Founding member of The Gap Band, Ronnie Wilson, has died at the age of 73. The pioneering funk and R&B group was formed by Ronnie and his two brothers Charlie and Robert Wilson.
The renowned musician’s sad passing was confirmed by his wife Linda Boulware-Wilson who informed TMZ that her husband had suffered a stroke last week and passed away on Tuesday morning (November 2nd).
Her statement eulogised her late husband as a “genius with creating, producing and playing the flugelhorn, trumpet, keyboards and singing music.”
Not only were the brother’s funk pioneers and established first-rate musicians, but they also played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Even their name is an abbreviation of Greenwood, Archer, and Pine—the three most notable streets at the centre of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
Growing up in the area, the brothers recognised the need for change and always held this at the forefront of their own music which included the hits ‘Burn Rubber on Me’ and ‘Outstanding’ among other charting singles.
Away from The Gap Band, Ronnie Wilson also worked as a producer, helping to create iconic albums like Call Me Goodie by Goodie from 1982 and working in various music ministries.
The legacy of The Gap Band long survived the heyday of funk as rap outfits like N.W.A, Nas and Public Enemy notably sampled their work.