The Gap Band Fight Over Name Goes Public with Lawsuit

(November 25, 2015) The Gap Band has received more attention this year for legal matters than for music. Earlier this year, surviving group members, brothers Ronnie and Charlie Wilson, received a hefty settlement and songwriter credits from Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson due to the similarity of the year’s biggest hit, “Uptown Funk,” with the Gap Band’s “Oops Upside the Head.”

(November 25, 2015) The Gap Band has received more attention this year for legal matters than for music. Earlier this year, surviving group members, brothers Ronnie and Charlie Wilson, received a hefty settlement and songwriter credits from Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson due to the similarity of the year’s biggest hit, “Uptown Funk,” with the Gap Band’s “Oops Upside the Head.”

Now, TMZ reports that Ronnie Wilson is now suing his brother Charlie – who apparently left the group a few years ago as his solo career took off - claiming that Charlie has interfered with Ronnie’s ability to book gigs for his spinoff group, The New Gap Band. Specifically, Ronnie says two concerts, at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City and at The Howard Theatere in Washington, D.C, were pulled due to Charlie’s interference.

The issue of who owns and can use the "Gap Band" name mirrors problems currently plaguing so many classic R&B groups that have splintered into multiple acts. The Temptations were probably the most notable, with at least four different versions of the groups at various times, but similar battles have arisen with countless renowned R&B groups, from the Drifters to the Manhattans to The Stylistics to, most recently, Enchantment. It has created problems for fans and artists alike, and attempts at legislation by various states around the country have slowed only the most egregious, fraudulent situations.

Let’s hope that the Wilson brothers can resolve their problems privately, and everyone get back to making great music. 

 
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