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Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Gap Band

Collection of The 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. Allmusic by Andy Kellman

Album: Magician's Holiday (1974)

01. I Like It
02. Backbone
03. After All Is Said & Done
04. Fontessa Fame
05. You Can Always Count On Me
06. Bad Girl
07. Easy Life
08. Loving You Is Everything
09. Tommy's Groove
10. Magician's Holiday

Album: The Gap Band (1976)

01. Out Of The Blue (Can You Feel It)
02. Stand Up And Dance With Me
03. Not Guilty
04. God Is Watching You
05. Little Bit Of Love
06. Hang On (To Yourself)
07. Knuckle Head Funkin'
08. Thinking Of You
09. Silly Grin

Album: (The Gap Band (1977)

01. Shake
02. You Can Count on Me
03. Open up Your Mind (Wide)
04. Messin' With My Mind
05. Baby Baba Boogie
06. I'm in Love
07. Got to Get Away
08. I Can Sing

Album: II (1978)

01. Steppin' (Out)
02. No Hiding Place
03. I Don't Believe You Want to Get up and Dance (Oops!)
04. Who Do You Call
05. You Are My High
06. Party Lights
07. The Boys Are Back in Town

Album: III (1980)

01. When I Look in Your Eyes
02. Yearning for Your Love
03. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)
04. Nothin' Comes to Sleepers
05. Are You Living
06. Sweet Caroline
07. Humpin'
08. The Way
09. Gash Gash Gash

Album: IV (1982)

01. Early in the Morning
02. Season's No Reason to Change
03. Lonely Like Me
04. Outstanding
05. Stay With Me
06.You Dropped a Bomb on Me
07. I Can't Get over You
08. Talkin' Back

Album: V Jammin' (1983)

01. Introduction -- Where Are We Going? [Instrumental]
02. Shake a Leg
03. I'm Ready (If You're Ready)
04. You're My Everything
05. Jammin' in America
06. Smile
07. Party Train
08. Jam the Motha
09. I Expect More
10. You're Something Special
11. Someday

Album: Strike A Groove (Remixes) (1983)

01. Not Guilty
02. Silly Grin
03. Knuckle Head Funkin'
04. Listen To The Music
05. Party Down
06. I Can Sing
07. Strike A Groove
08. Merry-Go-Round

Album: VI (1984)

01. The Sun Don't Shine Everybody (Instrumental Interlude)
02. Video Junkie
03. Weak Spot
04. The Sun Don't Shine Everybody (Instrumental Interlude)
05. I Believe
06. I Found My Baby
07. Beep A Freak
08. Don't You Leave Me
09. Disrespect
10. The Sun Don't Shine Everyday (Vocal)

Album: VII (1985)

01. Desire
02. Going in Circles
03. Automatic Brain
04. L'il Red Junkin' Hood
05. Ooh, What a Feeling
06. I Want a Real Love
07. Bumpin' Gum People
08. I Know We'll Make It
09. I Need Your Love

Album: 8 (1987)

01. Big Fun
02. I Can't Live Without Your Love
03. Get Loose, Get Funky
04. Don't Take It Away
05. Going In Circles
06. Keep Holding On
07. I'll Always Love You
08. Bop B Da B Da Da
09. I Owe It To Myself

Album: Straight From The Heart (1988)

01. Come & Dance
02. Sweeter Than Candy
03. All The Way Yours
04. I'm So Satisfied
05. Straight From The Heart
06. That's It, I Quit
07. You Told Me That
08. I Will Never Leave You

Album: Round Trip (1989)

01. All Of My Love
02. Addicted To Your Love
03. We Can Make It Alright
04. It's Our Duty
05. Wednesday Lover
06. I Like It
07. I'm Dreaming
08. Antidote (To Love)
09. No Easy Out
10. Jam (feat. Krazy Tee)
11. Let's Talk About Love

Album: Testimony (1994)

01. Testimony
02. Confess Your Love
03. Come Into My Love Life
04. Outside Lookin In
05. Gap's Jam
06. Based On GAP
07. Everbody Knows
08. I Can Make You Dance
09. Gimme Lovin Everyday
10. Funky Bass Man

Album: The Best Of The Gap Band (1994)

01. Early in the Morning
02. Shake
03. Outstanding
04. Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)
05. Yearning for Your Love
06. Open Up Your Mind (Wide)
07. You Dropped a Bomb on Me
08. You Can Count on Me
09. I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)
10. Steppin' (Out)
11. Humpin'
12. The Boys Are Back in Town
13. Party Train

Album: Ain't Nothin' But A Party (1995)

01. Where's My Glasses
02. First Lover
03. Closin' The G.A.P.
04. Got It Goin' On
05. You Dropped A Bomb On Me (The Remix)
06. Love At Your Fingertips
07. Shake Dat Booty
08. Here We Go
09. Over The Funkin' Hill (Feat. George Clinton)
10. Closin' The G.A.P. (Extended Club Edit)
11. Why You Wanna Funk Around
12. Got It Goin' On (Part II)

Album: Live & Well (1996)

01. Intro
02. Gap Band Party
03. Wide
04. Oops Upside Your Head
05. Outstanding
06. Humpin'
07. No Hiding Place
08. Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)
09. Gotta Get Up
10. Early In The Morning
11. Party Train
12. Drop The Bomb
13. Yearning For Your Love
14. Yearning (Reprise) (Shooby Doo Mix)
15. Mega Mix (Gotta Get Up Mix)
16. Bonus Track

Album: The Ballads Collection (1998)

01. Yearning For Your Love
02. Going In Circles (Remix)
03. You Can Count On Me
04. Nothing Comes To Sleepers
05. I'm In Love
06. I Want To A Real Love
07. Outstanding
08. Season's No Reason To Change
09. No Hidiing Place
10. I'm So Satisfied
11. You're My Everything
12. You Are My High

Album: Y2K Funkin' Till 2000 Comz (1999)

01. Funkin' Till 2000 Comz
02. Baby I Remember Your Face
03. Good Old Fashion Lovin'
04. Untoudhable
05. Scandalous
06. No Color Lines
07. Messin' With My Flow
08. For The People
09. Style & Grace
10. Otta' Be Like This
11. Good Old Fashion Lovin' (AC Mix-Bonus Track)
12. Funkin' Till 2000 Comz (Millennium Mix)

Album: 12 Inch Collection And More (1999)

01. You Dropped a Bomb on Me (Original 12 Mix)
02. Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) (Original 12 Mix)
03. Early in the Morning (Original 12 Mix)
04. Party Train (Original 12 Special Dance Mix)
05. Outstanding (Original 12 Mix)
06. I Don't Believe You Want to Get up and Dance (Oops!) (Original 12 Mix)
07. Shake (Original 12 Disco Version)
08. Humpin (Original 12 Full-Length LP Version)



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