Editor’s Note: When we initially published this story, we unfortunately posted the wrong photo (of Robert Bell). The photo above is correct.
*The R&B world has lost another soulful soul. We’ve just learned from Double XXposure Media Relations that Ronald Bell (a/k/a Khalis Bayyan), co-founder of the legendary band, Kool & the Gang, has died. He passed away on Tuesday, September 9, 2020 at the age of 68.
Here’s more from the release on the passing on Ronald Bell of Kool and the Gang:
With his older brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald/Khalis began playing together in the mid 1960’s as the Jazziacs in Jersey City, NJ. By the end of the decade, after a few personnel changes, the group became known as Kool & the Gang.
A self-taught musician who mastered the saxophone and keyboard instruments, Ronald/Khalis emerged as Kool & the Gang’s principal composer and arranger. With contributions from group members, Ronald/Khalis wrote the smash hits, “Jungle Boogie”, “Hollywood Swinging”, “Get Down On It” and the band’s first number one record, “Celebration”. In addition, their classic, “Summer Madness”, featured Ronald/Khalis on the ARP synthesizer.
His contributions helped Kool & the Gang earn multiple gold and platinum record awards with worldwide sales totaling over 70 million copies sold. In addition, the band earned seven American Music Awards and two Grammy Awards. Ronald/Khalis, along with Robert/Kool, were inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
Ronald/Khalis is survived by his wife, Tia, his children as well as brother Robert “Kool” Bell, fellow band members and family.