Hall of Fame Inductees of Montclair

Montclair-based Kool & the Gang are soon to be inducted into the 2015 New Jersey Hall of Fame. Their contributions have truly impacted society.

Residents to be inducted into 2015 N.J. Hall of Fame.

Jazz neon sign.
© Pablo Caridad | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Carla Harris, who resides in Montclair, will be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame as well as the legendary R & B/Jazz Funk band, “Kool & the Gang.” Montclair resident Carla Harris is Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Managing Director and was Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Foundation from 2005 to 2014. She was also named as one of the 50 most powerful Black Executives in Corporate America. She will receive the “Unsung Hero Award.”

The legendary R&B/Jazz Funk band “Kool & the Gang” will be inducted in the “Performing Arts” category. Kool & the Gang’s debut album was released on the De-Lite label in 1970.  The band has recorded 23 studio albums, four live albums, 17 compilation albums and 68 singles. Kool & the Gang has sold over 70 million albums worldwide. They didn’t do too bad in the awards department either: two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 top 10 R&B hits, nine top 10 pop hits and 31 Gold and Platinum albums. Kool & the Gang has performed continuously for 45 years, longer than any R&B group in history.

Another distinction that Kool & the Gang has is that, other than James Brown, they are one of the most sampled groups in music history.

Here are the top 10 Kool & the Gang songs that are still popular today: #10. “Country Junky” (Good Times, 1972), #9. “Celebration” (from Celebrate! 1980), #8. “Too Hot” (from Ladies’ Night, 1979), #7. “Fresh” (12” Remix, originally from Fresh, 1984), #6. “Summer Madness” (from Light of Worlds, 1974), #5. “Get Down On It” (from Something Special, 1981), #4. “Hollywood Swinging” (from Wild and Peaceful, 1973), #3. “Sport” (from Lightnin Rod’s Hustler’s Convention, 1973), #2. “Jungle Boogie” (from Wild and Peaceful, 1973), #1. “Steppin Out” (from Something Special, 1981).

The original members of the band are: Robert “Kool” Bell, Bass; Clifford Adams, Trombone; Ronald Bell, Keyboards; George Brown, Drums; Robert Mikens, Trumpet; Charles Smith, Guitar; Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Alto Sax. One original member, Adams, died of liver cancer in January 2015. The Clifford Adams not only played with Kool & the Gang, but also played with Patti La Belle and the Bluebells, the Stylistics and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He also released two solo albums as well, titled “The Master Power” and “I Feel Your Spirit.”

The New Jersey Hall of Fame is an organization that honors individuals from the U.S. State of New Jersey who have made contributions to society and the world beyond. This year’s complete list of inductees are:

  • Arts and Letters: James Fenimore Cooper, Anna Quindlen
  • Enterprise: William Fox, Lewis Katz, Bernard Marcus
  • Performing Arts: Kool & the Gang, Jon Stewart
  • Public Service: Jack H. Jacobs, Frank Lautenburg
  • Sports: Derek Jeter, Christie Rampone, Dick Vitale
  • Unsung Hero: Carla Harris

Kool & the Gang maintains a business office in Montclair, N.J.

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