Hollywood Swinging

Album: Wild and Peaceful (1973)
Charted: 6
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  • With their record label, De-Lite, pushing them to be more commercial, Kool & the Gang gathered at a New York studio in September 1973 to record a cover of "Soul Makossa," a record by African-born sax player Manu Dibango that had been heating up Harlem that spring. Instead, the session yielded three hot tracks of their own, including their first #1 R&B hit, "Hollywood Swinging." Ronald Bell, the group's saxophonist and musical director, recalled in a Billboard interview: "We all met for rehearsal at 11:00 am the next morning, and made up 'Funky Stuff, 'Jungle Boogie,' and 'Hollywood Swinging' right there. We recorded them that night at Mediasound on 57th Street - Studio B, downstairs in what used to be the old church morgue. It had a great sound."
  • The band's keyboardist, Rick Westfield, sings lead on this and was also a driving force in creating the track, which tells the story of seeing Kool & the Gang live onstage and wanting to become "a bad piano-playing man." Ronald Bell explained: "Rick wrote the verses, and it's a true story. We did play in Hollywood [to record Live at P.J.s] and he was taken by it. But while it was a true story, it was really for everybody. As kids, Kool and I used to go see John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Art Blakey, all the jazz greats. We looked up to them and wanted to 'get into a band'."
  • This was featured in the movies Be Cool (2005), starring John Travolta, and Roll Bounce (2005), starring hip hop artist Bow Wow.
  • This was also used in the sitcoms Martin, A Different World, and Lizzie McGuire, and the crime-drama series Criminal Minds.
  • Rapper Mase sampled this in his 1997 hit single "Feel So Good."
  • In 2004, Kool & the Gang re-recorded this as a collaboration with the British funk/acid jazz group Jamiroquai, who had previously covered the tune in 1997. It was the lead single from the Gang's compilation album Hits: Reloaded, but failed to chart.
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Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1974 {April 27th} Kool and the Gang performed "Hollywood Swinging" on the ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon special , 'Action '74'...
    At the time the song was at position #76 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, ten weeks later it would peak at #6 {for 1 week} and it spent nineteen weeks on the Top 100...
    And on June 2nd, 1974 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart...
    Between 1969 and 2006 the Jersey City, NJ band had forty-four records on the Hot Soul Singles chart, twenty-five made the Top 10 with nine* reaching the #1 position...
    Kool, born Robert Earl Bell, will celebrate his 69th birthday this coming October 8th, 2019...
    * The band just missed having two more #1 records when both their "Jungle Boogie" {1973} and "Victory" {1986} peaked at #2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart...
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