The Gap Band Drop The Bomb

Explosions, camouflage and synthesizer bass lines in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • Charlie Wilson in "You Dropped A Bomb On Me"
August 10, 2011 -- 10:55 am PDT
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

The Gap Band
"You Dropped A Bomb On Me"
1982

If you haven't been previously introduced to the Gap Band, give this video no more than 10 seconds and you'll be hooked, if not for the well-coordinated camouflage outfits of the Wilson brothers, definitely for the scintillating synthesizer bass lines the trio became so known for.

The Gap Band, consisting of brothers Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, emerged as one of the most popular funk groups of the late '70s and '80s. Hailing from Tulsa, Okla., the brothers started playing gigs well before any of them were of voting age. They performed as a trio under the name the Greenwood, Archer & Pine Street Band, but when that became too wordy, they shortened their name to the G.A.P. Street Band. Later, following a typographical error, the band became the Gap Band.

The trio eventually made a pilgrimage to Los Angeles and in 1974 released their first album, Magician's Holiday, as well as a subsequent self-titled release in 1977, both of which failed to dent the charts. Two years later, a self-titled album on Mercury Records peaked at No. 10 on Billboard's Top R&B Albums chart. The trio continued their reign on the chart, producing three Top 5 hits with The Gap Band II (1980), The Gap Band III (1981) and The Gap Band IV (1982). The latter peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 and featured the Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit "You Dropped A Bomb On Me."

The accompanying video is just about as literal as it gets — sounds of bombs exploding, Charlie Wilson's expressive dance moves to signify what he means when he sings "You were my pills, you were my thrills," and neon-animated war-type footage of aircraft bombing raids. The end of the video casts a female dancer (who may have been the one who dropped a bomb) with Charlie Wilson, but it's left unclear whether she turns him out or turns him on.

The Gap Band continued to release albums, including 1983's Gap Band V: Jammin', which garnered the group a GRAMMY nomination for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for "Where Are We Going?" and The Gap Band VI (1985) and The Gap Band VII (1986), with the former reaching No. 1 on the Top R&B Albums chart. In 1999 they released Y2K: Funkin' Till 2000 Comz, which featured a guest appearance by Snoop Dogg.

Charlie Wilson went on to pursue a solo career and in 2009 garnered two GRAMMY nominations for Best R&B Album for Uncle Charlie and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "There Goes My Baby." Robert Wilson died in August 2010 of a heart attack.

While the Gap Band no longer exists as we knew and loved them, "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" can still be heard across radio airwaves and in mixes for Turbo Kick kickboxing classes at 24 Hour Fitness gyms nationwide.

Did you drop a bomb on someone? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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