The Commodores are best known for their hits “Just to Be Close to You,” “Easy,” and “Brick House.” They were one of the top bands during their long, illustrious time with Motown Records. The group is credited with seven number one songs and a plethora of Top Ten hits on the Billboard charts. Their catalog is impressive and extensive, including more than 50 albums.
The original members of The Commodores are William King, Thomas McClary, Ronald LaPread, Walter “Clyde” Orange, Lionel Richie and Milan Williams. The group met while attending Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. They originally banded together to play music as a pastime and randomly selected the word “commodores” from the dictionary and made it their official band name. Soon after they gained popularity in the university and surrounding community, eventually venturing to New York City for a show at Small’s Paradise. At the show, they were incredibly successful and were asked to stay for a longer duration. This event catalyzed a long, successful career for the group.
Their rise to national fame came after they signed to Motown and opened for the Jackson 5 on their tour in 1971. They debuted into the mainstream music industry with the upbeat dance single “Machine Gun.” The song quick gained top ten status and earned the group fans across the nation. Shortly after, the hit was followed his “I Feel Sanctified,” which led to their third single from their first number one record, “Slippery When Wet.”
The Commodores have remained a force in the music industry. Their success has not only been a result of the production of new albums and a worldwide tour, the creation of their own record label Commodores Records & Entertainment helped give them a legacy in the music industry. The current members William King, Walter “Clyde” Orange and J.D. Nicholas stand not only as talented and successful musicians, but as artists determined to continue their success into the future.
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