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The Gap Band helped define R&B, funk and soul music in the ‘70s
and ‘80s with heavily-charged dance anthems and sentimental, ethereal love
songs. Comprised of brothers Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, the band first
formed as the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street band in 1967.
The Gap Band are the Wilson Brothers. Growing up with a Pentecostal minister father, the Wilson brothers formed the Greenwood, Archer, and Pine Street Band in 1967, with Tuck Andress (later of Tuck and Patti). The name was derived from the streets that formed the African American business district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. They released their first record on an Indie label in 1974 to little or no success. At the time, the group had up to twelve musicians. Shortening down to the three brothers and with producer Leon Russell on the helm, the group began to find success in 1978 with songs like "I'm in Love" and "Shake", The latter becoming a Top 10 R&B hit near the end of the year.
The Gap Band soon. By 1979, the group had changed its name to The Gap Band, and found success with the groundbreaking single "I Don't Believe You Wanna Get Up and Dance (Oops Upside Your Head)". But it was in the 1980s that the group found their biggest success, with songs like "Burn Rubber", "Humpin'", "Yearning For Your Love", "Outstanding", "You Dropped a Bomb on Me", "I Found My Baby", "Early In the Morning" and "Party Train" further establishing the group as icons.
Four of the band's albums, The Gap Band II, The Gap Band III, The Gap Band IV, and Gap Band V - Jammin, achieved platinum selling status, and four of their singles, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," "Outstanding," "Oops Upside Your Head," and "Early in the Morning", reached the #1 spot on the Billboard R&B charts.
The Gap Band's success dwindled at the end of 1984, although they have continued to record albums and are constantly on tour. Brother Charlie ventured into a solo career during a break from the group in the mid-80s, being featured on the 1985 hit with funk group Zapp titled "Computer Love". Wilson's powerful vocals would be credited in part for establishing the careers of Guy's Aaron Hall and R. Kelly. The band reunited in 1996, and issued The Gap Band: Live and Well, a live greatest hits album.
The gap Band find representation in today's hip-hop nation! Ever since the 90s, the Gap Band's most famous hits have been sampled and covered by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Warren G., Blackstreet, Shaquille O'Neal, Mia X, and Mary J. Blige. "Outstanding" was even sampled for a famous 90s commercial for malt liquor.
The Gap Band have also produced and recorded some songs for Keenan Ivory Wayans' 1988 hit movie, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Among the musicians they have inspired are R. Kelly, Keith Sweat, Ruff Endz, Guy, Blackstreet, Jagged Edge, and Aaron Hall. Recently, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" was featured in the hit videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.