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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

I luvd their music in the daz.
This is best rb to date don't get no better .
marty2411har r i s
I know its not an official black bbq without a Gap Band song!
I luv these old school .
This band is so much fun. J'adore
Im telling you i remember pops bumping this all around the LBC,CPT,WATT S UP,ING,And Pimpin Pomona lots of memory s
Gap band YOU ROCK. My favorite for infinity
Nothing like uncle charlie got that title by being so able to understand olskool as well as new skool
One of the greatest bands ever!!
1 of the best songs ever..
Ora'le hit-it San Antonio,Tx. Row-with-it Michigan and Cal'fas makes shine like puro "Golden-Nugg e t s " it's all bout You" my Ruu-ka" I'm never giv'in up...Life-Is - W h a t - U - m a k e - i t - o u t - 2 B . . . S t a y Connected!!!
19sandy62
Find me another lover. ............ . .
Gap Band ~ Yearning For Your Love W/Lyrics ~ 1980 ...
www.dailymot i o n . c o m / . . . / x s i w c k _ g a p - b a n d - y e a r n i n g - f o r - y o u r - l o v e - w - l . . .
Artist: The Gap Band
Album: Gap Band III
Released: 1980
Yearning For Your Love; Great song. Great band.
Gap band is s**t!!!!! Gap band4 life
I feel like dancing
Gap Band 4 LIFE
Love this song.
Too damn many songs to pick a fav
All here we go again
Saw Uncle Charlie twice in concert! First local then we drove 6 hrs and would do it again! He definitely puts on for the old and new school!!!
Don't miss that train...PART Y TRAIN...
Best song on Friday two
Uncle Charlie, You make the grown feel Sexy!!!
nrivers160
tiredrunning m y f e e t h u r t ; (

I love this song- Gap Band disco days- yeh
Seen them in sac ca the best show every
it gets better with the gap band...... love you charlie..... . .
GAPPER 4 LIFE!!!!! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)!!!!!!!!!
annatrujillo 1 9 9 0 1
Another good oldie
This is the ultimate lovers anthem you want someone to hold you close when you hear this song!
Classic
Philly Loves The Gap Band! Dōmínicanò Primero, North Philly Ya'll!
When I Was A Kid Dropped A Bomb Was Bangin'! Still Party Music In 2014!
The Gap Band
What has the GAP Band taught us?
DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH ANYONE WITH A LEAD FOOT!
This my s**t. U can't Keep Runnin in & outta my Life.. RealShit.. Keep Runnin.. IKDR..
Gotta get up early n the morning and thank God for Not losing my mind because of bull!
I forgot the music we had
Love this song
Love this song
It's Friday y'all let's get this fantastic voyage going!!!!!
Who know dis
Love the GAP Band
Love all music before 1999 this just started my day off great
I love them!!! Hot!!
pittsamoni
��
... The time has come for us to stop messin' around

simply/perfe c t !
What Funkfreak could 4get "Shake Shake Shake ya Bootaaay (@ the Discoooooo!! ! ! ! ) " ?
Not as big as "U Dropped a Bomb on Meeeee", but STILL a GREAT 1!!! :-)
(Not 2 be confused with "Shake Your Booty" by K.C. & Co., ANOTHER great song!!!!!) :-)
greggsontheb o s s
Trulu one of the greates groups of all time!!!!!!!! Thanks Gap Band & thank u as well Unkle Charlie dont stop!!!!!
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