Photo: Joe Bielawa from MInneapolis, USA

Kool & The Gang’s George Brown: Dead At 74

The co-founder of and longtime drummer for Kool & The Gang who helped write such classic hits as “Too Hot,” “Ladies Night,” “Joanna” and the party favorite “Celebration,” George “Funky” Brown died Thursday in Los Angeles at age 74.

In a statement released by Universal Music, Brown passed away after a protracted battle with cancer. Some six decades after the band began, George retired earlier this year after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Along with his friends, Robert “Kool” Bell on bass guitar, brother Ronald Bell on keyboards and guitarist Charles Smith, George helped launch the multi-Grammy-winning group, originally named the Jazziacs,

After years of relative obscurity, several name changes and personnel changes, Kool & The Gang broke through in the mid-1970s with “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging” and peaked in the late ‘70s-mid 1980s, with ballads like “Cherish” and “Joanna” and the up-tempo, chart-topping “Celebration.” Given its catchy blend of jazz, funk and soul, or what George liked to call “the sound of happiness,” Kool & The Gang has sold millions of records throughout their career.

George Brown is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his five children, and In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations can be made in his honor to the Lung Cancer Society of America.

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Joe Bielawa from MInneapolis, USA