with Chris Cruise


How do KOOL AND THE GANG just, always, slay?

As a little kid, I can VIVIDLY remember being in the back seat of my Grandma’s 80s era Ford Thunderbird, when the calming sound of seagulls and waves came on the radio, and I immediately knew it was “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang.

What was it – even at the age of 6 or 7 – that drew me, and so many of us, into Kool & the Gang’s ability to capture the moment…and just… slay?

A couple things.

  1. They’re a band with two lives who wasn’t afraid to adapt their sound.  The first incarnation of Kool & the Gang, founded in 1969, gave us hits like “Funky Stuff,” “Jungle Boogie,” and “Hollywood Swinging.”  Inventive, playful, and FUNKY, they had a niche who loved them.  But as music evolved in the late ’70s into more melodic grooves, the band added James “JT” Taylor to sing lead, and it gave them a second life with “Celebration,” “Joanna,” “Cherish,” and more.
  2. They LOVED a soundtrack, even well after their release.  “Summer Madness,” originally sampled in “Rocky” in 1976, got new life with DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince sampled it in “Summertime.”  That lead to another synch for the song in 2002’s “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” – and a whole new generation of fans.
  3. They weren’t afraid to take a chance on tour.  In 2012, perhaps one of the greatest odd couple tours was announced, as Kool & The Gang agreed to open for Van Halen.  It seemed like a complete mismatch.  Yet somehow, the “odd couple” moment WORKED.  They showed us, while they weren’t rocking as hard as Van Halen – they could still ROCK and tantalize the audience with some amazing music.


So whether you’re turning up a great K&TG love song…


…or something a little more FRESH…


…enjoy these songs again today, and remember that COOL is always best…when spelled with a K.

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