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Nov 052016

claydes-charles-smithJune 20, 2006 – Claydes “Charles” Smith (Kool & the Gang) was born on September 6, 1948 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was introduced to jazz guitar by his father at age 12.

A couple of years later in the early 1960s he got together with some New Jersey jazz musicians, including Ronald Bell aka Khalis Bayyan, Robert “Kool” Bell, George Brown, Dennis Thomas and Robert “Spike” Mickens, and they soon became known as Kool & the Gang.

Other members would include lead singer James “JT” Taylor. They were one of the major groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B, and pop and enjoyed a return to stardom during the 1980s. The group remained hugely popular from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Charles wrote the hits “Joanna” and “Take My Heart,” and was a co-writer of others, including “Celebration,” “Hollywood Swinging,” and “Jungle Boogie.”

Illness forced him to stop touring with the group in January 2006. He passed away due to an unknown prolonged illness at age 57 on June 20, 2006.