Ronnie Wilson Of The Gap Band Dies Aged 73
Ronnie Wilson, a founding member of the popular funk and R&B group The Gap Band alongside his brothers Charlie Wilson and Robert Wilson, has died. Ronnie was a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer with the group.
Ronnie’s wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, confirmed the news in a Facebook post, saying he died Tuesday morning after suffering a stroke last week. She wrote, “The love of my life was called home this morning, at 10:01am. Please continue to pray for The Wilson, Boulware, and Collins family, while we mourn his passing.” Boulware-Wilson also called him a “genius with creating, producing and playing the flugelhorn, trumpet, keyboards and singing music.” Ronnie Wilson was 73.
The Wilson brothers grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They took their band name from an abbreviation for Greenwood, Archer, and Pine — prominent streets in the Black Tulsa neighborhood they grew up in that had been targeted by a white mob in the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
The Gap Band’s first album, Magicians Holiday, was released in 1974 but their most successful records arrived in the early 80s. Gap Band III (1980) featured the hit Burn Rubber On Me, while 1982’s Gap Band IV included You Dropped A Bomb on Me and Outstanding. The band remained prolific throughout the 80s and released multiple albums in the 90s. Robert Wilson died in 2010 at age 53.
In addition to his work with The Gap Band, Ronnie Wilson produced records for other artists, including Goodie’s 1982 album Call Me Goodie. By the 2000s, he was active in music ministry at a San Antonio church.
The Gap Band’s legacy has lived on. They were an influence on new jack swing and their records have been sampled endlessly. Artists who have sampled the group include N.W.A. (on Straight Outta Compton), Nas, Janet Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy, Tyler, The Creator, Ice Cube, Mary J Blige, and many others. The group also has a songwriting credit on one of the biggest hits of recent times, Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, thanks to similarities to their most enduring song, Oops Upside Your Head.”