Kool & The Gang Drummer George Brown Dies At 74

Kool & The Gang
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 14: (L-R) Dennis Thomas, George Brown, Robert “Kool” Bell, and Ronald Bell attend the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame )

George Brown, the drummer for Kool & the Gang died Thursday after a battle with cancer, a Universal Music Enterprises spokesperson announced. He was 74.

George Brown

Brown, also named as “Funky,” was one of seven school friends from Jersey City, New Jersey, who came together in 1964 as an instrumental-only jazz and soul group calling itself the Jazziacs. Other members included Robert “Kool” Bell on bass, brother Ronald Bell on keyboards and Charles Smith on guitar.

The band eventually formed into Kool & the Gang, in 1969. They signed to De-Lite records and released their first LP, the all-instrumental Kool and the Gang, in 1970. By 1973, they incorporated emerging disco trends in its sound, cracking the U.S. Top 10 with “Jungle Boogie” in 1973 and “Hollywood Swinging” in 1974.

Brown co-wrote many of the band’s iconic songs, including “Ladies Night,” “Too Hot,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Celebration,” and “Cherish.” When asked to describe his music, Brown always replied, “The sound of happiness.”

Kool & The Gang went on to achieve notable success, winning 2 Grammys, 7 American Music Awards, a Chairman’s Award, a Soul Train Legend Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Robert “Kool” Bell is now the sole surviving member of the band.