Don't Miss This Party Train!
Funk, a genre originating in the late 60’s to the 70’s, focused on setting a party atmosphere while also highlighting love between males and females. Funk not only represented a positive environment but also encompassed the African-American experience. The formation of funk was captured by artists like Parliament-Funkadelic, The Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind, & Fire and The Gap Band.
The Gap Band's Origin
The Gap Band consisted of Charlie, Ronnie, and Robert Wilson. Three brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, the group began to reach success on their first album with songs “I’m in Love” and “Shake”. The Gap Band didn’t produce continuous hits until they signed with Mercury Records in the late 1970s with producer Lonnie Simmons.
Groovin' Early in the Morning
Funk music is a dancing hybrid genre that encompasses many elements of R&B, jazz, soul, rock, disco, and blues. In this transformation, the rhythm, or the “groove” was elevated in importance over melodic arrangements. The musical composition used bass guitars for a strong bassline, synthesizers, group arrangements rather than lead vocalists, and light percussion. The 70s also symbolized a time of technological advancement. Computers offered choices to variety within rhythmic arrangements, voice coders for auto-tune, and synthesizers in place of live bass and horn artists. The Gap Band uses instrumentation of horns, bass guitars, and drums fused with clarinets and synthesizers for musical texture in “Early in The Morning”.
The Gap Band can be seen in flashy costumes in addition to elaborate lighting that complimented the groove like nature of their music and moves.
The traditional nature of group voicing was challenged by The Gap Band’s use of Charlie Wilson as the lead vocalist.
With the popularization of sampling in the 1980s, artists were able to encode and reuse songs and arrangements from The Gap Band. Artists who’ve sampled songs by the funk trio include Ashanti’s “Happy”, Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”, N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton”, Soul for Real’s “Every Little Thing I Do”, and Snoop Dogg’s “Signs”.