Gap Band

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Charlie Wilson (Born Charles Kent Wilson, January 29, 1953 in Tulsa, OK)
Ronnie Wilson (Born in Tulsa, OK)
Robert Wilson (Born in Tulsa, OK - Died August 15, 2010 in Palmdale, CA (Heart Attack))

Gap Band - The Best Of Gap Band
Gap Band - Funkin' Till Y2K Comz
Charlie Wilson - Bridging The Gap
Charlie Wilson - Uncle Charlie
Charlie Wilson - Just Charlie
Charlie Wilson - Love, Charlie

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Bio From AllMusic.Com
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 band 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 band mates.

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 10 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. 1980's 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, started in 1992 with You Turn My Life Around. The singer began to reach out to a younger audience in 1996, when Snoop Doog 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

Charlie Wilson's Bio From AllMusic.Com
As lead singer for the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson sang on four number one R&B hits: "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)," "Early in the Morning," "Outstanding," "Addicted to Your Love," as well as " You Dropped a Bomb on Me," "Yearning for Your Love," "Party Train," and "Big Fun." The band had two gold albums, The Gap Band II and Gap Band V-Jammin', and three platinum albums, The Gap Band III, The Gap Band IV, and Gap Gold/The Best of the Gap Band. They also supplied hit singles for the movie soundtracks to Penitentiary III ("Sweeter Than Candy") and the title track Top 20 R&B hit single of Keenon Ivory Wayans' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

After a ten-year hiatus, Wilson returned with the album Bridging The Gap issued by Major Hits/Interscope/Universal Music. It sports appearances by Snoop Doog and Nate Dogg (the smooth "Big Pimpin'") and Case (on the duet ballad "Another Man") .It's appropriate that some of hip-hop's elite show up on Wilson's first album of the 21st century. The Gap Band's music has been sampled by numerous hip-hop acts (particularly "Outstanding"). Also, the band along with their labelmates and the creative staff at Total Experience Records helped lay the foundation for new jack and hip-hop.

In the early '70s, Wilson and his brothers, Ronnie (trumpet/keyboards) and Robert (bass), formed the Gap Band in Tulsa, OK, after honing their talents in church. The band's name is an acronym for three Tulsa streets, Greenwood, Archer, and Pine. Leon Russell hired them as his opening act in 1973. The group recorded an album for Russell's Shelter label. While on tour, they met Dallas, TX, keyboardist Calvin Yarbrough after hearing him perform with the band Grand Theft. They offered Yarbrough a background vocal/keyboard spot on the tour, and he accepted. When the tour was over, Yarbrough returned to Dallas. Sometime later, the band was discovered by Total Experience Records owner Lonnie Simmons while being the backing band for D.J. Rogers ("Say You Love Me," "Love Brought Me Back"). After the group's contract with Shelter lapsed, they signed with Simmons' label in 1978. Foreseeing possible problems in the future with the 14-member act, he suggested that the Gap Band pare down to three members, Wilson and his two brothers. He also outfitted the band with stylish cowboy wear. The hits started rolling: "Shake," "Steppin' (Out)," and "I Don't Believe You Want to Get up and Dance (Oops, up Side Your Head)" were Top Ten R&B hits.

When the Gap Band performed in Dallas, Yarbrough visited with them in their hotel room, bringing along a demo tape that he'd recorded with singer Alisa Peoples. Impressed, Charlie Wilson enthusiastically woke up Lonnie Simmons who told the duo to keep in touch. Later, the singing duo Yarbrough and Peoples showed up in the lobby of Los Angeles-based Total Experience Records. Surprised, Simmons suggested that the duo make a record demo and teamed them with staff producer Jonah Ellis. After being signed to the label, Yarbrough and Peoples had several hits for the label including the million-selling number one R&B single "Don't Stop the Music" from the gold LP The Two of Us.

Switching to Capitol, the band had their final number one R&B hit with "All of My Love" and their last Top Ten R&B single with "Addicted to Your Love" from their Round Trip album. Ronnie Wilson left to pursue a long-standing dream to do gospel music which spelled the end of the Gap Band.

After doing such dancefloor fillers as "Disrespect" and "Beep a Freak," it was a bold move to have the pop-ish ballad "Without You" as the lead single for Bridging The Gap. It proved to be the right move with it being an R&B hit in fall 2000. His 2005 LP Charlie, Last Name Wilson hit the Top Ten thanks to the success of the title track and "Magic." Ed Hogan

Official Sites: Charlie Wilson (Jive), Charlie Wilson's MySpace & Gap Band's MySpace

Gap Band

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