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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

Pandora always seems 2 pick the right songs
My three yo son bobs his head cuz he thinks the Muppets in Space. Is on
Great music brings back memories
ethan3556
Brick house
























Aweesoe me
Easy was the first song i herd when i was born in 77
Sweet soul....
The Commodore use to battle my partner band in the battle of bands both came out of Tuskegee institute. That band was called talk third world out of Atlanta back in the 70's. They opened for isaac Hayes
HEY,,, PANDORA,, lmao,,, THANKS,,, I KNOW ALL MY LYRICS,,!! Specially,,, MY LIONEL
Never get tired of their songs !!!!
The Commodores love all their songs :)
aqilalim21 When someone said they love you you knew it was for real .
1.kiss your hand 5 times

2.post this on two other songs

3. Look under your pillow
I would love to hear Zoom! Lionel Richie wrote it for the wife of one of his band members who was dying of Cancer. Absolutely beautiful.
Love this
I just don't like this song, and never did. I've actually seen Lionel singing it in person, and I still don't like it.
this song is so catchy! i love it. my parents would always play this song. i love it
we're pregnant
thank god for lionel ritchie he still makes me feel,young againll
workinlady
I love this song i t hit right on point
makes me want to dance!!!
tomman30
fantastico!
johnmargie6
I'm easy.....
rodolfo.flor e s j r . 8 2
Super BAD!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! Ohhh Yeah
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.��
731103081
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
Love this song! Reminds me of high school days and the movie The Last American Virgin.
We were too blind to see :-(
beautiful song!
731103081
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
731103081
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
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