The original members of the Commodores met as freshmen at Tuskegee Institute and began the group that grew from a hit regional act to a worldwide phenomenon.
They signed with Motown Records in 1971 and toured, opening for the Jackson Five. Their first big hit was an instrumental called "Machine Gun", and they followed with a string of 22 gold records, six platinum, two double platinum and three triple platinum albums, selling close to 40 million records. Their first recordings for the label were produced in Muscle Shoals by Terry Woodford and Clayton Ivey.
The group scored with hits such as "I Feel Sanctified", "Slippery When Wet", "Fancy Dancer", "Just To Be Close To You", "Sweet Love", "Easy", "Three Times A Lady", "Sail On" and "Still". The hit recordings included four Top Five albums, "Commodores", "Commodores Live", "Natural High", and "Midnight Magic".
In 1982 Richie left to pursue a solo career, and since then McClary and LaPread have also left the group. J.D. Nicholas was added to the band and following the hit album "Nightshift", the group left Motown Records and moved to Polygram Records where they released the album "Rock Solid".
Tuskegee, Alabama - Original Members:
Thomas McClary, Guitar
Lionel Richie, Saxophone
Milan Williams, Keyboards
Walter Orange, Drums
William King, Trumpet
Ronald LaPread, Bass