On their first album with Simmons, The Gap Band, they found chart success with songs such as "I'm in Love" and "Shake"; the latter became a Top 10 R&B hit in 1979.
Later that year, the group released "I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)" on their album The Gap Band II. Although it did not hit the Billboard Hot 100, it soared to number 4 in the US Billboard R&B chart, and the album went gold. The song, and the band's musical output as a whole, became more P-Funk-esque, with expanded use of the synthesizers and spoken monologues within songs (see audio sample). The song "Steppin' (Out)" also reached the top 10 R&B.
"I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops)" (1979)
The Gap Band's breakthrough single, "I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)" exemplifies the sound that made them famous.
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Charlie Wilson provided background vocals on Stevie Wonder's 1980 hit "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" from Wonder's album Hotter Than July (1980).
The band reached a whole new level of fame in 1980 with the release of the number 1 R&B and number 16 Billboard 200 hit, The Gap Band III. That album had soul ballads such as the number 5 R&B song "Yearning for Your Love", and funk songs such as the R&B chart-topper "Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" and "Humpin'". They repeated this formula on the number 1 R&B album Gap Band IV in 1982 (the first album released on Simmons' newly launched Total Experience Records), which resulted in three hit singles: "Early in the Morning" (number 1 R&B, number 13 Dance, number 24 Hot 100), "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" (number 2 R&B, number 31 Hot 100, number 39 Dance), and "Outstanding" (number 1 R&B, number 24 Dance). It was during this time that former Brides of Funkenstein singer Dawn Silva joined them on tour.
Their 1983 album, Gap Band V: Jammin', went gold, but was not quite as successful as the previous works, peaking at number 2 R&B and number 28 on the Billboard 200. The single "Party Train" peaked at number 3 R&B, and the song "Jam the Motha'" peaked at number 16 R&B, but neither made it onto the Hot 100. The album's closer "Someday" (a loose cover of Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free") featured Stevie Wonder as a guest vocalist.
Their next work, Gap Band VI brought them back to number 1 R&B in 1985, but the album sold fewer copies and did not go gold. "Beep a Freak" hit number 2 R&B, "I Found My Baby" peaked at number 8 on the R&B charts, and "Disrespect" peaked at number 18. That year, lead singer Charlie Wilson and singer Shirley Murdock provided backing vocals on Zapp & Roger's number 8 R&B "Computer Love".