The Gap Band's Ronnie Wilson Dies at 73

The Gap Band's Ronnie Wilson Dies at 73
Ronnie Wilson — the American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known best for co-founding the Gap Band with brothers Robert and Charlie Wilson — has died. Wife Linda Boulware-Wilson confirmed the artist passed Tuesday (November 2) at their home in Tulsa, OK. He was 73.

In a Facebook post, Boulware-Wilson called her late husband "a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies," telling TMZ that Wilson had suffered a stroke last week.

Born in Tulsa, Wilson and his brothers co-founded the Gap Band in the early '70s, naming their group after streets (Greenwood, Archer, and Pine) in remembrance of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. After backing Leon Russell on his 1974 album Stop All That Jazz, the Gap Band released debut Magicians Holiday that same year through Russell's Shelter Records label, ahead of a self-titled album in 1977.

An introduction to Los Angeles producer Lonnie Simmons led to a record deal with Mercury Records, who released the group's self-titled major-label debut in 1979. Into the '80s, the Gap Band found chart success with songs including "Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)," "Yearning for Your Love," "You Dropped a Bomb On Me" and "Early in the Morning."

The Gap Band would continue recording and releasing music into the '90s, capping their 15-LP studio discography with 1999's Y2K: Funkin' Till 2000 Comz. The Wilson brothers' music has been sampled by the likes of Nas, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and more, and has come to inspire drummers like Dave Grohl

Charlie Wilson — who has worked with Kanye West and Nas in recent years — is the last surviving member of the Gap Band, as Robert Wilson passed away in 2010.