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The Commodores

Renowned for the R&B hits "Just to Be Close to You," "Easy," and "Brickhouse," to name but a few, Commodores were one of the top bands during their long tenure at Motown. The group is credited with seven number one songs and a host of other Top Ten hits on the Billboard charts, and their vast catalog includes more than 50 albums.

The members of Commodores, all of whom attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, came together as a result of two groups disbanding: the Mystics and the Jays. Initially formed to simply play music as a pastime and to meet girls, the lineup consisted of William King (trumpet), Thomas McClary (guitar), Ronald LaPread (bass), Walter "Clyde" Orange (drums), Lionel Richie (saxophone), and Milan Williams (keyboards). The members nearly went stir-crazy trying to pick a name for the group, but with no success. As a last resort, Orange gave King a dictionary and told him to pick a name -- that name was the Commodores. With Clyde Orange the only learned musician in the group, Commodores began spreading their music throughout their base, which included Tuskegee, Montgomery, and Birmingham, AL.

After success securing dates in their own backyard, the band ventured to New York City for a gig at Smalls Paradise. Told, in so many words by the club owner, that their sound was not happening, the self-contained band was nevertheless called back to the club to fill in for a last-minute cancellation. That night the Tuskegee alumni performed before a standing-room-only crowd -- most of which were friends and family of the band. Unaware of the planned crowd, the owner booked the band for two more weeks.

Commodores' long association with Motown began as a result of a tour opening for the Jackson 5. That opportunity occurred in 1971, when the group auditioned in New York City for an unknown yet high-profile gig. Two weeks later, they made their first appearance in the prized support slot, and didn't give it up for more than two years. Their excellent shows naturally led to a deal with Motown, and they debuted with the up-tempo instrumental dance cut "Machine Gun." Written by Milan Williams, its Top Ten outing gave the group immediate attention. It was followed by the Top 20 single "I Feel Sanctified," which led to their third single -- and first number one record -- in "Slippery When Wet." Inside of 17 weeks, the septet was rocking the airwaves with their brand of Southern funk, spiced with an animated vocal delivery courtesy of Lionel Richie and Clyde Orange.

In September of 1976, they released "Just to Be Close to You," their second number one single and a number seven pop hit. The Top Ten hit "Fancy Dancer" followed, and then came "Easy." Different from their other tunes, "Easy" was very serene and not nearly as soulful or funky as the band's other tunes. Nonetheless, it claimed the number one spot on the charts, and it paved the way for the style of ballads the group became known for. One exception to the ballad-heavy approach was "Brickhouse," the song that soon became the group's anthem. The arrangement and candid vocal lead by Clyde Orange was complemented by the evenly saturated percussive and rhythmic attack, and it cracked the Top Ten at number four. Two consecutive number one singles would follow: the dance cut "Too Hot ta Trot" and the placid number "Three Times a Lady." And then there was "Still," the last number one for the group with Richie as a member. In 1981, Richie recorded "Endless Love" with Diana Ross. The song peaked at number one for seven and nine weeks, respectively, on the Billboard R&B and pop charts. Its success was a prelude to what Richie enjoyed upon his 1982 exit from the group.

In the absence of Richie, the group promptly courted tenor J.D. Nicholas (formerly of Heatwave) and ended up recording their biggest hit. Penned by Clyde Orange, "Nightshift" paid tribute to the late soul singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. For four consecutive weeks it topped the charts, and it also won the group their only Grammy.

Commodores finally left Motown in 1985. Consequently, the group signed with Polydor the same year and had another swing at the Top Ten with "Goin' to the Bank." During the '90s, the band was reduced to a core of three: Orange, King, and Nicholas. The threesome were nearly as active as they'd ever been, performing around the world and managing their own label, Commodore Records. ~ Craig Lytle, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Best Of The Commodores - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

Comments

I absolutely love love love this song, lyrics reach me at my core
LOVE THIS SONG...LOVE IT CHOW!
Love good wine and a good companie
Love wine and good companie
This oldie brings back so many memories <3
I like to fly far away from here away, Zoom!!! high school days basement parties
The Commodores have always been one out of many groups that are consistently great.
️NICE****A BOTTLE OF WINE
This is a jam o yea
Can relate, Easy like Sunday morning, wishing them the best
Sweet sweet...LOVE , ! ! !
Jesus is love
Zoom
That's my jam there
Straight gangsta. Straight up
Quality music and a quality band which make their music outlive the new music of tidy.
Memories right there....... . t h e y don't make good music like this anymore!!!!
music with a meaning
jazzyladyb
#1 house party jam
"I want you to want me....."
brick house
Love this song.
The. Doctor. Said. Awesome. Times. In. My. Life
narinedathba b o o r a m
On the money
This is real music. I miss music with so much soul put into it.
I wanna be high so high I wanna be free free to know the things I do are right. Simpler times. They take you right back to simpler times of my youth. Great song love it
Sail on.
Have always loved this
redfreeway
I need music, it makes me want to dance and sing
Love, makes me feel love and at peace
I really love these guys
36-24-36
Nice ****
nrivers16
;) all day everyday :D ;P
Just another 16 hour grind, snowstorm, hit, and now I need to get paid. Listening to the commodores, old school!
yes, so many wonderful memories!
Remembering life than as a young girl with friends and loving every songs of The Commondores and Lionel Richies. Some Friends lose along the way,but memories you just can't take away.
Old school gospel will bless it you let
dana_thompso n 3
Very nice and cool��⛪
Ooh yeaaaah !! Sing it !!
Go to jw.org
209ricm
My life is f**ked
G,Baby you my sweet lover touch and i smile,kissin g make me melt like chocolate on my tongue baby girl i got have in my bed making love too me baby.from moments i saw you want you.BABY.
Lionel Richie was the man doing the 70's and early 80's
Even though I'm the same age as this song it still brings good memories
Miss you too G,BABY know one ever take your place anyway where find eye's like these I'm Looking at told you was the first. Face in morning.
Dreams build alot thing's lady .....let. me kiss the dreamer
If only you can see how deep i love you girl.all you need.too do is peel back my heart. G'baby and God let you see the love for you. .... baby just one time
You.can have me cause I'm easy G.Baby
Easy and zoom those are my jams every time I hear them troubles in my life vanish
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