The O'Jays & Kool and The Gang
$45 | $55 | $65
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The O'Jays are touring history,a connection to an era and a sound that formed the soundtrack for thelives of several generations. The O’Jays are still hitting the road with the same electrifying energythey’ve had for over 50 years.Walter Williams and Eddie Levert first met when theywere the ages of 6 and 7 respectively. Asteenagers in Canton, Ohio, they formed a band originally consisting of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams,William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles. In 1963, the band took the name "The O'Jays" in tribute toCleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O'Jay. Several members have changed, but the core, original leadsingers Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, continue to front the group.In 1972, Gamble & Huff, a team of producers and songwriters with whom the O'Jays had been workingfor several years, signed the group to their Philadelphia International label. With this magic formula,often called The Sound of Philadelphia, The O’Jays scored the first number 1 and million-seller,“Backstabbers.” Subsequently, they succeeded with various chart-topping pop and R&B singles including“Love Train”, “Put Your Hands Together”, “For The Love of Money”, “I Love Music”, “Darlin’ Darlin’Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)”, “Livin’ For The Weekend” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.” This success propelledThe O’Jays to be the first black vocal group to perform in arenas throughoutAmerica during the 70s and80s.Eddie and Walter have a rare lifelong bond that few of us will ever experience; friends and partners foralmost 65 years. “We still appreciateour friendship, dedication to each other and the group and ourlove for good music." Walter continues, "We probably could have had great solo careers, but I don'tthink either one of us could have ever have been as big as The O'Jays."
Walter Williams could beconsidered a hero as he has battled Multiple Sclerosis or “MS” for 30 years and continues to execute hisdance moves with perfection when performing on-stage with the group. Walter is also a volunteerNational Ambassador for the MS Society and a spokesperson for MS Active Source. Eddie Levert isknown for his raspy voice and has a range that takes him from alto to second tenor. Levert teamed upwith his son Gerald for a duet on “Baby Hold On To Me”, which hit number one on the R&B charts.Eddie has also mentored his very successful sons Gerald and Sean who became majorforces in themusic industry.The O'Jays were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. They were inducted into the VocalGroup Hall of Fame in 2005 and honored with BET's Life Time Achievement Award in 2009. In 2013, theywere inducted into The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame. Today, the songs of The O’Jays are still beingused in many movies, commercials and TV shows. “For The Love of Money” continues to be the themesong for “The Apprentice.”Eddie Levert Sr., Walter Williams Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1995, continue tothrill fans today. Throughout their career The O'Jays have achieved 10 Gold albums, 9 Platinum albumsand 10 #1 hits. It's been a long journey but thanks to the fans the LOVE TRAIN is still going strong!
With the explosion of hip-hop in the 90’s, Kool & the Gang’s incredible catalog of grooves made them DJ favorites. They were second only to R&B icon James Brown as sources of rap music samples.
Today, the group enjoys global fame and recognition and a following that spans generations due in part to the groups widely sampled catalogue. Kool & the Gang’s drum beats, bass, guitar and signature horn lines lace the tracks of numerous artists including the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill, and P. Diddy. Kool & the Gang is the most sampled band in hip-hop by far. Their music is also featured on the soundtracks for Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction, Wreck-It Ralph and countless others.
In 2014, they were honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award and in October 2015, in the town they sing about in one of their earliest hits, “Hollywood Swinging,” Kool & the Gang was honored to take their place as American musical icons with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2016, they released a single, "Sexy (Where’d You Get Yours),” which rose to #15 on the Billboard Adult R& B chart. The song signifies a modernization of Kool & the Gang’s unmistakable sound, down to the dance floor-tailored bass grooves and the perfectly timed horns. It was their first airplay chart hit in a decade.
Kool & the Gang’s 50th Anniversary is just around the corner. Here is how they have begun to celebrate the milestone:
Induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
In a touching tribute, a street they grew up on in Jersey City has been renamed in their honor: “Kool & the Gang Way.”
“Celebration” was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame
Kool’s bass is displayed at the new Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
Artifacts from the band’s archive have recently gone on display, next to Count Basie, at the newly- opened Grammy Museum Experience in Newark, NJ.
Induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.