Entertainment Lead Story Music

Kool & the Gang get star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

HOLLYWOOD — Kool & The Gang — the longest continuously performing rhythm and blues band — received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday, 50 years after the band was formed.

Original band members Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas and George Brown were joined by producer Vincent Herbert at the 11:30 a.m. ceremony at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Sycamore Avenue.

“We’re very blessed that our music touches people’s hearts and their minds, and keeps you dancing and tries to keep you happy on this planet,” Thomas said.

“So many of you who have helped us through the years, and continue to help us, we thank you,” Ronald Bell added. “We love you and all of you who love the music, we do too.”

The Bells, who are brothers, joined Thomas, Brown and fellow Jersey City, New Jersey, neighborhood friends Robert “Spike” Mickens, Ricky Westfield and Charles Smith in 1964 to create the band, known for a unique sound that blends jazz, soul and funk.

The band has sold more than 70 million albums and had 25 top 10 R&B hits, nine top 10 hits and 31 gold and platinum albums.

Early in its career, Kool & The Gang was a supporting act for comedians Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. It released its self-titled debut album in 1969, which included its first Billboard R&B charted single, “Kool and the Gang.”

The band had a string of hits in the 1970s, including “Jungle Boogie,” “Funky Stuff,” and “Summer Madness,” which was featured on the Grammy-winning soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film “Rocky.”

The band’s “Open Sesame” was featured on the Grammy-winning soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever,” the top-selling movie soundtrack.

The late disc jockey Casey Kasem chose Kool & The Gang as the band of the 1980s for “Celebration,” “Ladies Night,” “Get Down on It” and “Joanna.”