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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

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

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: 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

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

2. Shake

3. Party Lights

6. Steppin' Out

7. No Hiding Place

8. All Of My Love

x

Track List: The Best Of The Gap Band

8. You Can Count On Me

12. The Boys Are Back In Town

13. Party Train

Comments

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Ouch! I still like it!
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Yes, yes this song will always be OUTSTANDING! ! ! ! Fell in love with this song with my first love.
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Ooooooooh turn this up ya'll.!!!!!! Heyyyyy. !!!!! This song never gets old!!!!!
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I love this song
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my s**t
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Joannekirkla n d
Greatest band of all times......c h a r l i e wilson keeps you vibing i love his music.....
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robinson_pat t i
A great song that makes you want to get up and dance!
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Jamming @ work 4am
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Jamming in my 18 wheeler
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Love them!!!
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lizabdiaz
FAVORITE OF MINE♡♡
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elw0214
Excellent vocals and background. Always a fun song to dance to. I'd dancing right now in my kitchen!
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latriceharri s o n 4 0
Classic song always Jams
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Always did it right-Outsta n d i n g
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This blonde white girl loves the GAP band etc !!
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"Big Red"!! I came of age in the 70's & these guys are one of my favorites! ��
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One of my favorite bands!!
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Chic CV b
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Icant sleep but the music is very entertaining and enjoying
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ANOTHER GREAT R&B BAND WOW!!!!!
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Vymukjlkgg
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Unsung geniuses....
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janiecehamee d
The GAP band bring back so many good memories of my Army days in Germany during the late 70's and 80's. I love that group!
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Early In the Morning..... . w h e n you getting your best sleep....got t a get up!! The instrumental beginning of this song....is FIRE!! Love it!!
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My era!! Love this group!!
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Now this is grown folks music! Smooth~
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Awesome reminds me of the 80's in New Orleans
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jokhismom
My jam!! My husband sang this to me on our 9th anniversary!
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Take my love baby
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My Jam!! She is the ��
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Make in a 'REAL TEN!'....... . . . . . . T e n talent....Te n WINS!....Ten times TEN......for the tenth of a ninth month.
Be ready....... H a v e a reliable alibi!!!!!.. . . . . . . . Y o u don't have any time left.TAKING PRISONERS... . . . . . L E A R N ...THE CODE OF REALITY!PLEA S E . . . . . . . . . . . B E ACCOUNTABLE! ! ! It's to HOt -to-Trot.... . . . a l l back scratchers-A R E BROKE!!!!!!! !
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My Jam������
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This blows my mind good song lov lov lov ******
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I love this song. Dancing to it now.
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.....aint nothing but a groove thing to long version Early In The Morning!! making me smile and chair rocking @ work.....had to turn up the volume just a bit!! lol
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Love your songs since I was 13 in half
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Takes me back.
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Love this song....
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I'm Happy when I'm with Happy hearing this Happy song : ) I don't need →beer← to be Happy I love water :) 9~su~4~16
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Too words ol school
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Oh......YEAH ! ! ! ! . . . . . B U R N . . . . R U B B E R . . . . . . . . X X X X X O O O O X X X X O O O O O O O . . .
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ONE OF MY FAVORITE GROUPS ♉♐♌
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nickone432
i need to eat a pb samich with dis jam..
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Much Love to The Gap Band!!! Yall came to Oklahoma and shut it down!! The new guy can sing his butt off too.... Much love yall : )
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Love the way they sing Going In Circles!!!!
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And if you are 'down-home-C O U N T R Y ALABAMA .....WE GOT SOME KOOL-AIDE,or Syrup to go along with your COUNTRY -RIBS....... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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weldkimber
obsessed with early morning
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clofton75
Reminds me of my childhood days!!! Bring this type of music back, yes!!
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I just love the 70s,80s,90s music thee best.. I love this song..Kiki
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LOVE OLD SCHOOL.. YESS YESS
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