Ronnie Wilson, 1/3 of the Wilson brothers who made up legendary R&B/funk group The Gap Band, has died after a long illness.
For more than a decade the Gap Band rode at the top of the R&B charts, creating great music that has increased in stature over time. Their work influenced a new generation of artists who have liberally borrowed from the Gap sound in creating modern soul and hip-hop albums.
Formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 70s by brothers Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, the Gap Band often mimicked musical pioneers George Clinton, Stevie Wonder and Earth Wind & Fire before developing their own distinctive sound in the early 80s that propelled them to the forefront of soul and funk music. Named as an acronym for three streets in Tulsa, the Gap Band spent most of the 70s as backing musicians or as the warm-up act for visiting artists ranging from the Rolling Stones to Willie Nelson.
The Gap Band’s next albumwas its biggest. IV became one of 1982’s most notable soul albums and popped out three top 10 crossover smashes, “Outstanding,” “Early In the Morning” and the group’s signature hit, “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” – a song that has since been sampled by other artists countless times. About that time the Gap Band was also becoming a great touring funk band, and the group spent the remainder of the 80s topping bills around the world while also maintaining its Soul radio popularity with hits such as “Big Fun,” “Party Train,” “Beep A Freak” and a #1 remake of the Friends of Distinction’s “Going In Circles.” Charlie Wilson also established himself as one of the most distinctive lead singers in soul music, as his slightly raspy, strong baritone powered also not only Gap hits, but also songs of other artists (most notably Zapp’s “Computer Love”).
Source: Soul Tracks
By Chris Rizik