The Gap Band, named after the streets Greenwood, Archer, and Pine, named after the founders neighborhood streets, was a Funk group which originated and rose to fame in the 70s and 80s. After working for Leon Russell as a backup band, the group rose to prominence. They had a tough beginning, however, they went on to sign with Mercury records and produce hits that would be known for decades.
Funk added a new and unexplored element to music and the Gap Band worked to deliver this promise of exclamatory and new contributions to the musical world. This was revolutionary in that this sound had previously been unexplored. This element of extravagance mixed with a Black soulful face was truly “Outstanding” and chalenged the idea that formality was the only way for black people, and especially artists to climb the social ladder.
Charlie Wilson provided the lead vocals while Ronnie Wilson and Robert Wilson assisted as well. All members of the bad were amazingly talented, playing numerous instruments and contributing talent in numerous different ways.
Charlie Wilson was one of the outstanding members of the band providing excellence in his craft and in his life. Charlie was nominated for numerous Grammys, Soul Train awards, as well as a position, in which he attained, as the Prostate Cancer Foundation spokesman.
The Gap Band became well known for many songs such as “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Outstanding.” It was songs such as these that would make them as notable contributors to funk music. In addition to the bands contributions, members assisted many other artists at the time such as Stevie Wonder.The Gap Bands’ “Outstanding” is one of my favorite songs and I find it interesting and genius the way that they pushed the boundaries to express themselves. This to me is one of my favorite things about the Funk era of music simply due to the fact that no one felt compelled to conform to a mold, instead everyone created their own model. This allowed for commodification that was much more authentic. Every group had something different to offer. This being said, this allowed for genuine followers who appreciated the diversity of sound that was offered. The Gap Band brought impetus to this proposition of original sound by walking their own path- the same path that would lead them to several top hits and money making singles and records
The Gap band allowed for multi tiered influence on future genres. One of my favorite artists, Tyler the Creator, samples The Gap Bands’ “Outstanding” in his song “911/Lonely.” Because this is one of my favorite songs it goes without question that I grew an even more fond appreciation for the gap band. In addition to their contribution in areas of RnB and hip hop, they also worked to influence more soulful singers and artists. This influence is one that was seen tremendously amongst funk groups.