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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
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Selected Discography

Comments

klbryan68
Skating to all these great songs!!!Brin g s back good memories!!!!
Good song, great beat! Old school great jam
MY JAM FOR YEARS TO COME, IT TAKES ME BACK, OL SKOOOL, I LOVE IT, LOVE YOU GAP BAND, / F CHARLIE WILSON, UNCLE CHA'LIE.
Outstanding : OUT STANDING WHERE ???? HAHA. I LOVE THIS SONG. The Gap was really a good funking band. Great music.
tracysmall33 3
Ahhh the memories.... . . . . y o u knock me out!!!
I remember Cruising to that song. I love the Gap Band Music.
Kiss your left hand
Close your hand
Say your crushes name
Chose a week day
And post this on 15 stations
Your crush will ask you out
On that day
I think I had a flat top and shoulder pads back then, but I know was all that!
Loving this jam
acwhite9
Wow... Just Wow... Luv this song!!
Party Party ! ! ......in the CLUB time 2 get up 4 REAL
I would love to "drop a bomb on Charlie. Darn, he is too fine to be that talented. Sooo sexy! ;-)♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆♡
You dropped a bomb on me! Love that song! TTYLXOX <3 follow for a follow
My jam
I love the gap band?
all good music thumbs up for the original thank-you
My s**t
Why tha f**k you want to hurt me!!!!
Come out and tell me wats on your Mind? ??
teairra2007
Classic
Thats the s**t
The Gap Band is the bomb.
40oz & 20 go to end
MONEY
vgkind1223
Janet Jackson
the 80's was a great decade. music,jobs,r e s p e c t , , f r i e n d s h i p . LOVE
Great song I'm 16 years old and love this old school music. That's pops for always playing this music when I was little
Brings me back to the good ole days!!!
I don't give a f**k this is the s**t!!
Love this song so much follow me please?????? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ;-)
This is still a banger!!
early in the morning is one of my favrite songs by the GAP Band i grow up on them my mom used to play them all the time for me when i was lilttle back in the 1990,s.
This is what I love. A band that jams on and on. What ever happened to that? On the dance floor sweating and lovin it. Love this song. Good work out.
Happy birthday Jimmie. Schlenker
GAP GOT GOING ON AND ON LIKE HOT BUTTER. POPCORN! HEY!
I had the honor and privilege of meeting Charlie Wilson and his wife in NYC. They were so kind and gracious! Two of the most unpretentiou s people in the world and Charlie's wife was just lovely.
Best!!!!
TOP THREE ALL TIME.......
To Zanona ZIP
zanona zip high shool
I just luv UncleC and his bros.!
cleomdorsey
Classic Groove. Yearning for Your Love
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
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