Classics: Commodores – Nightshift (Motown)
Florida-born Walter Orange came to join the Commodores soon after the departure of James Ingram (no connection with the famous artist of the likes) who was their first singer. From then he would write many of the group’s hits. Eventually taking the lead on the memorable ‘Brick House’. But also on the early 1985 released ‘Nightshift’… The first success of the group following Lionel Richie‘s departure the year before.
Comin’ up with mixing work courtesy of Sergio Munzibai and John Morales… Orange co-wrote ‘Nightshift’ as a tribute to both Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye who passed in 1984. Meanwhile sharing the duties with Dennis Lambert and Franne Golde.
The group eventually recorded a new version of ‘Nightshift’, adding a mention to Michael Jackson. This after his passing in 2009. Whatever version, you don’t wanna miss this. Do you?
The Commodores originated back in 1969 while its members attended Tuskegee University, AL. As a matter of fact, they formed from the reunion of two groups by the likes of The Mystics and The Jays.
After establishing themselves locally, they went on to perform at NY’s Town Hall. There, they got hired by talent scout Benjamin Ashurn who soon after became their manager. He brought them to sign a deal with Motown. Altough originally as a support act for The Jackson 5.
The instrumental ‘Machine Gun’, the title track of their 1974 debut-album, opened their route to the glory. Further international chart success eluded though until 1977 and the release of their eponymous album. An album which featured the Funky ‘Brick House’ led by Walter Clyde Orange. But also ‘Easy’ which established Lionel Richie both as a songwriter and a first league singer. A smooth gem which, along with ‘Zoom’, opened the path to many follow-ups in that vein. And eventually set up a new direction for the group. Producer James Anthony Carmichael crafting classics such as ‘Three Times A Lady’ or ‘Still’. This, before going along with Richie when he went solo back in 1982.
It’s most likely fair to say his departure left some emptiness behind. With the Commodores failing to recapture their initial success without him. They briefly got back under the spotlights back in 1985 though. With the release of ‘Nightshift’ produced by Dennis Lambert, as a tribute to both Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye. A song which they eventually re-recorded adding a mention to Michael Jackson, following his death back in 2009.
McClary left the band back in 1984 to pursue a solo career and collaborate with other artists such as Klique or Michael Henderson, eventually rejoining the band back in 2014.
The Commodores have released a total of 19 albums between 1974 and 1998. This including a Live set and a Xmas package. They continue to perform around the world nowadays. Consisting of Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange, James Dean ‘J.D.’ Nicholas, and William ‘WAK’ King, along with their five-piece band, known as the Mean Machine…