George Brown, drummer and co-founder of Kool & The Gang, dies aged 74

17 November 2023, 19:34

Obit George Brown
Obit George Brown. Picture: PA

Kool & The Gang has sold millions of records with its catchy blend of jazz, funk and soul, what Brown liked to call ‘the sound of happiness’.

George “Funky” Brown, the co-founder and long-time drummer of Kool & The Gang, who helped write such hits as Too Hot, Ladies Night, Joanna, and the party favourite Celebration, has died aged 74.

Brown died on Thursday in Los Angeles after suffering from cancer, according to a statement released by Universal Music.

He had retired earlier in the year, nearly 60 years after the band began, and said he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

Kool & The Gang has sold millions of records with its catchy blend of jazz, funk and soul, what Brown liked to call “the sound of happiness”.

Obit Ronald Khalis Bell
Robert ‘Kool’ Bell, Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell, Dennis ‘DT’ Thomas and George Brown attend a ceremony honouring Kool & The Gang with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame (Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

In 1964 Brown helped launch the Grammy-winning group, originally called the Jazziacs, along with such friends as bassist Robert “Kool” Bell, brother Ronald Bell on keyboards and guitarist Charles Smith.

After years of relative obscurity, name changes and personnel changes, Kool & The Gang broke through in the mid-1970s with Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging among others songs.

The band peaked in the late 70s-mid 1980s, with hits ranging from the ballads Cherish and Joanna to the up-tempo, chart-topping Celebration, now a standard at weddings and other festive gatherings.

In 2023 Brown produced the band’s latest album, People Just Wanna Have Fun, and released his memoir Too Hot: Kool & The Gang & Me.

He is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his five children.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Police officers pursue a deer down a hallway at Cedar Grove Elementary School in Toms River, New Jersey

Deer’s escape after breaking into US school captured on police bodycams

Police officers stand by the tail of a small plane that made an emergency landing in Villejuif, outside Paris

Small plane makes emergency landing in Paris suburbs

The mayor of Kyiv has claimed president Zelenskyy is becoming increasingly autocratic.

‘Zelenskyy is becoming an autocrat’ Kyiv mayor Klitschko says, as he warns Ukraine will soon be 'no different to Russia'

Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court in New York

Jonathan Majors assault trial starts with competing versions of confrontation

Manuel Rocha when he was US ambassador to Bolivia

Former career US diplomat charged with secretly spying for Cuba for decades

A UK city has been crowned the prettiest in the world, according to a study.

UK city crowned ‘prettiest in the world’ - putting Venice in second place

Aitana was created by an AI modelling agency.

‘Spanish influencer’ created entirely by AI generates its modelling agency £9,000 a month with 200,000 followers

In his victory speech in November, Mr Milei promised Argentina that "the reconstruction of Argentina begins."

'It's not a joke, it's a provocation!': Argentina launches another attack on Britain amid Falklands row

Binyamin Needham died fighting in the Gaza strip

British-Israeli teenager killed while fighting for the IDF in Gaza

Police near the Eiffel Tower after the attack

French investigators probe mental health of Paris attacks suspect

Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo

Guinea-Bissau’s president dissolves parliament after failed coup

Flooded streets in the town of Katesh

At least 47 dead and 85 injured after heavy rain and landslides in Tanzania

Municipal workers clear snow from pavements in Moscow

Disruption on roads and at airports as Moscow hit by heavy snow

Rescuers at the copper mine in Chingola

Hopes raised for survivors after more than 30 buried by landslide at Zambia mine

A US military CV-22 Osprey takes off from a base in western Japan

Divers find wreckage and remains from Osprey aircraft that crashed off Japan

Two people on a motorcycle ride past as Mount Marapi spews volcanic material

Indonesia’s Marapi volcano erupts for second day as 12 climbers remain missing