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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Ultimate Collection

1. Shake

3. Steppin' Out

5. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

6. Yearning For Your Love

7. Early In The Morning

8. You Dropped The Bomb On Me

9. Outstanding

10. Party Train

11. Beep A Freak

12. I Found My Baby

13. Going In Circles

14. Big Fun

15. Sweeter Than Candy

17. All Of My Love

19. We Can Make It Alright

x

Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Gap Band

1. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

2. Outstanding

3. I Don't Belive You Wanna Get Up And Dance (oops!)

4. Party Train

5. You Dropped A Bomb On Me

6. Early In The Morning

7. Yearning For Your Love

8. Shake

9. Season's No Reason To Change

10. Steppin' (Out)

11. Humpin'

x

Track List: The Ballads Collection

1. Yearning For Your Love

2. Going In Circles (Remix)

3. You Can Count On Me

4. Nothing Comes To Sleepers

5. I'm In Love

6. I Want To A Real Love

7. Outstanding

8. Season's No Reason To Change

9. No Hidiing Place

10. I'm So Satisfied

11. You 're My everything

12. You Are My High

x

Track List: Gap Gold

1. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

2. Outstanding

4. Party Train

6. You Dropped A Bomb On Me

7. Early In The Morning

8. Yearning For Your Love

9. Shake

10. Season's No Reason To Change

x

Track List: The Gap Band IV

1. Early In The Morning

2. Seasons No Reason To Change

4. Outstanding

6. You Dropped A Bomb On Me

x

Track List: The Gap Band III

1. When I Look Into Your Eyes

2. Yearning For Your Love

3. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

4. Nothin' Comes To Sleepers

5. Are You Living

6. Sweet Caroline

7. Humpin'

8. The Way

9. Gash Gash Gash

x

Track List: The Gap Band II

1. Steppin'

2. No Hiding Place

3. I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance

4. Who Do You Call

5. You Are My High

6. Party Lights

7. The Boys Are Back In Town

Comments

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Classic !!!!!
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lizabdiaz
Brings me back memories what
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Deemoore21 @gmail.com real music
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Music for the soul
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Love Making Music or just Simply Riding.. Love this Song and tha Gap Band...
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msdaniels0
This is how music should make you feel!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Loving the old school music, bring back those memories of the good old days. (the best yet)
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WHAT is on your mind out their
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joshuafaith5
Shake your booty down slick Rick real music
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THATS WHEN YOU COULD PARTY WITHOUT THE WORRY ABOUT BEING SHOT BY ACCIDENT
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solomondesbi n
Damn
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I love it
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Friboy07Raw
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Charlie wilson
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Love the Gap Band, they know how to make you move to all their music!!!
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One of best song of the GAb band is my favorite is you drop the bomb on me .
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khev26
Would LOVE to have you guys play at my wedding!!
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Queens in da house da Hurst
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shamoun3033
Arr man block party in qns.. throw ur hands up heyyy
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...chair rocking to the Gap Band's Early in the Morning...so u n d i n g good feet tapping hand clapping.... S O I GOTTA GET UP.....early in the morning!! #OLDSCHOOLJA M S K E E P Y O U R O C K I N G F E E T T A P P I N G #
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Gap band jams all day. ...outstandi n g is a hit. ...west up
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m7delacruz
Funk for life!
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Love the funk!!!!!!
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Stupid jill,forgot her pill.***
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elynor
COMON' SOMEBODY!!!
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elynor
Time to tear that dance floor UP!!!
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elynor
Break it down OAKLAHOMA!!! The WILSON BROTHERS .....SANG, that's SANG...NOT SING!!! TEAR IT UP!!!
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You'll be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest Friday. If you don't post this on 5 other songs in 143 minutes you'll die in 2 days
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Oh, funk yes!
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Girl you Knock Me out.
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One of the greatest bands of all time!
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I could have sworn that Burn Rubber On Me came out in 1977. The Gap Band was one of my favorites though.
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My daddy song. ..
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Drinking old e mad dog rose wine thunderbird
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Bring back ole memories and some good one. Thanks for the good music.
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I was drinking 40 ounces of Ole English, smh!! Jamming... good Ole days
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Go a head gap band play that
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Brings back alot of memories.
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j9robins
LOVE IT LOVE YOU CHARLIE
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I,here you, """. Your heart.
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Aoewwwwww
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dariusprathe r 6 4
One of the Greatest concerts I ever seen! The Gap Band!
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love it!
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Classic
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leadbelly188 8
Early In the Morning finally convinced me to leave the soul-killing on-again-off - a g a i n relationship I was in when nothing else could. Every time I heard that song in the clubs it was telling me out loud to put some effort into finding somebody better and not to wait...do it quick...In The Morning. Best advice I ever got and I could dance to it.
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leadbelly188 8
Early In the Morning finally convinced me to leave the soul-killing on-again-off - a g a i n relationship I was in when nothing else could.

Every time I heard that song in clubs it was telling me out loud to put some effort into finding somebody better and not to wait...do it quick...In The Morning.

Best advice I ever get and I could dance to it.
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Hey
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Soo beautiful very nice.
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kevin.carter 6 3
LITTLE KNOWN FACT : the song You Dropped a Bomb on Me was a tribute to the bombings in Tulsa, OK of what was termed the BLACK WALL STREET of America. This financial hub of black investment firms rivaled that of the fames NY Wall Street. The sheriff of Tulsa was given orders to destroy it, so for the first time in American history, dynamite was dropped from a crop plane; the sheriff paid a local farmer to fly over the district and drop the 'bombs'.

LOOK IT UP!
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Love The Gap Band...been fortunate to see them in concert. Good times...=)
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