In an effort to celebrate the greatness of the legendary Tulsa, Oklahoma, group The Gap Band, we take a look back at the making of their 1980 breakthrough album Gap Band III.
This year was the 100th anniversary of the of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The centennial commemoration of the massacre was national news, with Joe Biden becoming the first sitting president to visit Tulsa and mark the anniversary. The moment made the citizens of this country realize the incalculable destruction and terrorism that took place against the Black residents along Greenwood Avenue over the course of two days.
Forty years after that American tragedy, a trio of brothers were honing their prodigious musical chops inside their father Reverend Oscar Wilson’s Pentecostal church, the Church of God in Christ, in the same area now known to the world as Black Wall Street in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. While growing up in their household, the Wilson brothers, Ronnie, Charlie, and Robert, took music lessons from their mother, Irma Wilson, to develop their skill sets on various instruments. As they continued to cultivate their mastery of the piano, trumpet, organ and guitar, the eldest brother, Ronnie, formed his first band at 14-years-old. Shortly thereafter, the middle brother, Charlie, joined a rival band and began competing at different venues in the Tulsa area. After witnessing Charlie improvising on the organ at a neighboring club, Ronnie desired to have his younger brother leave his band and join him.