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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

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
catinhat.cd
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
catinhat.cd
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.
catinhat.cd
Dreams build alot thing's lady .....let. me kiss the dreamer
catinhat.cd
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
catinhat.cd
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
catinhat.cd
Stars circle your.beautif u l . smile
Lady...love this song. The Commodores so timeless..=)
Dang, this song brings back memories.. :)
Love tbis song it's beautiful love him
Love it
catinhat.cd
Close to girl a moment a hour take my hand ,closer,clos e r , closer yeah,yeah,ye a h . Lawd
Love this. Song even without a woman in my life. ��
When I hear this - gotta dance!
They are the best group in the World
# MEMORIES..MA A A N ...
shippy29
3 TIMES A DAY CUZ I QUITW A LADY YOU LOVE YOU POOK AND LOVE THE COMMODORES ESP MY ENDLESS HOBY MERRY XMAS EVE YALL
A good woman will bring a man up when he's down.
I will ALWAYS LOVE THE COMMODORES AND LIONIEL RICHIE ALWAYES DORIS BROWN CHATTANOOGA TENN
immykee
Great music. What ever happened. Todays stuff can't touch it!!!
Love fibs song !! Love Lionel s voice it's beautiful !! Love him ❤️
Beautiful song
Just to be close to you, ultimate love song
catinhat.cd
Note...baby
hmorrisjr
How come Caught In The Act isn't included in the Discography? ? ? ?
I Swear I Emerged At The Wrong Time. This Is Real Music, Grown Folks Music, Beautiful Music. I Am Just An 80's Baby, But Man I Know Real Music. :)
Beautiful. Real music.
Classic
Maybe it's because I'm young, but I never knew Lionel Richie was in The Commodores.
Jesus is everything
The commodores say no more group great , richie single the best
I love to hear this song I wish everything was like Sunday morning easy
catinhat.cd
Got call somebody be back in minutes
Classic
catinhat.cd
Not enough time you, family,frien d s too much try please everyone.
I can't believe they made 50 albums. That is so many!
Great songwriter
Zoom.....
davehanson11
One of my all time favorite classics.. I almost saw Lionel at ACL in 2013 but had to catch a plan. Ughh..
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