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  • Kool & the Gang Guitarist Dead at 57

    Fri, 23 Jun 2006 16:44:21

    Kool & the Gang Guitarist Dead at 57 - Claydes Charles Smith wrote hits like "Joanna," "Jungle Boogie."

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    Claydes Charles Smith, a founding member of the durable funk/pop group Kool & the Gang, died Tuesday (June 20) near his home in Maplewood, New Jersey after a long illness. He was 57.

    Smith was the group's lead guitarist and one of its principal songwriters. In addition to writing hits like "Joanna" and "Take My Heart," Smith co-wrote the two songs for which the group is probably best-known: "Jungle Boogie," a '70s funk anthem that enjoyed a resurgence after it was featured in the film Pulp Fiction, and "Celebration," a 1980 hit that has graced many a roller rink and disco-themed club night over the years.

    Smith's publicist did not specify the exact nature of the guitarist's illness, which forced him to stop touring with the group in January.

    --The ARTISTdirect Staff

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