The drummer and co-founder of the famous band lost his battle with cancer.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Kool & The Gang drummer, George Brown has passed away at the age of 74.
TMZ reports that the drummer and father of six died Thursday night in Los Angeles after losing his battle with lung cancer.
Brown, alongside original members Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, Woodrow “Woody” Sparrow, and Ricky West, established Kool & The Gang. The band was famously known for its unique music that consists of a combination of jazz, soul, and funk.
Brown adopted a significant role as one of the primary songwriters for the band. With his contributions, the band went on to record and perform iconic tracks such as “Ladies Night,” “Too Hot,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Summer Madness,” “Open Sesame,” “Celebration,” “Cherish,” and more.
The group’s self-titled debut album, Kool and the Gang, was released in 1969 and remains a symbol of the band’s 54 years of success as funk and soul legends.
Collectively, the band has secured two GRAMMY Awards, seven American Music Awards, a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award, a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 25 R&B hits in the Top Ten, nine Pop hits in the Top Ten, and a total of 31 gold and platinum albums so far. They’ve also been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and their album sales have exceeded 7.5 million in the U.S. and surpassed 70 million globally.
It’s also worth noting how Brown’s signature drumming on earlier Kool & The Gang recordings have been sampled by numerous artist across varying genres including the likes of The Killers, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Janet Jackson, and many more.
In July, Brown’s memoir, Too Hot: Kool & The Gang And Me, was released just a month before he officially retired from the band. In an interview with NPR, Brown described his music as “the sound of happiness.”
As he reflected on the changes the band experienced over the years, the drummer added,
“It’s the chemistry. If the chemistry is there, bingo, it works. And you want to make it happen, and you want to see people happy, and you want to be successful with it. And you want to help create a culture, a world culture, where people come together with that music. That music is bringing people together and making this one-world culture greater than it was before.”
“And when you do music that’s happy music, that’s what it does. It brings people to the clubs to have a good time. And that’s what we do. We say our prayer before we leave, and we say, let’s go make some people happy,” Brown concluded.
George Brown is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his six children, Dorian Melvin Brown, Jorge Lewis Brown, Gregory Brown, Jordan Xuan Clarence Brown and Aaron Tien Joseph Brown.
Our thoughts are with his family at this time.
Other Stars We’ve Lost This Year
It’s been a very tough year for everyone. Let us take a moment to honor other some other cherished celebrities we’ve lost along the way:
The Friends alum was found deceased in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home after his assistant returned from running errands. An exact cause of death is still pending, but friends and fans continue to pour out love and support to his loved one. He was 54 years old.
The veteran actor passed away on November 1, 2023 from melanoma. Peter White is remembered for his role as Lincoln “Linc” Tyler on the long-running ABC soap opera All My Children. He was 86 years old.
May they rest in peace.