Kool & The Gang Inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Kool & The Gang, the iconic R&B band founded and led by Youngstown native Robert “Kool” Bell, has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The class of 2024 was announced Sunday night.

The inductees in the Performer category, in addition to Kool & The Gang, are Mary J. Blige, Cher, Dave Matthews Band, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Ozzy Osbourne and A Tribe Called Quest.

The induction ceremony will take place Oct. 19 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

In a career that has now spanned almost 60 years, Kool & The Gang has been an innovator in funk, soul, disco, R&B and pop. The act’s hits include “Celebration,” “Ladies Night,” Too Hot,” Get Down on It” and “Fresh.”

The band released its 34th studio album, “People Just Wanna Have Fun,” last year. The album included the single “Let’s Party.”

The band became the first artists inducted into the Youngstown Walk of Fame on July 1, 2023, in a ceremony at Covelli Centre. Kool & The Gang played a concert at The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre that evening.

Although Kool & The Gang launched its career in New Jersey, the band’s founders spent much of their childhood in Youngstown.

Robert Bell, 73, and his late younger brother, Ronald, lived with their family on Youngstown’s east side in the 1950s. The family moved to Jersey City, N.J., in 1960, when Robert was 10 years old. Ronald died in 2021.

Robert started the band while still in high school in New Jersey in the mid-1960s, and the band released its first album in 1969.

The band has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide, earning two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums. 

Kool & the Gang is also one of the world’s most sampled bands, according to its press site.

Segments of Kool & the Gang’s music has been sampled on recordings by stars such as Madonna, Jay-Z, Beastie Boys, Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill and Sean Combs. Kool’s music has also been featured on various film soundtracks, including “Rocky,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”

Kool & the Gang received a star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

The Rock Hall also unveiled its award winners Sunday night.

The Musical Excellence Award went to the late Jimmy Buffett, the MC5, Dionne Warwick and Norman Whitfield.The Musical Influence Award went to Alexis Korner, John Mayall and Big Mama Thornton, and the Ahmet Ertegun Award went to Suzanne De Passe.

Pictured at top: Youngstown native Robert “Kool” Bell attends a ceremony in Youngstown in July 2023. He was honored with the first star on the new Youngstown Wall of Fame.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.