Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 8: The Commodores

6 Degrees of Soul: While Day 7’s The O’Jays was making hits in Philadelphia, another group was just starting out as the opening act for The Jackson 5. Before they left Tuskegee Institute to pursue their musical dreams they were known as The Jays. Since The O’Jays were a hit already, member William King randomly picked a word out of the dictionary for their new moniker, from then on they would be known as Day 8’s The Commodores.

One of the more musically diverse bands of the 70’s & 80’s, The Commodores played everything from smooth ballads to straight-up funk. Vocally led by both Lionel Richie and Walter “Clyde” Orange they became known for the anthem “Brick House” and tribute to Jackie Wilson & Marvin Gaye with “Nightshift”. Little known fact: Tom Joyner was a member of the group before his father told him to leave because he felt they were going no where.
…every time this song comes on people begin to sway and join in… it never fails… “Jesus Is Love”
…and just like everyone begins to join in with that song… they all get down to “Brick House”
…one of most clear-headed-I’m-moving-on songs I’ve ever heard… “Easy”
…the success of “Easy” began the groups segue into pop ballads… here’s another… “Three Times A Lady”
…let’s “Zoom” to that place… where everyone is doing better…
…in 1984, music lost both Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye… The Commodores, now without Lionel Richie, made their last major hit song with “Nightshift”… a touching tribute to both legends… the song would later win them their only Grammy…
come back for more great soul…
– dre’ of

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