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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

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
dsudds54
They were the best..
Ahhh... Three Times a Lady. Our Costa Rica wedding song in 2012 at Hotel Bougainville a .
there,has,ne v e r , b e e n , a artis,like,t h i s , b a n d .
Sail On - What a classy way to dump someone!!
ispepell
Love this song!
Lady...favor i t e Commodores jam!
Play that piano man ! guys in the band harmonize to great lyrics what it took to be a Hit do you agree
I loved when Kurt Browning skated to Brick house and got 10's !
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Post this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come up on the screen. This is so scary because it actually works.
lady!333
ZOOM was the jam 1979!!!!!! !
Nothing but sweet MEMORIES
76-77-78 For All The Hipsters. 14y 1m
Good for any generation,l o v e this song.
LOVE THIS ONE!! <3
Zoom raptured up into heaven don't u wanna go
I love this song! DAMN I miss Jon!! R.I.P., babe!!
#SweetLove - One of my favorites! >> Put a little love in your heart and a little heart in your love... The world is filled with all the lonely people, all they need is a hand to guide them, to a brighter place.... #Inspiring #Love #Guide #Positive I know you're searching for the love and a little #peace and #understandi n g and I know it's been hard trying to find your way, but you gotta keep on searching HARDER day by day...
Wow. This song is oldddddd!:)
lakers_27
I like this song follow
Why anybody want to put chains on my... I payed my dues to make it.... #Real #Inspiring #Words #Truth Love me some Commodores #Listen I wanna be free!!
This was my theme when I left mt bad dog of a man. Took my caddy n left. N I was easy
ajikedeinbo
I love zoom, this song is just fantastic!
I'm ten feet tall!!!!!!!!
evareed1
Forever music!!!!
The commodores doin the dam thang....zoo o o m ! ! ! ! !
the openlng guitar licks alone im in another place
Classic
Easy.....yum m y :). When this is heard on a Sunday with my hubby and kids I thank God for life's blessings.
Love it!
Easy ......one of those songs that just takes you back! love it :)
The best!
dc4fortours
Hello..still . . u nane it i love it
pavanna101
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
Like bam bam bam bam bam lol
We know she gunna beat her own cheeks
Mmm... Couldn't think of a better way to finish off this long Monday night... Than gettin my w.o mode on... Push it a little harder tonight... Extending my jog...cant get enough of this beautiful night... Luv these dark paths, brights stars, n the calmness of the night... sweet... n so peaceful... so needed the alone time... ; )
Good music I think about the good Times At French Hospital!!!! ! ! ! ! T h e Best Times!!!!!
Just To Be Close To You, dang these were my high school days! the party wasnt over till this played
future army totally agree sickening
kimjo727
The good days when all genres of music was accepted!!!!
Enough with the spam. Dont degrade a good song like this with that crap.
donahue_jp Don't read this because it actually woks. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and ur lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works!

2mo

marilyn.p
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