Wagswoofs – George Brown, the co-founder and celebrated drummer of Kool & The Gang, passed away on Thursday at the age of 74 in Los Angeles. Brown was instrumental in creating some of the band’s biggest hits such as “Too Hot,” “Ladies Night,” “Joanna,” and the popular party anthem, “Celebration.” His contribution to the band’s success and legacy will always be remembered.
Universal Music announced that Brown, a native of New Jersey, passed away following a battle with cancer. The legendary musician had retired earlier this year, almost six decades after the band’s inception, and had disclosed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
In 1949, Brown was born in Jersey City and later attended Lincoln High School alongside the majority of the band’s original members. The Jazziacs, now known for their Grammy-winning status, was established back in 1964 with the help of Brown and his friends. Among the founding members were bassist Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell on keyboards, and Charles Smith as the guitarist.
With their signature mix of jazz, funk, and soul, Kool & The Gang has been responsible for selling millions of records. Their music has been described by Brown as “the sound of happiness,” and it’s easy to see why with their catchy beats and irresistible melodies.
During the mid-1970s, Kool & The Gang rose to fame with popular hits like “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging”. After years of being relatively unknown and undergoing changes in both their name and personnel, the band reached their peak during the late ’70s to the mid-1980s. Their range of hits included not only ballads like “Cherish” and “Joanna”, but also the up-tempo, chart-topping song “Celebration” – which is now considered a staple at weddings and other joyous events.
Brown released his memoir “Too Hot: Kool & The Gang & Me” and produced the band’s latest album “People Just Wanna Have Fun” in 2023.
Mr. Brown is survived by his loving wife, Hanh Brown, and five children. Rather than sending flowers, his family kindly requests that donations be made in his memory to the Lung Cancer Society of America.