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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

makes me want to dance!!!
tomman30
fantastico!
johnmargie6
I'm easy.....
Super BAD!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! Ohhh Yeah
c.lenhart7
Love this song - makes you feel good inside
Uphoric! Good music please come back!
I love this song. this very true Jesus is love. Aman Commodores
I love all of their music
Not in my life will that kiss ever happen to me, I have such bad luck with guys,and it feels like it only gets worse.��
luckyheartz7 7
All time favorite group <3<3<3<3
NICE//WOW*** * Hot Summer Nights
Carnivals-St a t e Fair- Roller Coasters
ZOOM -Commodores - ZOOM
Great singer and Great songs!!
LOVE U LIONEL RICHIE AND THE REST THANK U FOR THE NICE MUSIC OVER THE YEARS SMILE....
I Love Gud Oldies Makes Me Want My WIFEY At The Drop Of A Dime
reyesc814
Love this song! Reminds me of high school days and the movie The Last American Virgin.
We were too blind to see :-(
beautiful song!
luckyheartz7 7
Always love forever 77 <3<3<3
I love Lionel Richie group?
Thanks for the memories 710 &715 Noble crew easy el
Lionel Richie is so awesome! !
Fat chick music.
You make me happy cause I know you never leave my site .I know your across the way from me. ..
Entented to be as one Destiny. ..
XDXDXDXDXDXD :( so sad
luckyheartz7 7
So beautiful to write a song about your Mother:-)
OK to see if you can be there was a year to see if my way
Love the Cmmodores. Takes me back to my youth.
I love the commodores music?
p.greer22
I love The Commodores sound. Thank you for making music I dance to, my children, and now my grandchildre n dance to as well :)!
jgl49572
Oooh. My. thats what. I mean
t.romero1988
Sweet soul...
Yessss my song
Like Sunday morning!! Baby amigo!!! On tassss
I got the album for my 15 th Birthday it was my favorite gift i got
SMOOTH!!! BRINGS BACK SOME GREAT MEMORIES
I LIKE AND LOVE THIS SONG BY LIONEL RICHIE AND THE COMMODORES.. . . . . . . . . . . . D E B B I E
Makes me feel ALIVE and YOUNG again!
Tune in every Wednesday from 9:30p.m.-11: 3 0 p . m . Central Standard time to AftadarkXper i e n c e Radio on The Core 94... Download the app "TuneIn Radio" and search for "The Core 94" @ClayPursuay @ThaLuvDoc @DJBrasko will be sure to keep you entertained and jammin' all night!!!
still!! firewife nay!!!333!!
Takes me back to my home Washington heights new York City. ..what music. .what a time in my life ....that why I am easy......
Just Proves everybody Gods and beliefs are different!!! - - Would be "Great Gospel song!"!- Sometimes Humans can make things so complicated! - J u s t Rest!- And Think!
love it my dad has the record use to listen to it when i was a kid
Classic Ol Skool Jam!
she got u a hell of an album
my mom got me I the commodores back in 1980 especially this song lady
Zoom

Bill Scott I remember lisening to Three Times Lady with My Friend Joan and what a feeling!
Stay in the Game, keep it close !
Car's are not made for lovers anymore
Everybody wants to be Nascar drivers
3m 14y
They were the best..
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