George Brown dead: Drummer and co-founder of Kool & The Gang dies aged 74 after lung cancer battle
Drummer and co-founder of Kool & The Gang, George Brown, dies aged 74
George “Funky” Brown, the co-founder and long-time drummer of Kool & The Gang, has died aged 74. Brown, who helped write hits such as Too Hot, Ladies Night and Joanna, died on Thursday (November 16) in Los Angeles after suffering from cancer, according to a statement released by Universal Music.
Renowned for their infectious blend of jazz, funk, and soul, which Brown affectionately referred to as "the sound of happiness," Kool & The Gang achieved immense success, selling millions of records. Brown played an important role in the formation of the Grammy-winning group in 1964, initially known as the Jazziacs, alongside friends like bassist Robert “Kool” Bell, brother Ronald Bell on keyboards, and guitarist Charles Smith.
After navigating years of relative obscurity, name alterations, and shifts in personnel, Kool & The Gang rose to popularity in the mid-1970s, delivering hits like Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging. The band reached its zenith in the late '70s to the mid-'80s, producing chart-toppers such as the ballads Cherish and Joanna and the lively Celebration, now a staple at weddings and festive gatherings. In 2023, Brown oversaw the production of the band’s latest album, People Just Wanna Have Fun, and shared his memoir titled Too Hot: Kool & The Gang & Me.
Brown is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his five children.