We are sad to learn that George “Funky” Brown, drummer for the legendary R&B and soul music group Kool & The Gang, has died at the age of 74.
TMZ reported that the musician died at his Los Angeles home on Thursday night following a battle with stage 4 cancer.
Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years earlier and was in remission for a while. He returned to touring with the group for some time before the cancer returned earlier this year.
Brown was a founding member of the group, coming together in 1964 and releasing their debut album in 1969.
However, the band didn’t get its big breakthrough until the release of 1973’s Wild And Peaceful, which features some of their biggest records, including “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging.”
Brown actually co-wrote “Jungle Boogie,” as well as some of the band’s other iconic hits of the late 70s and 80s. Among those hits are “Ladies Night,” “Too Hot,” “Celebration,” and “Cherish.” According to the band’s rep, when asked to describe his music, Brown always replied, “The sound of happiness.”
Kool & The Gang would snag 2 Grammys, 7 American Music Awards, and a Soul Train Legend Award throughout their illustrious career. They also earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, cementing their legacy as one of soul music’s most iconic bands.
Brown is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his 5 children. He also leaves behind bassist Robert “Kool” Bell as the band’s last surviving founding member.
A rep emailed NewsOne to list some of Brown’s notable accolades, including his influence on the production of hip-hop music, in particular, as well as other popular genres:
Brown’s signature drumming on the early Kool & The Gang recordings has been heavily sampled years later by countless artists across all genres ranging from the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill, P. Diddy, DJ Kool, Mase, Too Short, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh prince, Boogie Down Productions, Brand Nubian, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, N.W.A., Kris’s Kross Jermaine Dupri and The Killers.
Brown also released his memoir in 2023, “Too Hot: Kool & The Gang And Me.”
A spokesperson says that fans are encouraged to make a donation in Brown’s honor to the Lung Cancer Society of America.
NewsOne extends condolences to Brown’s family and loved ones.
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