Ronnie Wilson, co-founder of The Gap Band, dies at 73

Ronnie Wilson, a founding member of legendary funk and soul group The Gap Band has died. He was 73.

Ronnie’s wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, confirmed his death on her Facebook page, saying in part, “Ronnie Wilson was a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, Trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies. He will be truly missed!”

According to TMZ, Wilson died on Tuesday after suffering a stroke.

Ronnie, along his brothers Charlie and Robert, formed The Gap Band in their Tulsa, Oklahoma, hometown in the 1970s. Their music, which was infused with funk and soul, help to inspire bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and Earth Wind & Fire.

The group enjoyed some early success in the late ’70s, but some of their most notable hits came during the early ’80s. In 1980 they released The Gap Band III, which produced such soul ballads as”Yearning for Your Love” and”Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me).” Then in 1982, with the release of The Gap Band IV — their sixth LP — they hit the R&B charts again with songs like “Early in the Morning,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Outstanding.”

Although The Gap Band retired in 2010 after the passing of member Robert Wilson, their music has been sampled or covered by a wide range of R&B artists over the years, including Tyler, the Creator, Mary J. Blige, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Tina Turner. More recently, producer Mark Ronson sampled the song “I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)” for his smash 2014 collaboration with Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk.”

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