This week’s dance playlist kicks off with Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” which hit #1 on this date in 1981. The song had prominent television exposure for the couple of weeks prior, as it was played during the 1981 Super Bowl and when the American hostages returned home from Iran on January 26 after 444 days in captivity.
Kool & the Gang were a funk band whose fortunes were on the decline as the seventies progressed. They scored two top ten singles in 1974, “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging,” but no more until they recruited a new lead vocalist, James “JT” Taylor, and were paired with a new producer, Eumir Deodato.
Deodato’s first record with the band was 1979’s Ladies Night, whose title track returned the group to the top ten. This was quickly followed by the top ten hit “Too Hot.”
Deodato’s next record with the band was Celebrate!, from which “Celebration” was taken. To this day the song is played at a myriad of celebratory events, making it a dance classic.