‘Celebration,’ Kool & the Gang

J.T. Taylor of Kool and the Gang.

J.T. Taylor of Kool and the Gang.

It’s a song that fills a purpose. You need something to get the crowd pumped up at a wedding, or a bar mitzvah, or a sports event after the home team has won, and so you play Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.”

People have been doing that for 35 years now. The words can fit almost any happy occasion: “Celebrate good times, come on!”

(The is the last song in the daily, nearly year-long 350 Jersey Songs series. Cause for celebration, for me at least!)

I’ve included two other songs on the list by this Jersey band — “Kool and the Gang” and “Jungle Boogie” — but those are from 1969 and 1973, respectively. “Celebration,” the band’s only No. 1 hit (though it made it into the Top 10 on 11 other occasions), was from 1980, after it had transformed itself into a very different kind of act with the addition of the smoothly charming singer J.T. Taylor, who grew up in Hackensack and worked as a schoolteacher and a singer in local groups before getting the job. It was with Taylor, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, that Kool & the Gang had most of its biggest hits, including “Ladies’ Night,” “Joanna,” “Get Down on It” and “Cherish.”

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter