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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Colour Collection

1. Machine Gun

2. The Zoo-The Human Zoo

3. Slippery When Wet

4. Gonna Blow Your Mind

5. Easy

6. Sweet Love

7. Brick House

8. Just To Be Close To You

9. Sail On

10. Still

11. Wonderland

12. Lady (You Bring Me Up)

13. Oh No

14. Fancy Dancer

15. Too Hot Ta Trot

16. Zoom

17. Janet

18. Animal Instinct

x

Track List: Brick House

1. Three Times A Lady

2. Come Inside

3. Wonderland

4. This Is Your Life

5. Machine Gun

6. Brick House

7. Sorry To Say

8. Painted Picture

9. Sail On

10. Only You

11. Thumpin' Music

x

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

1. Sweet Love

2. Just To Be Close To You

3. Easy

4. Brick House

5. Three Times A Lady

6. Sail On

7. Still

8. Lady (You Bring Me Up)

9. Oh No

10. Nightshift

11. Machine Gun

x

Track List: The Ultimate Collection

1. Machine Gun

2. Slippery When Wet

3. Sweet Love

4. Just To Be Close To You

5. Fancy Dancer

6. Girl, I Think The World About You

7. Easy

8. Zoom

9. Brick House

10. Too Hot Ta Trot

11. Three Times A Lady

12. Still

13. Old-Fashion Love

14. Lady (You Bring Me Up)

15. Nightshift

x

Track List: Anthology

Disc 1

1. Machine Gun

2. I Feel Sanctified

3. Are You Happy

4. The Bump

5. Slippery When Wet

6. This Is Your Life

7. Gimme My Mule

8. Sweet Love

9. Cebu

10. Fancy Dancer

11. High On Sunshine

12. Just To Be Close To You

13. Brick House

14. Zoom

15. Easy

Disc 2

1. Come Inside

2. Too Hot Ta Trot

3. Flying High

4. Say Yeah

5. Three Times A Lady

6. Sail On

7. Still

8. Old-Fashion Love

9. Heroes

10. Jesus Is Love

11. Lady

12. Oh No

13. Painted Picture

14. Lay Back

15. Nightshift

x

Track List: In The Pocket

1. Lady (You Bring Me Up)

2. Saturday Night

3. Keep On Taking Me Higher

4. Oh No

5. Why You Wanna Try Me

6. This Love

7. Been Loving You

8. Lucy

x

Track List: Commodores

1. Squeeze The Fruit

2. Funny Feelings

3. Heaven Knows

4. Zoom

5. Won't You Come Dance With Me

6. Brick House

7. Funky Situation

8. Patch It Up

9. Easy

x

Track List: Heroes

1. Got To Be Together

2. Celebrate

3. Old-Fashion Love

4. Heroes

5. All The Way Down

6. Sorry To Say

7. Wake Up Children

8. Mighty Spirit

9. Jesus Is Love

x

Track List: Natural High

1. Fire Girl

2. X-Rated Movie

3. Flying High

4. Three Times A Lady

5. Such A Woman

6. Say Yeah

7. I Like What You Do

8. Visions

Comments

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leejustin917
❤❤❤❤❤
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I absolutely LOVE the Song BRICK HOUSE SO MUCH. THAT SONG WAS THE (U KNOW I MEAN) BACK N THE DAYS
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YOUR music sounds great
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Easy by The Commodores.. . . r e m i n d s me of cookouts, dancing, playing spades, softball/kic k b a l l at family gatherings. Just enjoying each other's company in love and harmony.
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Sail on.Excellent
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Sail On- when u just want to get away from all the streets, work, neighbors, cars, trains, buses this is one song you should play- "SAIL ON. I LOOKING FOR A GOOD TIME - keep chaotic women . I Sail On- don't regret leaving. Sail On - u gave nothing in return- and I don't miss u and I'm ok if I don't EVER see you again. Peace.
Report as inappropriate
Three times a lady ...
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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"50s thru 70s,80s,90s, n M Jackson" yea yea yea......
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What will be a show to see is the group together when they sing nightshift
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Brick what? House. That is how she should be built
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chunkkjallen 1
Zoom Zoom Baby
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ZOOM ... Brings back great memories
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sexyladies19 6 9 6 9
❤❤❤❤❤
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Awesome memories
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Still .... What a jam ... Brings tears to me all the time
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Good music������
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Another bad a** jam from Pandora today. She's a Brick House
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Like em all
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"ZOOM" its like a boom ��- what a smooth jam. Damn, Lionel put this together and when you just want to get away- fresh and clear- everybody can be what they want to be - greet the sun and walk among the stars at nite- everyone find the right way some how and some way. Damn, just listen to the lyrics. So true and deep.
Report as inappropriate
Damn, another song with a bad bass line. You don't hear that in today's music. I need to bring it back.
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Beautiful song
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Wq
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There is one of many,worthy to. This rendition of. JESUS IS LOVE. Her name is Anita Jones,an associate of Oxford Health Care
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❤❤❤❤
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Beautiful song!��
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All, now - yes, need more - Block party �� it's hot and the sisters in summer shorts - wow - yes - she is a BRICK HOUSE - 36-36- -10 - I'm wrong - but sisters are Brick House - ha ha - ain't holding nothing back - good times - Brick House 70's cut. Thanks.
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Love to listen to Lionel...... . . .
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Love to listen Lionel.
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Lionel's got it goin on - to this day!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!
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The original Commodores had one of the tightest, soulful, funky sounds around. They could write it, sing it and perform it as only they could. Ritchie and others in the group had it going on as composers and word smiths. Their music was such a part of my early life. Thank you Commodores!
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CD-RECORDZ ! PRESENTS ...
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Jesus is still love ! Save this generation.
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My favorite group ever.. luv them.. posters on the wall.. lol..❤️
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I have the greatest hits Cd as well as a couple of Lionel's solos.
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Love this song soooooo much my childhood going over my auntie house down Barry Farms South east DMV
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Marty says love is the answer! End the hate we need each other!!
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❤❤❤❤
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Very good music
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7 Ñ ho gdconstructi o p i p í n @ b e l l s o u t h . n e t cjm?u pllllliil iiilio9i o
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r.guerra328
A** hole
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I have this song, Will Down's version of Free and Chante Moore's medley of the two.
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Jesus is Love! Lord help these people in this world. I pray You save many souls.
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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Love it to thanks
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Lionel Ritchie, one of the best song writers ever! This is an example of his skills.
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
A very nice song
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dragonlady60 8 8
SHES A BRICK HOUSEEEEEEEE E
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Just To Be Close To You....love this song!!!
Show more

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