Ohio’s Kool & The Gang, known for hits like “Get Down on It,” “Ladies Night,” and “Celebration,” has secured a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After learning of the induction, Singer-songwriter Robert “Kool” Bell, the band’s sole surviving founding member, was elated by the news.

“It’s been 60 years,” Bell told Rolling Stone. “We finally made it!”

During the interview, Bell, 73, discussed the long-awaited prestigious honor, Kool & The Gang’s legacy, reminisced about touring alongside some of the greatest rock bands in music history and expressed how he felt celebrating without his bandmates, including his late brother Ronald Bell, by his side to witness the momentous occasion.

Robert, born in Youngstown, Ohio, lived close to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where a selection of the band’s instruments had been previously inducted into the museum before Kool & The Gang’s induction.

When asked why the induction took so long, Robert said people had asked him several times. However, he knew he and his bandmates deserved to be honored alongside the other legendary musicians. 

“Every year, people would say, “You’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? I thought you was in there by now.” I said, “No. Maybe one day they’ll recognize us and give us some love. After all, I’m a Buckeye. I’m from Ohio. Give me a break,” Robert expressed, per Rolling Stone. 

Throughout the band’s illustrious career, they have garnered a Grammy Award, a Soul Train Award and several American Music Awards for their timeless hits. Kool & The Gang also had an opportunity to tour with Van Halen in 2012 and went on to open for Kid Rock, Dave Matthews Band, Elton John and Rod Stewart. 

Kool & The Gang has had several members, many of whom joined the group years after its 1964 inception in Jersey City, New Jersey. However, the Hall of Fame news came after the passing of original members George Brown, Dennis Thomas and Ronald Bell. 

Despite losing family and close friends, Robert Bell is grateful for being alive and witnessing their hard work being recognized.

“I was just talking about this to George’s wife,” Robert said. “The thing is, we go all the way back. It started with Spike Mickens, Claydes Smith, Dennis Thomas, George Brown and my brother Ronald. All my family is gone. I’m happy to be around though. We could have all been gone. [Singer] James “J.T.” Taylor is also part of this [induction]. He joined us in the Eighties, and we had a lot of hits with him as well.” 

Bell and Taylor plan to reunite in Cleveland, but their plans have yet to be revealed. The pair joins other inductees like Mary J. Blige, A Tribe Called Quest, Dionne Warwick and more.