This post-disco, upbeat dance song was Kool & the Gang's only American #1. It is commonly played at weddings, parties, sporting events and just about anywhere there is something to be celebrated.
The song is appropriate at everything from a bar mitzvah to a graduation because the lyrics are so generic, referring to a "party," "good times" and a "celebration."
Kool & the Gang's sax player Ronald Bell, also known as Khalis Bayyan, told Billboard that the song came out of a time of religious study. "The initial idea came from reading the Q'uran," he explained. "I was reading the passage where God was creating Adam, and the angels were celebrating and singing praises. That inspired me to write the basic chords and the line, Everyone around the world, come on, let's celebrate."
This song was foreshadowed in the hit "Ladies Night" with the lyrics "Come on, let's all celebrate" near the end. According to Ronald Bell, that was "the key to finishing 'Celebration.'"
No one close to the band was surprised by the song's enduring popularity as a celebratory anthem. In fact, lead singer J.T. Taylor's mother predicted it. Taylor told Billboard: "My mother told me when she heard it, 'You're gonna play this song for the rest of your life - so get ready!"
This song was played to help welcome home the 52 freed American hostages from Iran in 1981. Three years later in 1984 it was played to hail presidential candidate Walter Mondale's nomination at the Democratic convention.
Wondering how this got in the "Songs with names of cities in the title" category? There is a city in Florida called Celebration. It's associated with Disney and is a bucolic tourist destination.
This has been featured on the TV shows WKRP in Cincinnati ("An Explosive Affair: Part 2"), The Nanny ("Val's Apartment"), Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("The Prom"), The West Wing ("In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part II"), Gilmore Girls ("Bon Voyage"), The Simpsons ("Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", "You Kent Always Say What You Want"), Everybody Hates Chris ("Everybody Hates Tattaglia"), South Park ("About Last Night"), and Parks and Recreation ("The Bubble").
This was also used in the 2010 movie Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts.
In 1992 a cover by Kylie Minogue reached #20 in the UK.
Like "Ladies Night," this features backing vocals from the female group Something Sweet.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 10th 1981 Kool & the Gang performed "Celebration" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'... Three months earlier on October October 19th, 1980 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 1st it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent over a half-year on the Top 100 (30 weeks, and 7 of those 30 weeks were on the Top 10)...)... And on December 20th, 1980 it reached #1 on two other Billboard charts; on the R&B Singles chart for 6 weeks and on Hot Dance Club Play for 5 weeks... Was track one on side one of their 12th studio album, 'Celebrate!', and the album reached #2 on the Billboard's Top R&B Albums and #10 on the Top 200 Albums chart... One other track from the album also made the Top 100, "Jones vs. Jones", it peaked at #39 and stayed on the Top 100 for 11 weeks... Claydes Charles Smith, the group's co-founder & lead guitarist, passed away on June 20th, 2006 at the young age of 57... May he R.I.P.
Camille from Toronto, OhJust saw Kool & The Gang last night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA. They were the opening act for Van Halen. I loved Kool's sound, their energy & the brass. Plus, you CAN NOT go wrong with this song! Popular in my hey-day when I was in my early 20s, these days even my 19 year old son knows the tune & words to the song. Everyone wants to dance AND sing along with this!
Thegripester from Wellington, New ZealandHere is an alternate version of the lyrics: Sell-a-brate good deal, at Ford! Let's celebrate! X2
There's a sale goin' on right here, We got to move the models from last year So bring your checkbook, and your trade-ins too. We've got some outrageous bargains for you.
Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
Isaac from C-town, OhThe song was recorded as a "celebration" for the success of a popular single on the album, and the overall success of the entire album. "Celebration" went on to get a higher spot on the charts