Sunday, November 19, 2006

Number 725 - The Commodores


Number 725

The Commodores

"Brick House"

(1977)
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Genre:Funk/R&B
Hard to imagine a song like "Brick House" being released today to all the tree hugging, nancy politically correct wet blankets that rule our planet now.Ahhh the good ole days.
Renowned for the R&B hits "Just to Be Close to You," "Easy," and "Brickhouse," to name but a few, the 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 the 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, the 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. 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. The 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]
For Lionel Richie see Number 982
For Heatwave see Number 628
For Marvin Gaye see Number 611
For Endless Love see Number 916
For Earth Wind & Fire see Number 774
For Diana Ross see Number 716
What does Rolling Stone think about Commodores?
In a sense, the Commodores are the ultimate bar band funk group. And, like any good bar band, the Commodores have thrived on a patchwork of influences and sources. But unlike Earth, Wind and Fire, Parliament-Funkadelic or Bootsy's Rubber Band, the Commodores haven't been able to offer an alternative to the same old thing; they just do it more imaginatively than anybody else Brick House" and "Sanctified" aside, the lack of melodic concern is wearying, and the record suffers from indistinguishable riffs as well as a lack of any drama or tension. Commodores Live is meant to be a dance album, but for all the good-time veneer, it isn't very much fun. ~ [RS 256]
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (We are a Rock Magazine) and the Album ranked at Number (Nothing ever good came out of disco music)
Dont tell Michael Jackson that then, mr stone.
This song has a crowbarred rating of 67.3 out of 108 pts
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Lisa said...

For all Commodores fans out there, here's a once in a lifetime opportunity:

Commodores are hosting a contest looking for an addition to their group to tour with them in three cities!

The contest is called Land in the Band. Musicians download a track of a Commodores single with one instrument deleted from the track. They then record the song with that instrument, adding their own twist.

The musician with the most creativity and style will tour with the Commodores and win thousands in cash and prizes!

check it out at www.landintheband.com

6:31 am  

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