Kool & The Gang

Kool & The Gang must forever live in the shadow of K.C. & The Sunshine Band. Their song “Celebration” deserves better. It lacks the lyrical wit of the K.C. catalog*, but it packs a similar joyfulness and rhythmic insistence. “Celebration” could easily have been the B-side of K.C.’s “Boogie Man” or “That’s the Way (I Like It).”

Three minutes of music from your youth will reliably transport you right back there, and so it is with “Celebration.” In 1980 and ’81 the Seattle Mariners played “Celebration” after every victory in the old Kingdome. Unfortunately, “victory” and “Mariners” were rarely paired in the sports pages in those long-ago days. The club lacked something…don’t tell me, I’ll have it in a moment…oh yes. Talent.

When the meek inherit the earth, you can bet the Mariners will be out of town
Consider the six Mariner catchers of that era: Bull, Skip, Sarge, Moose, Naha, and Scrap Iron. You wouldn’t want to meet one of these boys in a dark alley. He’d probably trip and fall into a dumpster. Together Bull and his colleagues whacked 53 homers as Mariners, a bone-crunching pace of one every three weeks. They were, on average, 6 feet tall, weighed about 200, and batted .200. They were all right-handed but would probably have done just as well with the other hand. They were as speedy as a sackful of doorknobs. But they had the nicknames, and I envy them that. I had to invent my own because nobody I know is ever going to call me Moose.

I remember those Mariner teams and their sometimes-inspired promotions (Funny Nose and Glasses Night) with fondness, and “Celebration,” because I heard it so rarely, was a gift. Just like the S.S. Mariner, which rose on its hydraulic lift beyond the centerfield fence and fired a thunderous one-gun broadside every time a Mariner hit a homerun. I didn’t see or hear much of that back then, either.
It’s time to come together
It’s up to you, what’s-your-pleas-ure?
Ev-’ry-one a-rooouuund the world
Come on!

* Kool & The Gang, don’t forget, afflicted us with “Jungle Boogie.” What kind of song says “get down” and “boogie” 30 times each but “baby” only once? C’mon, guys, at least buy her some flowers.

  1. Clark says:

    All I know is from now on, I’m calling you Moose.

  2. Clark says:

    You c’mon, guy … don’t leave us hanging. What nickname did you invent for yourself? Inquiring minds, and all that …

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