At the Kimmel Center, a gala to honor Kool & the Gang

Kim Glovas
November 12, 2019 - 4:00 am
Dennis Thomas, James "JT" Taylor, Robert "Kool" Bell, Ronald Bell, and George Brown of Kool & The Gang pose with their awards.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Kimmel Center will be lit up Tuesday night for the 2019 Marian Anderson Award, and the recipient is a band that laid down the soundtrack of a generation.  

Kool & the Gang combined rhythm and blues, soul and disco to create a sound that moved the world in the '70s and '80s, and beyond. Ronald Bell and his brother, Robert "Kool" Bell, created the band but never imagined this.

"Surprise, pleasantly surprised. It's a really high honor. I've seen alot of people receive that, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, ya know and a lot of others. It's really an honor, really," said Ronald Bell. 

He says all the band wanted to do was create music and, as John Coltraine said, "make people happy through music." 

Bell says Kool & the Gang has been playing for 50 years.

"We had no idea that 50 years later, we'd be receiving a Marian Anderson Award, or a star on Hollywood and Grammys and all these other things they give you for making music," he added.