The band previously known by nearly half a dozen other names including The Five Sounds, The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, The Jazziacs, and Kool & The Flames, became Kool & The Gang in 1969. That year, they released their first single called “Kool & The Gang” and their self-titled album as well.
This detailed stained glass window, designed by Cleveland Brown and Olimpia Perez (and hand made by Perez) featuring Kool & The Gang is appropriately entitled 1969. Depicted from left, band members are Claydes “Charles” Smith, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald “Khalls” Bell, George “Funky George” Brown, Robert “Spike” Mickens, and Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas (not pictured are Ricky West and Woody Sparrow).
The band’s unique genre blend, and their original sound, became a symbol of pride. Clearly the trusted soundtrack of urban communities, even as they broadened into mainstream Americana, Kool & The Gang’s music, lyrics, production, and performances proudly salute their cultural roots
Kool & The Gang also has the honor and distinction of being the most-sampled band in recorded music history.
Photographed in the Grammy Museum Experience in Newark New Jersey.