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The 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: Drop The Bomb (Live)

1. Gap Band (Intro) (Live)

2. Gap Band Party (Live)

3. Wide (Live)

4. Oops Upside Your Head (Live)

5. Outstanding (Live)

6. Humpin' (Live)

7. No Hiding Place (Live)

8. Burn Rubber (Live)

9. Gotta Get Up (Live)

10. Early In The Morning (Live)

11. Party Train (Live)

12. Drop The Bomb (Live)

13. Yearning For Love (Live)

14. Yearning (Reprise) (Shooby Doo Mix) (Live)

15. Swoop (Live)

16. Say Yes (Live)

x

Track List: Oa Hit List: The Gap Band

1. Intro (Gap Band)

2. Gap Band Party

3. Wide

4. Oops Upside Your Head

5. Outstanding

6. Humpin'

7. No Hiding Place

8. Burn Rubber

9. Gotta Get Up

10. Early In The Morning

11. Party Train

12. Drob The Bomb

13. Yearning For You Love

14. Yearning (Reprise) (Shooby-Doo Mix)

15. Mega Mix (Gotta Get Up Mix)

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

17. All Of My Love

18. Addicted To Your 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 12" Collection And More

1. You Dropped A Bomb On Me (Original 12" Mix)

2. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) (Original 12" Mix)

3. Early In The Morning (Original 12" Mix)

4. Party Train (Original 12" Special Dance Mix)

5. Outstanding (Original 12" Mix)

6. I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops!)

7. Shake (Original 12" Disco Version)

8. Humpin'

x

Track List: The Ballads Collection

1. Yearning For Your Love

2. Going In Circles (Remix)

3. You Can Count On Me

5. I'm In Love

7. Outstanding

8. Season's No Reason To Change

12. You Are My High

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

2. Shake

3. Party Lights

4. Humpin'

5. Yearning For Your Love

6. Steppin' Out

7. No Hiding Place

8. All Of My Love

9. Oops Upside Your Head

10. Open Up Your Mind

x

Track List: The Best Of The Gap Band

1. Early In The Morning

2. Shake

3. Outstanding

4. Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

5. Yearning For Your Love

6. Open Up Your Mind (Wide)

7. You Dropped A Bomb On Me

8. You Can Count On Me

9. I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Up Side Your Head)

10. Steppin' Out

11. Humpin'

12. The Boys Are Back In Town

13. Party Train

x

Track List: Round Trip

1. All Of My Love

2. Addicted To Your Love

3. We Can Make It Alright

4. It's Our Duty

5. Wednesday Lover

6. I Like It

7. I'm Dreaming

8. Antidote (To Love)

9. No Easy Out

10. Jam (Feat. Krazy Tee)

11. Lets Talk About Love

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 I

1. Shake

2. You Can Count On Me

3. Open Up Your Mind (Wide)

4. Messin' With My Mind

5. Baby Baba Boogie

6. I'm In Love

7. Got To Get Away

8. I Can Sing

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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You turned me out, you turned on , no names needed for this
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One of the gap band,s favorite and funkiest jams, to me hey Mark remember how we,d used to wear this record out on New Street,Newar k
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nnnnnnnnnnnn n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h h n n n n n n h
Report as inappropriate
Dmidd cmidd cmidd cmidd dmid dmidd dmidd dmidd dmidd cmc dmid dmkcdd fmf
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hiltonnick
Backin the Dazzzzzzzz!! ! !
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batessd1
The Gap Band is off the chain boy! This is the music to play when you wanna dance and drop some lbs.
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Cindylou 707
Oldies but Goodies..... . . .
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Get em Uncle Charlie, You Dropped A Bomb On Me.....jammi n g ! ! ! ! !
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Hi
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I am strung out over you. You got me going in circles!
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Look ll my ll
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"Yearning For Your Love ❤️ "! Nice kick......
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Dropped a what? Bomb . You are going to jail today taking about a bomb. Good thing that song came out back in the day..... the Gap Band......
Report as inappropriate
It just brings me great memories of great beats from growing up n the Late70s early 80s they jamed
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Luv this song
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Gap Band reminds me of such good times.
Report as inappropriate
Yearning For Your ❤️! Kick fro back in the day......
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OOOPS up side your head- my grandfather dug that song- he would sing it - at the right moment. The Gap Band got down on the music tip.....
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I love the Gap Band!!
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Nothing but but love for the GAP Band.
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They rule the 70 s the kings������
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These guys brought it- The Chi - love them. Good music and times...
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OUTSTANDING
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MY boys at Phi Kappa Tau at Auburn in 1982 loved the Gap Band !
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Friends of Distinction is singing this song! Come on Pandora!
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Gap Band... Outstanding !!!!!!
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The 'bomb' is devasting.. Noting to play with. Robtiçs can't detinate.
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Outstanding! !
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Outstanding yasss
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Sounds like the dazz band.....I Dig IT....GROOVY BABY!!!!!XXX X X O O O O O X O O O X O O O
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abstractcolo r s 2 1 5
Love this, I still groove to it!
Report as inappropriate
frankwalski
Love that Party Train!
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My life just keeps going in circles since I lost you baby. Missing and loving till we meet again!!!!
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I love the gap band
Report as inappropriate
jewelberkley
In the summer of 2016 in MN at the state fair went to see GB, still hot they are as the 1st day. Wilson still fine as /xx#??
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Back the day, music!
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c. w. cant stop that man. he drops hits to this DAY!
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Feeling This!!
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THE G.A.P. BAND,What can I say ONE! OF! THE! BADDEST! FUNK! BANDS! EVER! CREATED! I'm very proud to have had the chance to experience youalls DRIVE and NASTYNESS with funk music. I love the early stuff,the music was superb,the kind of music that there's no way in hell,that ur going to sit this one out. I'm still a FUNKSTER! and I'll be one until I DIE!
Report as inappropriate
pedal to the metal not peddle.
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teri_dvdsn
Been watching you since I was 14 now 52 your the best in what you! You need to show these youngsters how to do music!!!Love you Gap Band.
Report as inappropriate
PLEASE COME BACK WILSON BROTHER, WHERE R U . U R NEEDED VERY MUCH
Report as inappropriate
Grooving to Outstanding by the Gap Band nice way to wind down Wednesday afternoon!
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Young ,but respect of great response of :)
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Turn up unk turn up eveytime I hear them they knock me out love ya!
Report as inappropriate
Dmid dmld dmidd mmc mldd m dk mldd m dmld d ld vmld mld mc cm mldd dmld dmld mldd ld dmldd m mld dmld dmld mldd vmld mlc n dk mld mdd mld mcldd vmld mld m mlcd dmld d mldd mldd mldd m nod mld dmld dmlld dmldd mld ml mldd mld dmld mld dmldd mld kid dmld mld mld mldd c,ld dmd mc m mldd mld dmld f ld mmd mld dml dmld mld dmldd dmld dmldd mld nike mld dmld mldd dmld cmlx d nos mldd mld mld d lldd s ld dml dmld mldd mldd mldd mc dmd. Ms nod dmld vmld mldd mld m Dm nod mldd mldd,l dmldd mld m mldd dml
Report as inappropriate
Boy, somebody playing the hell outta them bongos....ju s t listen in the background
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This song alone is damn OUTSTANDING! ! ! !
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I Loved This Song
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C'mon Uncle Charlie...Le t ' s Go...Party Train got me grooving this afternoon!!
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