Charlie, Ronnie, and Robert Wilson grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and were playing and singing together by the early seventies and eventually named themselves the Gap Band. Their big break came when they backed up Leon Russell on an album in 1974. That exposure led to a contract with Mercury Records, and soon their funk-style music was bouncing around on the R&B charts. In 1980 they had their first #1 R&B hit with Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me), a song that I admit having never, ever heard. While that song didn’t cross over to the pop charts very well, in 1982 they released their second #1 R&B hit, Early in the Morning, and that song did get up to #24 on the Hot 100.
Their follow-up to that hit was You Dropped A Bomb On Me. While the record only got as high as #31 on the pop charts, it barely missed getting to the top of the R&B charts. The song is still instantly recognizable, and I simply don’t believe anybody can watch the first ten seconds of the video without smiling or laughing out loud.
The group even got to appear on American Bandstand, although they upgraded their wardrobe a bit and brought along a huge group of musicians to back them up.
While their days of top forty pop singles may have ended in 1982, the band continued to have top ten R&B hits into the nineties.