Kool & the Gang’s Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell Dies at 68
Kool & the Gang co-founder Ronald “Khalis” Bell, who was credited as a writer and producer on the group’s biggest hits — among them: 1980’s “Celebration” and 1985’s “Cherish” — died Wednesday Sept. 9 at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, his wife and agent Tia Sinclair Bell said in a statement on Sept. 10. He was 68. The cause of death has not been revealed.
Bell was a driving force behind Kool & the Gang, composing, arranging, producing and performing with the group which saw success in multiple decades over 50 years. In addition to the aforementioned earworms of our time, other hits by the band included “Get Down On It” and “Fresh.”
In 1964, Bell and his brother Robert “Kool” formed a band with Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. They went through several iterations as the Jazziacs, The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & the Flames before Kool & the Gang was launched blending jazz, soul and funk sounds.
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