Kool & The Gang co-founder Ronald Bell – who helped conceive dance-funk staples like “Celebration” and “Jungle Boogie” – died on Sept. 9 in his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was 68.
Through their storied career, Kool & The Gang sold over 70 million albums and helped solidify the iconic funk/R&B sound of ’70s and the ’80s.
Bell wore many hats in the group, producing, composing, singing and playing saxophone. In his youth, the self-taught musician rubbed elbows with the likes of with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, forging a deep love for jazz.
He helped form Kool & the Gang in 1964; the group eventually scored 12 top ten singles.
More recently, the band celebrated their 50th anniversary with a celebratory tour in 2015.
Alongside his brother/bandmate Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
Watch the video for “Celebration” as well as a 2015 television interview with Bell and company below: