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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

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

Comments

Report as inappropriate
aestrada223
Remember dancing with Tina from Indiana in 1976 at the Skylark Rec Center at Lackland AFB, Texas and it was great to be Close to her. Hope you are doing great, I still think of you Tina. Sorry I was only 18 to your 25, but now it's the norm. I wonder sometimes if you could still care for me.
Report as inappropriate
Easy ... Love this song commodores thanks for so many jams you got it's wonderful how oldies can touch your heart and bring you back to the old times ... Oldies takes you to the place from the begaining from when you started listing to oldies
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catinhat.cd
Southside peach got together stack brickhouse curve in all right places have weaken knees,what got certain to please,brick h o u s e .
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Sensitive.
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One of their best songs
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lizabdiaz
Still is my favorite
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catinhat.cd
Faint when this storm in room;machine gun Kelly with those hips,shift eye's left ,right watching them bounce Stackhouse,b r i c k h o u s e .
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catinhat.cd
Now!how I'm losing all that didn't know you was fine to seen bikini shot,tybee island bottom.want plant seal approval
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Thank you Pandora
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cathyrobinso n 7 3 8
Ohio skate go Pandora!memo r i e s
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Lady (You Bring Me Up) by Commodores.. . . o n e of my brothers used to sing this song to my mom all the time.....min d you at the time he was probably only about 12 years old, lol.
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Survived all my high school days on The Commodores!
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Teena Marie
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judgeeric
The best song ever in the universe����
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first off im using my grandbabys pandora acct so the comments are from a old lady but i lost the love of my life in 2003 to cancer he was only 48 so when i hear just to be close to u it moves me to tears and my heart and soul ache music especially from the soul is medicine for the sad and lonely
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Noce
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Yes, we all need it "ZOOM"! I would like to fly away- yes, yes, Mr.Lionel - you did it on this just like the other cuts. ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM, - do you want to go. I will ZOOM IN 2016 and more.
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Asome
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sail on...honey
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Great song & an even greater tribute to some very talented artists!!
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Now I'm doing the same thing Hahaha, !!!
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I remember my mama sitting down with a drink and singing this song. ...
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Brick house
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Such a beautiful song.
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She can sure nuff knock a grown man to his knees, she's a Brick House, now that was some old school memories
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Always loved sail on !
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pretty lady..
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One of the best songs ever����
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Still if you love them, you love them, it goes deeper then the mind, it goes all the way to the heart, to your very soul, you cann't stop or help the way you feel.
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This song is my feel love song. No faking.. Whether it's the Commodores or Lionel Richie... Simply a timeless rock..
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To pandora "happy thanksgiving "
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❤❤❤❤❤
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I have my 7 and 10 year old singing there songs , when I play every Sunday afternoon, they love it.
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They kick a** awesome
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Music melodies of great tunes!
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Its the best music on my time
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Commodores rock!
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Zoom, I like this tune, it make's me feel free of stress and sometime my own mind, I think to much, remember, to much sh--. Zoom zoom zoom
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arionnalasha y
Beautiful song...moves me...just beautiful
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I love ZOOM
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Music that is acknowledge and understood
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Sweet Love was your favorite song by the Commodores.. . . e v e r y t i m e I hear this song i smile now, and know that pleasant memories shared will always be in my heart. Still miss you JJ (been 7 years RIP).
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kathyr80
Thanks Pandora for making it so easy to listen to the Commodores!
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I love The Commodores And The Old School Thanks
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Don't stop it Now ..DON'T TURN ME ON AN STOP IT NOWWWWWWWWW. . .
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The songs is down to earth.
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We Loved the Commodores, down there in New Zealand. Dancing in the late 70s and 80s, in Clubs in Auckland, and on the Board in the Shearing sheds !! Very Groovy
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bruhaha0267
Oh ya....the muppets...hi g h school jutebox...:)
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I remember hearing Nile Rogers in an interview saying "the one band you never wanted to share the stage with was the commodores, before Lionel got smooth they played the hardest live funk of anyone". Not an exact quote but that's how I remember it
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Zoom~~~ by the Commodoers just take you to that serene place of happy thoughts and smiles~~Zoom I'd like to fly far away from here~
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