OK, my peoples. The time has come for us to stop messin' around. We've reached the countdown's final four, and today's entry, "Yearning for Your Love" by The Gap Band, is one of those signature songs that takes you back to an era of red lights and basement parties, "slow-draggin'" and gentle grinding with your significant other. It's that prom song, the one that puts a smile on your face every time you hear the beat drop. That makes it timeless, solidifying its spot on the countdown. A modern day soul classic.
Straight out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Wilson brothers--Charlie, Ronnie and Robert--came together in 1967, and over the next three decades put together a discography filled with heavily-charged dance anthems and sentimental love songs. Originally known as the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band in homage to the streets that surrounded the area known as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, the brothers shortened their name to The Gap Band in 1979. What made this band unique was its ability to meld all of the styles that surrounded them in the '70s and '80s, including the sounds of groups like The Dazz Band, the Ohio Players, War and Earth, Wind and Fire, and make them their own. And then there was Charlie's voice, a golden instrument on its own that took the group's songs to new heights. That voice would also serve as heavy inspiration for the generation that followed (see Hall, Aaron).
We stand by this song because of the memories, but we stan for this song because of the lyrics. "Yearning," co-written by Ronnie Wilson and Oliver Scott, remains a master class in songwriting. The subtlety of the instrumentation, which starts gently and, even when it builds, is the perfect contrast as it stays out of Charlie's way as he delivers some of the most intense lyrics ever crafted. Think about it, never before this had a man uttered the words that were put together here to let a woman know how he feels. Never had a man told a woman that he loves her quite like this, taking it past a mere romance, and upping the ante--to yearning. Pure art. Classic. Do yourself a favor. Grab a partner and press play below, imagining you had a red light above you. And then after the bounce, check for a classic performance by the brothers.
The Gap Band: "Yearning for Your Love"