The Gap Band

The Gap Band was an American soul-funk band from Tulsa that released the small-label albums Magician’s Holiday (1974, Shelter) and The Gap Band (1977, Tattoo). On Mercury (1979–80) and Total Experience (1982–87) they released nine self-titled numerical albums.

Between 1980 and 1986, the Gap Band scored ten Top 5 hits on the US Billboard Hot R&B chart, including the No. 1’s “Early in the Morning,” “Outstanding,” and the synth-funk anthem “Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me).”

Members: Ronnie Wilson (vocals, trumpet, keyboards), Roscoe “Toast” Smith (drums, 1967-78), Chris Clayton (saxophone, vocals, 1967-78), Tuck Andress (guitar, 1967-73), Charlie Wilson (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion, 1972-2010), Robert Wilson (vocals, bass, 1973-2010), Tommy Lokey (trumpet, 1974-78), O’Dell Stokes (guitar, 1974-76), James Macon (guitar, 1977-78)


Background

The band was instigated in 1967 by singing teenage keyboardist Ronnie Wilson, who grew up in a musical home in Tulsa with two younger brothers, Charlie and Robert. Their father was a Pentecostal minister who made them learn instruments. As a family, they played music during sermons with their mom on piano.

While Ronnie rehearsed with his band, Charlie Wilson (then 14) joined a completing band. After Charlie matured and impressed with his organ skills, Ronnie invited him to join the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band, named after streets in Tulsa’s black business district. In the early ’70s, they brought in their youngest brother, Robert Wilson (b. 1957), to handle bass. Their name proved wordy from a billing standpoint, so they shortened it to G.A.P. Band. A subsequent bill listed them as the Gap Band due to a typographical error. The name stuck.

In 1974, Tulsa singer/songwriter Leon Russell hired the Gap Band as his backup on Stop All That Jazz, released on his own Shelter Records label. As a return favor, Shelter issued the Gap Band’s debut album, Magician’s Holiday, later that same year


Magician’s Holiday

The Gap Band released their debut album, Magician’s Holiday, in late 1974 on Shelter Records.


The Gap Band (1977)

The Gap Band released their self-titled second album in 1977 on Tattoo Records. 


The Gap Band (1979)

The Gap Band released their self-titled third album on February 26, 1979, on Mercury. 


The Gap Band II

The Gap Band released their fourth album, The Gap Band II, on November 19, 1979, on Mercury. 


The Gap Band III

The Gap Band released their fifth album, The Gap Band III, on December 8, 1980, on Mercury. 


Gap Band IV

The Gap Band released their sixth album, The Gap Band IV, on May 17, 1982, on Total Experience. 


Gap Band V – Jammin’

The Gap Band released their seventh album, Gap Band V – Jammin’, on August 22, 1983, on Total Experience. 


Gap Band VI

The Gap Band released their eighth album, Gap Band VI, on December 6, 1984, on Total Experience. 


Gap Band VII

The Gap Band released their ninth album, Gap Band VII, on December 9, 1985, on Total Experience. 


Discography:

  • Magician’s Holiday (1974)
  • The Gap Band (1977)
  • The Gap Band (1979)
  • The Gap Band II (1979)
  • The Gap Band III (1980)
  • Gap Band IV (1982)
  • Gap Band V – Jammin’ (1983)
  • Gap Band VI (1984)
  • Gap Band VII (1985)
  • Gap Band 8 (1986)
  • Straight From the Heart (1987)
  • Round Trip (1989)

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