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Gap Band

The Gap Band, centered around brothers Charlie, Ronnie, and Robert Wilson, toiled in obscurity for several years prior to becoming one of the most popular funk groups of the late '70s and 1980s. The Tulsa, OK natives produced 15 Top Ten R&B singles ranging from ferocious funk anthems to gorgeous slow jams. Many of their hits, such as "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" and "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," featured instantly memorable, rippling synthesizer basslines. All of them featured Charlie's deep, invigorating lead vocals. While casual R&B fans and most critics associate the Gap Band with the early '80s, the Wilsons' run of hits spanned nearly 20 years, from 1977 through 1995.

Born and raised in Tulsa, OK, the Wilson brothers began singing and playing in their father's Pentecostal church; at home, music lessons were mandatory. They learned various instruments, primarily the piano. As much as they despised the lessons at the time, they proved to be invaluable. Ronnie, the oldest sibling, established his own band by the age of 14. Charlie, a few years younger, joined a rival band a couple years later. One night, the two bands were performing across the street from one another. Ronnie stopped by to check out Charlie grooving on the organ. While there, Ronnie asked Charlie to join his band for 50 dollars over what he was making. Though Charlie's bandmates doubled that offer, he joined his brother's band. Ronnie gave him no choice.

At a gig not too long after the two had joined forces, the bass player quit and Ronnie and Charlie summoned their younger brother Robert, barely 14, to take the spot. For a short while, the band performed without a name but eventually settled on the Greenwood, Archer & Pine Street Band. As advertising such a name on posters was cumbersome, the Wilsons shortened the name to the G.A.P. Street Band. Due to a typographical error, they were advertised as the Gap Band, and it stuck.

The band performed at venues around the Tulsa area, including country & western joints, tennis clubs, and rock clubs. However, by the middle of the 1970s, Charlie left Tulsa to explore his possibilities in Los Angeles. A short time later, he convinced his brothers to join him. The bandmembers floundered until they met entertainment businessman Lonnie Simmons through their friend, singer/songwriter/musician D.J. Rogers. Simmons owned a recording studio and nightclub, both of which were dubbed Total Experience (also the name that would appear on Gap Band releases during the '80s), and signed the Wilsons along with their nine bandmates.

The Gap Band's first album, Magician's Holiday, was released in 1974 to little fanfare. A self-titled album followed three years later; despite guest appearances from D.J. Rogers, Reverend James Cleveland, Chaka Khan, Leon Russell, and Les McCann, it didn't leave any chart impressions, either, though it did feature a pair of minor hits in "Out of the Blue (Can You Feel It)" -- an excellent, mellow, electric piano-driven song written by Charlie -- and "Little Bit of Love."

A deal with Mercury put the Gap Band on the fast track. A self-titled 1979 album reached number ten on Billboard's R&B chart, led by the success of "Shake" (number four R&B) and "Open Up Your Mind" (number 13 R&B). They followed it later in the year with The Gap Band II, an album that spawned two more Top Ten R&B singles. Released in 1980, The Gap Band III was their first number one R&B album, where their sound became even more distinctive. It wasn't just the voice of Charlie that stood out. "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" was the band's first major hit dominated by a synthesizer bassline, provided by Cavin Yarbrough, who scored around the same time with his and Alisa Peoples' "Don't Stop the Music." Just as those two songs defined the sound of clubs in 1980, "Yearning for Your Love" quickly became a classic ballad, and was covered a decade later by Guy (whose Aaron Hall was the younger singer most evidently inspired by Charlie's sound and style).

There's no denying that the Gap Band's peak came during the early '80s. This notion would have been easy to predict as early as 1982, when they released three major hits: "Early in the Morning" (number one R&B; covered by Robert Palmer), "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" (number two R&B), and "Outstanding" (number one R&B). Even so, it's not as if the remainder of the decade was dry for them, not when they released 16 additional charting A-sides (including the title song to Keenan Ivory Wayans' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka), six of which reached the R&B Top Ten, as well as popular albums on an almost annual basis. Their popularity waned only when they slowed their recording schedule. Three studio Gap Band albums were released during the 1990s. Charlie Wilson concentrated on his solo career, starting in 1992 with You Turn My Life Around. The singer began to reach out to a younger audience in 1996, when Snoop Dogg featured him on "Snoop's Upside Your Head." Further collaborations with Snoop, R. Kelly, and Justin Timberlake followed throughout the 2000s. In August 2010, Robert Wilson died of a heart attack. ~ Andy Kellman & Craig Lytle, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Damn straight they should be in the HOF!
If for nothing else, Early In The Morning!
... Okay...
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Once again...anot h e r group that should be in The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
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moteshita84
Old song is really
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Hell I like to get started n the morning
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altetly
Skating Rink!
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I don't remember hearing this song in the 70's, 80's, or 90's.
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desi1982.dv
Best song
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Uncle C is the man always
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Hey love it
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One of the best songs ever
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My heart is yearning
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Love old school jam keep the party going
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Have been a Gap band and charlie fan since I was knee high to the radio. Love em ������������
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ginal3425
Keep On RUNNING!!!!
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I am having a good time at work on this oldies but goodies...Un c l e Charlie still doing the damn thang!!!!!
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now this is what i am talking about good times 70 will always rock
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tonya_invest o r
I love this smooth music!
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What can get a room jumpin' faster/bette r than this?
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Can't bring those days back the best times.
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Early n tha morning...lo l . . . # M y New Life....Ms.M a j o r . .
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Uncle Charlie 40 yrs ago lol
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Jjhmmnmvmvhf m n m j m m m m h h m m ñ n n j n j m n n n n n n n ñ j ñ n j n j n m v v v ñ
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He says, You can't keep running in and out my life.
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glorygirlofg o d 1
Real music, life was oh so simple then.....peo p l e were a lot happier and took time to enjoy life
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johnmargie6
Git up and boogie!!
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Those were the days indeed!
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Those was the days l
Miss real music
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You drop the boom on me . Charlie love you.
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darcymaybe
Funny video of Laurel and Hardy dancing to this song: https://yout u . b e / K L 3 m H P m N K R E ? l i s t = P L 3 5 7 0 4 A 7 1 F 7 8 8 1 3 9 F
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Love uncle Charlie good singer
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Riding the "Party Bus" senior trip to World's Fair 1982, Knoxville, TN....Trinit y High School! Partied, danced all the way 8 hrs. GREAT TIMES!!!
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Nice roo
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This rules R. I. P. RICK JAMES.
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reeedme89
Whooo, what a song!
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The Gap Band is the "Truth", period !!!!
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My jam
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DAMN I there Sound
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ALL ABOARD!!! LETS JAM U ALL!!
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Blood is thicker than water
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Outstanding BAD A** JAM!!! Its got me goin on now hell yeah!!!
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photosr4ever
old skool groove
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I just wish that some of this new artists could bring some of this old school back
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Old school music and steal the new music today in the name of Jesus
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https://db.t t / o u h x m G M 2

This is our album Henn & Goo$e.. check us out coach city boyz on you tube.!!!

Please post it to your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You will be a believer after you listen to the album!
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that's the s**t!
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Love to do the white man dance with my teeth clenched to Party Train!
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They are
Amazing group these are my cousins love em they got the baddest music ever..
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School Days 1983
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The s**t
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Gapband
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