Editor’s Note: The Hippest Trip in America takes to the seas in 2013, for the inaugural Soul Train Cruise! SoulTrain.com is excited to present this special series, spotlighting some of the artists set to perform on the Soul Train Cruise. For more information, visit soultraincruise.com.
Call it evolution, transition, or simply the ability to change with the times: The band Kool and the Gang has done it with ease. Since the group hit the scene over forty years ago, they’ve achieved success and longevity that many groups only dream about, especially those who’ve been around since the late 1960s and early 1970s. So what’s the key to their success? Well, it doesn’t hurt that the band has a laundry list of hits that continue to resonate with fans old and new. Old school fans have enjoyed the multi-genre hits on radio and the dance floor; and thanks to films, commercials and hip hop, the band’s music has been introduced to a new generation of fans over the years. Kool and The Gang’s “Summer Madness” showcased the band’s jazz influence while songs like “Funky Stuff,” “Jungle Boogie,” and “Hollywood Swinging” conquered the funk era. Their hit “Open Sesame” was included in the “ode to the disco era” film and soundtrack Saturday Night Fever. The band repeatedly achieved chart topping success in the 1980’s with pop-laced R&B hits, among them “Get Down On It,” “Ladies Night,” “Misled,” “Fresh,” and “Too Hot.” The bouncy ballad “Joanna” made it to the top of the R&B chart in 1984, and no major celebration or victory party would be complete without playing the band’s #1 hit “Celebrate.” Throughout their career Kool and the Gang continued to entertain audiences from Cuba to the Carolinas with high energy concert performances, top notch musicianship, and songs that continue to stand the test of time. It would be easy for the band to rest on their laurels but they continue to move forward into new territory as they currently tour as the concert opener for the legendary rock group Van Halen.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter; sometimes both at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.MontroseMusic.com and on visit him online at Facebook.