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'Kool and the Gang' Co-Founder Ronald Bell Dead at Age 68

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Ronald “Khalis” Bell, famed singer and musician, died Wednesday at the age of 68.

Publicist Sujata Murthy confirmed his passing to Fox News. Bell died at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the cause of death has not been confirmed.

Bell had long been honing his craft, enjoying great musical success over the years. He started in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1964, drumming on paint cans along with his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell.

The two eventually moved from their hometown, added some inexpensive drums to their paint can lineup, and started playing in New York’s Greenwich Village.

They didn’t make much money or get much notice in those early days.

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“We’d make about $5 in three weeks,” Khalis told Rolling Stone in 2015.

But they were determined, and they kept at it, going through a variety of names as they sharpened their skills, wrote songs, played with a few related styles, added members to their group and did a variety of local shows.

“Kool & the Gang” included five high school friends alongside the Bell brothers, and in 1973, their album “Wild and Peaceful” put them on the map.

As the years passed, the group racked up more and more hits. Khalis Bell co-wrote some of their best-known songs, including “Jungle Boogie,” “Celebration” and “Ladies Night,” according to Rolling Stone.

“I was reading scripture where the creator’s gonna create and made an announcement that he’s gonna create this human thing, to angels, and the angels were celebrating him for doing so, and that’s also where the idea came from,” Bell said.

“Three Dog Night had songs about ‘Celebrate’ but there was never a song about a cel-e-bra-tion. Everyone around the world, come on, there’s a celebration every second of our lives. Somewhere, someone is always celebrating something.”

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The group has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and has 31 gold or platinum albums.

At the time of his death, Bell was still actively working on music and animated shorts. He may be gone, but his legacy will be remembered every time one of his songs is heard on a soundtrack, in an advertisement or at a wedding.

Bell is survived by his wife and 10 children.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking