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Straight out of Houston, Texas, this R&B vocal group was one of the main acts on Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records.


Founder of the group, Archie Bell is Jerry Bell's older brother. They signed with the Houston-based record label, Ovide, in 1967 and recorded a number of songs, including "She's My Woman" and "Tighten Up", which was recorded in October 1967 at the first of several sessions in which the Drells were backed by the instrumental group the T.S.U. Toronadoes.

Bell asked Butler what it was, and Butler told him the name. Bell then put together the famous track, which hit the charts following his induction into the Army.​ "Tighten Up" was written by Archie Bell and Billy Butler, contained Archie Bell prodding listeners to dance to the funky musical jam developed by the T.S.U. Toronadoes, and it became a hit in Houston before it was picked up by Atlantic Records for distribution in April 1968. By the summer it topped both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. It also received a R.I.A.A. gold disc by selling 1 million copies.




The band consisted of Robert "Kool" Bell (bass), Ronald Bell (keyboards), Robert Mickens (trumpet), Dennis Thomas (saxophone), Ricky West, George Brown (drums), and Charles Smith (guitar).​

The band's debut album, Kool and the Gang (1969), produced three hit singles on the pop and R&B charts of Billboard magazine. Wild and Peaceful (1973) gave the band three more hits: "Funky Stuff" in the Top 40 pop chart and "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging" in the Top 10. The latter two songs sold over one million copies and were certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.​ In 1979, James "J.T." Taylor joined as lead singer. Kool and the Gang starting working with Brazilian fusion musician Eumir Deodato as producer, and they moved away from funk and closer to rhythm & blues and pop music. The songs "Ladies' Night" and "Too Hot" were hits[8] and the album was certifiedplatinum by the RIAA


More international hits followed in the early 1980s, including "Big Fun", "Get Down on It", and "Joanna". The album Emergency (1984) yielded four Top 20 pop hits, including "Fresh" and "Cherish".


Thomas Randolph Bell (born January 26, 1943) is a Jamaican-born American songwriter, arranger, and record producer known as one of the creators of Philadelphia soul in the 1970s.

Bell was classically trained as a musician, he moved to Philadelphia as a child but as a teenager had sung with Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oatesfame). Bell brought a startlingly mellifluous, hypnotic haut en couleur style and ravishing magnificence to soul music and soon his excelsior production talents yielded several big hits for the group on the Philly Groove label, run by their manager Stan Watson. These included "La-La (Means I Love You)" and "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," the latter nominated for a Grammy Award in 1970.

Bell had also joined the fast-growing record production company operated by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in Philadelphia, working as an arranger for acts such as Jerry Butler, Archie Bell & The Drells, The O'Jays and Dusty Springfield.


By 1971, Bell had moved on to produce another local group, The Stylistics, this time on Avco Records. By then, he had teamed up with the Philadelphia-born songwriter, Linda Creed and this partnership, along with Russell Thompkins, Jr., the lead singer of the Stylistics, generated three albums full of memorable tracks. Bell and Creed became one of the era's dominant soul songwriting teams, penning hits such as "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)", "You Are Everything", "Betcha by Golly, Wow", "Break Up to Make Up", "You Make Me Feel Brand New," and "I'm Stone in Love with You" (the latter with Anthony Bell).



Al Bell (born Alvertis Isbell, March 15, 1940, in Brinkley, Arkansas, United States) is an American record producer, songwriter, and record executive.


He is best known as having been an executive and co-owner of Stax Records, based in Memphis, Tennessee, during the latter half of the label's 19-year existence.​


Following his career at Stax, Bell became president of Motown Records Group during its restructuring for sale to MCA and Boston Ventures Group. He later started his own label, Bellmark, whose releases included Tag Team's single “Whoomp! (There It Is)” (1993). Today, Bell works in the independent music scene in Memphis and maintains an online music website and radio show at

Bell joined Stax in 1965 as director of promotions and was essential in aiding the growth of the company's revenue. Over the next three years, he rose through the ranks of the company, eventually becoming executive vice president and the most influential figure in the company after co-founder Jim Stewart.

In 1968, following the plane crash that killed Stax's biggest star, Otis Redding, Stax severed its distribution deal with Atlantic Records, who retained the label's back catalog to that point. Bell launched an initiative designed to put out enough albums and singles in an effort to rebuild a catalog for Stax. New signees included gospel stars the Staple Singers as well as newcomers the Emotions and the Soul Children. Bell notably scheduled twenty-seven albums for near-simultaneous release in mid-1969 and produced much of the material himself.​