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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

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Commdoers i love very much.
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hardin7j3
I love this song he want let us down at all amen
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4th of July family gatherings cookouts, softball, good food and music cousins uncles aunts just chilling having family fun!!
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Dude on the cover has an anorexic "Finger!" finger.
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Luv to "get funky in my platforms" Those were the greatest days. Free love !
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Awesome group with amazing hits but I must say that Lionel Richie was the backbone when these guys were together. Don't think so? Check your "Commodores" history!!!
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Zoom.. love this song... I have a love that I long to see..
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My true happiness is out there somewhere...
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AND GUEST WHAT AM IN SOUTH TEXAS,,, lol
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LIONEL ,,, we don't realize,,,,, we ppl,,, don't realize,,,, LIONEL,,,, TRUST ME ,,,, he's the BEST,,,,,, u know when,,,, when he goes away!!!! THATS WHEN,,,, WOW LIONEL,,,, the good thing ,,,, THAT I KNOW WHO LIONEL IS,,,, ALABAMA!!!
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Great soothing music
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Melvin waited
..q


Melvin waiters
Q


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Melvinwalter s
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Lol!!!!
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Still loving your tunes. Thanks for being. GOD Bless
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Sail on
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Love ♡ falling to Sleep & Waking Up to All this Terific Music#!!!Tha n k You...
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easy on the ears...
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Claude I really enjoy old music that the lick real music love it keep on with the sound going.
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Every time I hear Zoom, it resonates with me strongly. My favorite
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Love the commodores songs
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Good job Pandora
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I want everyone to know iam Looking for a good time....Sail on.....
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Mmm,mmm,mmm, , , s h o nuff lol
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One of my favorite's ����������
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Tommorow will be the best day of our life on the nearest Friday u will be kissed post this on 5 comments if not u will die in 2 days
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The Commodores Wow words cannot explain how much I love these guys. They gave me so much joy. Now it brings back so many memories. I pray your all living in peace and being blessed.
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Zoom is one of my favs, I'd like to fly away.....thi s song has to amazing when smoking, LOL. You can't tell me they weren't enhanced while writing some of these song, nonetheless beautiful
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jerrybowers2 3
Real music, they don't make music like this anymore. Might have prevented a lot of the kilings in our community.
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Love this!
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migdaliaroma n 0 1 0 1 1 9 6 5
Not bad too say something to a woman, but what if a woman trying to find real love.
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cashirinian
Absolutely Beautiful... . Music with meaning, rhythm and words to feel!
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Fell in love with my high school sweetheart to this song! Ahhhhh puppy love at it's finest to one of the greatest bands and vocalists of all time
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Yes this is real music!!
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I would love to fly away.... Zoom
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Love this song. Still!
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SHES A BRICK HOOOUSE
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I like this song
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tomykalipsco m b
I love this group! Yeah this song brings back some good times.
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marthadelane y 8
Old school memories
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artist685
Love this song! Lady
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I LOVE PANDORA
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Now Playing: Lady (You Bring Me Up) by The Commodores on The PARTY! Station (Hits1 Radio Network)
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Wish they had a repeat button.
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They don't make music like this anymore!! #TheCommodor e s #Lady #Motown #Pandora
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Love Sunday mornings
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Brings back memories
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I am searching for that silver lining horizons that I will never see.
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dchabella8
Precursos of Earht, Wind and fire ???????????? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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dchabella8
Usa !!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! c a m e to you in 1967........ . . . . . . . . . . M y university in life........ . . . . . . T h e Commodores among other groups...... . . . . . . . . . s h o w e d me what i already knew........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . t h e best is taught by the best !!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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