Kool & the Gang is an American band formed in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1964 by brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell, with Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. They have undergone numerous changes in personnel and have explored many musical styles throughout their history, including jazz, soul, funk, rock, and pop music. After settling on their name following several changes, the group signed to De-Lite Records and released their debut album, Kool and the Gang Kool & the Gang have won numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and, in 2006, a Music Business Association Chairman’s Award for artistic achievement. As well the band has been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and been bestowed with a Soul Train Legend Award, the Marian Anderson Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During 2018, the Bells, Brown, and Taylor were also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Their discography includes 23 studio albums and almost 70 singles. They have sold 7.5 million and 4.5 million RIAA-certified albums and singles, respectively, in the US. Worldwide, they have sold 70 million albums. Here are all of Kool & The Gang albums ranked.
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10. Kool And The Gang (1970)
“This debut album is more serious and more diverse than later efforts with many different sounds emerging in its wake. I love songs that are named after the album which are named after the band and the opening “Kool & The Gang” covers all grounds as it tackles Afro-rhythmic percussive drives, funk guitar and groovy bass with a strong horn section which was right out of the James Brown playbook although with a more Santana type of percussive frenzy. “
9. Ladies Night (1979)
“Too Hot is one of the greatest songs in the Kool and the Gang collection. In fact I can’t think of a better one. Straight Ahead is another one I like a lot (from another album), but it’s nowhere near as good as Too Hot. Too Hot was the reason for my buying this album. I still love that song, it’s enough to stop you in your tracks and just listen to how great it is. Wonderful singing, beautiful music, heartfelt, and what a great great song. Album OK, Too Hot simply awesome. Love it.”
8. Emergency (1984)
“The album was the band’s biggest selling reaching double platinum in the US and spawned the most singles with four out of the seven tracks hitting the top 40 which included “Fresh” (US #9); “Misled” (US #10); the title track “Emergency” (US #18); and the album’s biggest hit, the million-selling “Cherish” (US #2).”
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7. Greatest Hits! (1975)
“These guys were hit machines, which is amply demonstrated on the 2nd disc which has all their classic chart hits from the 80s. The 1st disc contains many of their 70s funk tubes, which I personally love and rate them up there with any other funk outfit from that era. I think this collection really shows how versatile Robert Bell and his friends were, producing catchy hit after hit. “
6. Something Special (1981)
“The song arrangement and songs on this album just keep you going to the last song. If you want an album to party to dance to, make your day to then this is the one. Now I have the CD so I don’t have to worry about. This past New Years Eve I went and listened to them live and what a show.”
5. Light Of Worlds (1974)
“Light of the World was new to the K & G genre. It was clearly their sound, but with a little more of a jazz twist, as opposed to the standard r&b. Though the song, ‘Light of the World’, was my favorite from the album, I think at that time Rhyme Time People and Fruitman was more popular with the party crowd. But, in a time when one would purchase an album (wow, what happened to that word) and enjoy maybe two or three songs from the same and never really enjoy the rest, this one stood out for being an album with no throwaways. “
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4. Celebrate! (1980)
“This is a good album which features Kool & The Gang’s biggest hit Celebration. The lead vocals from JT Taylor are top class as always and there is a good mix of disco soul and ballads. As with all BBR reissues the quality is excellent and features bonus tracks which are basically the single versions of the hits. The liner notes are well written and informative”
3. Forever (1986)
“In fact, I feel that all of the songs are good. “Forever” itself is a good song, but my Favourites are “Broadway” and best of all,”God’s Country. Knowing how well J.T Taylor sings, the songs are even better, because of the background vocals. That’s the main reason why I enjoy music by Kool & the Gang.”
2. Wild And Peaceful (1973)
“From the beautiful afrocentric cover art to the incessant, stomping, sweaty music contained in the grooves of the vinyl platter within, this is as sophisticated and yet still raw as funk music gets. Every track is a multi-layered slice of horn-filled, hard-stomping funk, save for the gorgeous ballad “Winter Sadness”, which somehow manages to make a synthesizer add to the sound, instead of taking it over.
1. Spirit Of The Boogie (1975)
“THIS ALBUM IS AMAZING!!!!Just from the pulsing title cut on this album resonates with everything that made Kool & The Gang so wonderful during this period.The smooth “Sunshine And Love” and “Mother Earth” are slower but still meaningful purposes of intent while “Winter Madness”,the title song and the brilliant “Ancestral Ceremony” are supreme examples of what writer Ricky Vincent calls the ‘united funk’ age-adding a new undercurrent of synthesized backgrounds,only sudley looming in the background.”