Kool & the Gang co-founder George “Funky” Brown has died, aged 74

today20/11/2023 4

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George “Funky” Brown, the Kool & the Gang co-founder and long-time member, has died at the age of 74.

The musician, who had co-written hits like ‘Ladies’ Night’ and ‘Celebration’, died from cancer at his Los Angeles home on November 16.

Brown’s battle with lung cancer had already seen him retire earlier in the year, bringing to an end his star-studded 59-year career as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for the pioneering R&B, disco, funk and soul band.

Despite his retirement, Brown still contributed to the band’s most recent album, ‘People Just Wanna Have Fun’, which came out in July this year. He also published his memoir, Too Hot: Kool & the Gang & Me, in the same month.

A representative for Kool & the Gang told TMZ that “when asked to describe his music, Brown always replied, ‘The sound of happiness.'”

Tributes to the late drummer have been pouring out across Twitter, with celebrities such as Nile Rodgers and Patty Jackson celebrating his legacy.

The original lineup of the band is survived through bassist Robert “Kool” Bell, with saxophonist Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, guitarist Claydes Charles Smith, keyboardists Ronald Bell and Ricky West, trumpeter Robert “Spike” Mickens and rhythm and lead guitarist Woodrow “Woody” Sparrow all having passed away since the band’s formation in 1964.

Kool & the Gang is responsible for some of the biggest hit sof the ’70s and ’80s, with numbers like ‘Get Down on It’, ‘Celebration’, ‘Jungle Boogie’ and ‘Ladies Night’ taking over dancefloors worldwide.

Tibor Heskett is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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