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The Gap Band


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Tulsa OK, United States

The first major hit for the Gap Band was a snazzy juke tune called “Shake.” Just prior to the completion of their first album, Charlie Wilson cited the song for his brothers, thinking they might ridicule the lyric. His brothers loved it though, and the song was a smash number four single on the R&B charts, elevating the group to national status.

Born and raised in Tulsa, OK, the Wilson brothers began singing and playing in their father’s Pentecostal church, and it was also mandatory they practice their music lessons at home as well. They learned various instruments which primarily included the piano. As much as they despised the lessons at the time, it proved to be a value tool for all three.

With Ronnie being the oldest, he established his own band by the age of 14. Charlie, a few years younger, joined a rival band a couple of 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 his offer, he joined his brother’s band, as Ronnie gave him no choice.

At a gig not too long after the two had joined forces, the group’s bass player quit and Ronnie and Charlie summoned their younger brother Robert, barely 14, to the group to play bass. For a short while, the band performed without a name.


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