Jason Merritt, Getty Images With a career spanning well over four decades,…
- Posted on Aug 17th 2010 1:30AM by Benjy Eisen
Redferns / Getty Images
Robert Wilson began playing music with his brothers Ronnie and Charlie at the age of 14, after the bassist in their band quit. They adopted the group name Greenwood, Archer and Pine Streets Band before shortening that lengthy title to the Gap Band by 1973. Original member Tuck Andress quit and found fame with Tuck and Patti, while the Gap Band's own chart success began in the late-'70s with their singles 'I'm in Love' and 'Shake.' In 1980, they logged their first No. 1 hit with 'Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me).'
The band continued to do well in the early-'80s with a style of R&B and funk reminiscent of Parliament-Funkadelic and, in fact, one of the former members of Brides of Funkenstein (a P-Funk offshoot) joined the touring version of the Gap Band. When the band's success in America finally began to wane towards the end of the 1980s, they continued to connect with audiences in Europe.
All told, the Gap Band has four platinum albums and 15 Top Ten hits -- including four that made it all the way to the top. In 2004, one of their signature tracks, 'You Dropped a Bomb on Me,' was featured in the video game 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' -- like many of their other hits, it's also been sampled by countless other artists during the last two decades.
Suffice it to say, Wilson will be missed not only by those that knew him personally, but also by a legion of fans. Those fans include an entire group of today's famous musicians, who remain influenced by Wilson's work in the Gap Band.