Ronald “Khalis” Bell, co-founder of Kool & the Gang, died yesterday of an undisclosed cause at the age of 68. Bell was a singer, songwriter, producer and saxophonist. Just a few of the songs Bell composed, produced and performed include Celebration, Get Down On It, Jungle Boogie, Cherish, Hollywood Swinging and Summer Madness. Celebration is in the Grammy Song Hall of Fame and Bell is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Kool & the Gang, which Bell co-founded with his brother, Robert in 1969 released their first album in 1970. Khalis and his brother remained in the band which underwent many group member changes over the years but still continued to produce music their fans loved.
Ronald “Khalis” Bell, along with Kool & the Gang, created music that brings back great memories. I was in Junior High when Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging broke big. Both songs still bring a smile to my face. When I was in high school and college they continued to be a part of fun times with songs like Ladies Night, Celebration and more. Bell’s song Summer Madness was even featured in Rocky. Their hits continued in the 80s with songs like Too Hot, Joanna, Cherish (a great love song), and Fresh.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ronald “Khalis” Bell’s family, friends and fans.