Kool & The Gang were one of the few ’70s soul bands to successfully transition into the ’80s and actually become bigger in the latter decade. They did so by adapting their sound to the times, which to some critics, represented an unforgivable sin. I prefer latter-day Kool to earlier Kool (although both iterations are great). But I also a) have a pronounced bent towards more commercial-sounding music and b) grew up in the ’80s so I sort of experienced Kool & The Gang in reverse. I was way more familiar with the band in its second iteration than in its first.
Anyway, “Get Down On It” is one of the best known tracks from Kool Mark II’s catalog. It’s a simple exhortation to dance, powered by chants of “get yo’ back up off the wall!”. This is actually a sentiment that’d been expressed several times by the band in its funkier incarnation. The main difference between “Get Down On It” and a song like, say, “Hollywood Swingin'” is James “J.T.” Taylor, the lead vocalist Kool & The Gang installed in 1979 as they began their re-ascent to pop glory. Even at his funkiest, Taylor had a Nat “King” Cole smoothness about him, which was certainly more pleasing to the top 40-listening ear than the group chants of yesteryear.
A great song makes you feel emotions or dazzles you with wordplay. “Get Down On It” isn’t a great song. It’s a great groove. Joyful and spirited, you’re practically lured out of a sitting position from that very first downbeat. So what are you waiting for? You know you wanna dance. Get your back up off the wall!
I’m including this Solid Gold clip instead of “Get Down On It”‘s actual video, because the video for “Get Down On It” is absolutely horrid. Go look it up for yourself if you don’t believe me.