Kool & the Gang – "Misled"

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One day I'm going to explain, at length, why Kool & The Gang are disgusting.* A funk collective responsible for one of the unfunkiest numbers of all time, despite its totemic value for white people ("Jungle Boogie"); and one of pop music's grisliest anthems ("Celebration," the very mention of which conjurs Sunday afternoons at Planet Hollywood with my parents), they should have by rights started hitting the Econo-Lodge circuit in 1984. Instead, they scored two R&B #1's and an unbelievable three pop Top Ten hits off their Emergency album ("Fresh" ain't as bad as "Cherish" – a sop to the New Edition fanbase complete with harmonies which define "treacle.").

The classic in the bunch – indeed my pick for the best song Kool and his gang ever constructed – is "Misled," another one of those "Beat It" clones in which R&B smoothies put the moves on an Eddie Van Halen wannabe for some discreet post-concert necking (to be fair, the previous year's "Tonight" presaged this blessed union, without "Misled"'s fury). Not quite as lissome as Ray Parker, Jr.'s "The Other Woman," Run DMC's "Can You Rock It Like This?" or Billy Ocean's "Loverboy," the riffage on "Misled" is as heavy as a Chevy, the distorted is-it-a-bass-or-a-synth an added bonus, and James "J.T." Taylor coaxes himself into a fine froth when he and that guitar take turns setting the chorus aflame. All in all, a fine first single...sullied by its followups. Now somebody sample this fucker.

*Andy gives it a go.