart topping single for the veteran R&B/Funk band from Jersey City, NJ. The original idea for what become “Fresh” comes from lead singer J.T Taylor who had written it prior to joining Kool & The Gang in 1978. Showing it to drummer George Brown, Brown changes the original groove to what it becomes on the finished recording. They invite songwriter Sandy Linzer (“A Lover’s Concerto”, “Native New Yorker”, “Let’s Hang On”, Working My Way Back To You") to help finish the song. Linzer come up with the title and write the lyrics. Released as the second single from Kool & The Gang’s eighteenth studio album “Emergency” in March of 1985, it quickly follows its predecessor “Misled” (#3 R&B, #10 Pop), into the top ten on the pop and R&B charts. The song becomes one of the bands most popular and frequently played songs, both on radio and live. “Fresh” is also supported by a pair of 12" dance mixes, one remixed by co-producer Jim Bonnefond, John Rollo and Kendall Stubbs, and another by Mark S. Berry, that become huge on club dance floors around the world. The song is supported by a music video that spoofs the fairy tale “Cinderella” and features actress and singer Telma Hopkins as “Cinderella” (with dance and acrobatic doubles also playing the female lead, in far away shots) and J.T. Taylor as the prince. “Fresh” unseats USA For Africa’s “We Are The World” from the top spot on the R&B singles chart in the Spring of 1985.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: November 21, 1981 – “Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want You It)” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #17 on the Hot 100 on December 26, 1981. Written by Claydes Charles Smith, James “J.T.” Taylor, George Brown, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell and Eumir Deodato, it is the sixth chart topping single for the R&B band from Jersey City, NJ.  Kool & The Gang begin work on their third album with Brazilian born producer, musician and arranger Eumir Deodato (“Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”, “Whistle Bump”) in the Spring of 1981, continuing their hot streak that began when Deodato produces their album “Ladies Night” in 1979. The idea for what becomes “Take My Heart”, originates with guitarist Claydes Smith when he begins playing the signature guitar line as the band is jamming in the studio. The band’s drummer George Brown is also instrumental in setting the distinctive swaggering rhythm of the song, influenced by Motown icon Marvin Gaye, who is name checked by lead singer James “J.T.” Taylor when he says “like Marvin, huh…” toward the end. Issued as the first single from their thirteenth studio album “Something Special” in September of 1981, it quickly becomes a big hit on R&B radio, crossing over to the pop chart. The success of “Take My Heart” and the follow up singles “Steppin’ Out” (#12 R&B, #89 Pop) and “Get Down On It” (#4 R&B, #10 Pop) makes “Something Special” (#1 R&B, #12 Pop) Kool & The Gang’s third Platinum selling album in a row.

On this day in music history: November 3, 1979 – “Ladies Night” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on January 12, 1980. Written by George Brown, Ronald Bell, Robert Bell, James “J.T.” Taylor, Dennis Thomas, Charles Smith, Robert Mickens, Meekaaheel Muhammed and Earl Toon, it is the fourth chart topping single for the R&B band from Jersey City, NJ. By 1978, Kool & The Gang find themselves at a career crossroads, after their two previous albums “The Force” and “Everybody’s Dancin’” fare poorly. With their long time label De-Lite Records now a subsidiary of Polygram, the band realizes they must adjust to shifting musical tastes if they want to keep going. Not having a permanent lead singer in past years, vocalist James “J.T.” Taylor is hired as Kool & The Gang’s front man, after he is introduced to them by House Of Music Studios co-owner Stephan Galfas. Possessing smooth and versatile vocal chops as well as formidable songwriting talent, Taylor proves to be a perfect fit. For their first album with their new singer, the band works with Brazilian born jazz musician, arranger and producer Eumir Deodato (“Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”). The idea for what becomes “Ladies Night” initially comes from bassist and band leader Robert “Kool” Bell who coins the title. Drummer George Brown develops the musical foundation of the song with the other band members pitching in ideas and helping write the lyrics. The track comes together quickly, and all agree that it is a hit. When “Ladies Night” is released as a single in late August of 1979, it is an immediate smash. Initial pressings of the single have the full LP version of “Too Hot” (#3 R&B, #5 Pop) as the B-side (edited and reissued as an A-side in January of 1980), but are quickly recalled and pressed with “If You Feel Like Dancin’” as the flip side. Though some of the bands’ original fans grumble that Kool & The Gang has “sold out” their R&B and funk roots for “disco and pop”, the record marks the beginning of a new era for the band, and the start of an unbroken hit streak that lasts for the next eight years. The huge success of “Ladies Night” drives the accompanying album to Platinum plus status in the US, giving them their biggest selling album since “Light Of Worlds” five years earlier. “Ladies Night” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 14, 1985 – “Cherish” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 6 weeks on August 24, 1985, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on September 21, 1985. Written by Ronald Bell, James “J.T.” Taylor, Jim Bonnefond, Claydes Smith, George Brown and Curtis Williams, it is the ninth R&B chart topper for the R&B band from Jersey City, NJ. With the addition of lead singer James “J.T” Taylor to Kool & The Gang’s line up in 1979, the veteran R&B/Funk band begin a period marking their greatest commercial success, scoring more than a dozen pop and R&B top 40 hits, including six number one singles on the R&B singles chart. For the band’s ninth chart topper, a change in their creative back drop provides the inspiration for one of their most popular and enduring hits. Saxophonist and band musical director Ronald Bell (aka Khalis Bayyan) come up with the initial idea for what becomes “Cherish” while the band are recording their twenty seventh album “Emergency”. Rather than working at their regular studio, The House Of Music in their native New Jersey, the band opt to record the basic tracks at Compass Point Studios, the recording studio then owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell in Nassau, Bahamas. Working out the music with the rest of the band in the studio, Bell has Taylor pen the lyrics, which he writes while walking along the beach near the studio. Once the track is completed, everyone agrees that it is a smash. Issued as the third single from “Emergency” in June of 1985, it becomes an across the board smash on the pop, R&B and AC charts. Another R&B chart topper for Kool & The Gang, it holds on to the runner spot on the pop chart for three weeks, unable to unseat Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” from the number one spot. “Cherish” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 8, 1974 – “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool & The Gang hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on July 6, 1974. Written by Ricky West and Kool & The Gang, it is the first R&B chart topper for the R&B/Funk band from Jersey City, NJ led by bassist Robert “Kool” Bell. The song comes about when Kool & The Gangs’ record label De-Lite asks them to record a cover version of African musician Manu Dibango’s recent hit “Soul Makossa”. During rehearsal the next day, the band start improvising and instead of working out a new arrangement of “Soul Makossa”, they quickly come up with the ideas for “Funky Stuff”, “Hollywood Swinging” and “Jungle Boogie”. Quickly booking time at Mediasound Studios in New York City, all three songs are cut in the same session, and becomes the biggest hits from their breakthrough album “Wild & Peaceful”. It is the albums second single following up the million selling smash “Jungle Boogie” (#2 R&B, #4 Pop),. “Hollywood Swinging” is sampled numerous times over the years by artists such as DJ Kool (“Let Me Clear My Throat”), Too Short (“Money In The Ghetto”), and Mase (“Feels So Good”), as well as being covered by UK acid jazz/soul band Jamiroquai. “Hollywood Swinging” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.