Chart Performance: Pop (#1), R&B (#1), and Dance (#1); 1981
Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne
The roots of Celebration‘s universal message of inspiration lay in the Qur’an. According to Khalis Bayyan (Ronald Bell), musical director for Kool & The Gang, he worked off the passage where God created Adam amidst a celebration of angels. In addition, the group’s 1979 #1 Ladies Night prominently featured the line, “Come on, let’s all celebrate.” When Khalis first heard the playback of Celebration, he knew they’d created an international anthem. The rest of the world agreed. On January 26, 1981, Celebration greeted the returning Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days. When it soared into #1 on the pop chart twelve days later, it marked the first time Kool & The Gang had reached that peak since they’d first charted in September of 1969. Appropriately, Celebration was one of only two songs qualified for platinum certification in 1981 (the other being Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s Endless Love).
This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.
- Eumir Deodato
- Kool & the Gang
Lyrics Written by:
- Ronald Nathan Bell
- Claydes Charles Smith
- George Melvin Brown
- James “J.T.” Taylor
- Robert Spike Mickens
- Earl Eugene Toon Jr.
- Dennis Ronald Thomas
- Robert Earl Bell
- Eumir Deodato
- Grammy Hall of Fame (2016)
- National Recording Registry (2021)
- American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single (1981)
- Soul Train Music Award for Best Dance Single (1981)
- Nominated for Grammy Award for Record of the Year (1981)
- Nominated for Grammy Award for Song of the Year (1981)