Commodores are a highly successful soul / funk band from Tuskegee, Alabama, USA formed in 1968 and very successful in the 1970s. They met as freshmen at Tuskegee Institute, and signed to Motown having first caught the public eye supporting The Jackson Five on tour.
Original Band Personnel
* Lionel Richie (vocals, saxophone, piano) – born on 20 June 1949, in Tuskegee, Alabama.
* Thomas McClary (lead guitar) – born on 6 October 1950, in Eustis, Florida.
* Milan Williams (keyboards) – born on 28 March 1948, died June 9th, 2006 in Houston.
* William King (trumpet) – born on 30 January 1949, in Florida.
* Ronald La Pread (bass guitar) – born on 4 September 1946, in Alabama.
* Walter Orange (vocals, drums) – born on 10 December 1946, in Florida.
Many of their hit tunes were written or co-written by Walter “Clyde” Orange, the original lead singer before Lionel Richie came on board. Lionel and Clyde alternated as lead singers. Clyde was also the lead singer on “Nightshift” and “Brick House” among others. Clyde now lives with his family in Coral Springs, Florida and has three children named Paula, Colin and Cody.
Band members typically alternated lead vocal duties. After Richie left to pursue a solo career, former Heatwave singer J.D. Nicholas assumed co-lead vocal duties with drummer Walter “Clyde” Orange. However, with the exception of the Grammy-winning “Nightshift” (a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson) the band never achieved the same level of success it had enjoyed with Richie. Ironically, “Nightshift” won The Commodores their only Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.
La Pread and McClary left the group subsequently, leaving Orange, King and Nicholas as the remaining performing members.
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