The other day, while driving somewhere to somewhere, the son and I started listening to “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang. And by listening, I don’t mean the-song-is-playing-and-we’re-talking-over-it. Nope, we actually listened. To the words. To the cadence. To the instruments. To everything.
And, together, we came to this conclusion: “Celebration” is a fucking brilliant piece of music.
You’ve heard it 1,000 times. At every wedding. At every Bar Mitzvah. “Celebration” was played for years when a team won the World Series, won the Super Bowl, won the Stanley Cup. Before the Black Eyed Peas came along
and ruined everything with the dreadful “I’ve Got a Feeling,” Kool & the Gang’s most famous tune was a ubiquitous piece of party accompaniment. Hell, my grandparents were German immigrants who couldn’t tell the different between Bill Cosby and John Denver, and even they knew the words to “Celebration.”
The problem is, songs that are played at every celebration (especially ones named “Celebration”) tend to get dismissed as mere party songs. And “Celebration” is anything but. The horns are magical. The harmonies are top shelf. And I will go to my grave arguing that J.T. Taylor—the group’s lead singer during its heyday—is the most underrated frontman in music history.
So, really, take a second and listen to “Celebration” once again.
The song deserves to be celebrated.