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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

That was the Song!!!!!!!!
very good folks get at me for this day is great happy good friday real talk
Make a old gal smile. Great music and memories of my life.
Burn Rubber....th a t ' s my jam!!!
Charlie still sounds the same, great music, great vibes
One of my ALL TIME FAVORITES!!! ! I remember riding with my Dad in the car to this song!!! Thanks Dad for exposing me to GREAT music!!!

Love & miss you!!! RIH!!!
GAP Band, loved Yearning For Your Love before I was even yearning for someones love. Hey now!
lst96rn2
THE BOMB
Hot Dam Sure Remember Dancing To This Cut Here In The Club Use To Tare That Rug Up In The Club Love This Song Say What Great Memorie's Listening To This Cut Go Pandora Go Pandora I Hear Ya Loud And Clear !!!!!!
Girl you knock me out.
Yeah!grown folks music.Nothin g but good times to this track. Family parties & roller skating me jamming outside in the Drive way and alleys. Whatchu know bout that.O' the good times.
Could you dance to this ? We could back then it
This old white gal loves this song!
Use To My Good Ole Strand Dance Off Of This Cut Here Love My Gap Band Always Old School Throwback Jam Wonderful Memorie's Listening To This Cut !!!!
Thanks Uncle Charlie & Tha Boyzzz
*978*3m14y ~
Ok! GAP Greenwood Archer N Pine reppin Tulsa Ok
You can't KEEP running inn and out of my life.....My heart is yearning for your love..... Gotta love uncle Charlie/The Gap Band
Can't find anything better great this the stuff that feels so good to hear again
It show my old soul my mom give to me miss old music now days rap r n b wash up
This is the good s**t!!
this grown folk music right here
Hellll yea, kill it Uncle Charlie !!! My father's favorite group ! He use to play this while cooking when I was a kid 30 years ago. Lmao #GreatMemori e s
B
B


Brings back oldmemories
I love. This kind. of. music
mimidec67
From my town!!!!
EVERYBODY DANCE!! now.
Baddest music ever
this my ISH
This music never gets old...even if u call it ole skool...the best!
Real Music Never gets old its Refined!
Ridin' Music...Crui z e control is on while hauling azz down the highway!!!
When you actually had tohavr musical talent!!
It's like I'm on shrooms..... . . .














Much Joyus









Much.... Much








Droped a "Bomb" on me:D
mstiffanyjwr i g h t
One of my favorite songs EVER.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
jdforbes508
My kind of music. Yes ol`school
9/27/81,(414 4 ) , L i s t e n to the song, is yours for mine
Allll Play On Pandora Love This Cut Brings Back Good And Possitive Memories !!!!!
another great groovin', movin' still-in-sch o o l jam
love love this song outstanding Neva get sick of listening to it. I just start dancing
Groove
Burn rubber on me Charlene
put the petal to the metal...beca u s e I never ever had enough!
f.stanback12
I miss these days chitown
r.i.p. Robert Of. The gap. Band
Jam Gap Band
been grooving to these country boys for thirty years...
Never stopped listening!
Grew up jammin to them and I still jam to the GAP Band and Uncle Charlie! So relaxing and profanity free!
playerd1025
NOT TO MUCH I CAN SAY JUST BAD A** SONG
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