Renowned for the R&B hits "Just to Be Close to You," "Easy," and "Brickhouse," to name but a few, 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 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).
After leaving the Commodores, Lionel Richie became one of the most successful male solo artists of the '80s, arguably eclipsed during his 1981-1987 heyday only by Michael Jackson and Prince. Richie dominated the pop charts during that period with an incredible run of 13 consecutive Top Ten hits, five of them number ones. As his popularity skyrocketed, Richie moved further away from his R&B origins and concentrated more on adult contemporary balladry, which had been one of his strengths even as part of the Commodores.
The revamped 1995 edition of Anthology includes all of the group's hit singles, as well as significant album tracks and singles that didn't chart, making it the definitive portrait of the popular, groundbreaking urban contemporary group.
When it came time for Motown to package its Commodores catalog for the CD market, they paired up the albums into a series of two-fers, one of the more suitable pairings being Natural High/Midnight Magic. These back to back albums, from 1978 and 1979 respectively, flow together well. Neither is one of the group's best overall albums, but each has a good share of hits that add up to a satisfying albeit spotty sum, one that includes a pair of gigantic hits, "Three Times a Lady" and "Still." These two crossover hits are both quiet piano ballads sung by Lionel Richie, who had made such songs his stock-in-trade by this point, delivering one or two on every successive Commodores album, to generally greater and greater (and broader) success each go round.
Thank God It's Friday is a 1978 American musical comedy film directed by Robert Klane and produced by Motown Productions and Casablanca Filmworks for Columbia Pictures. The film contains many popular disco songs, with many key performers featured, including Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Thelma Houston, The Commodores. A triple album containing many of the tracks heard in the film was a commercial success.
14 songs covering the biggest Commodores material with Lionel Richie. It's a good single-disc package, although most of Motown's CDs in the late '70s and early '80s had very uneven sound. There's also a Commodores greatest hits album that came out in 1981 and a 14 greatest hits album that came out overseas a year after this one.
Motown's series of Commodores two-fers paired Hot on the Tracks with In the Pocket and, in doing so, spanned a rather drastic breach in the group's evolution. Lionel Richie and company had recorded Hot on the Tracks just as they were hitting their stride in the mid-'70s, fresh off the burgeoning, yet still relatively modest, success of Caught in the Act and Movin' On. It's an excellent album, surely one of the group's best. On the other hand, the Commodores had recorded In the Pocket in 1981, after five steady years of chart-topping quiet storm ballads and a gradual shift from loose funk to stiff disco. Furthermore, by the time the Commodores recorded In the Pocket, Richie had become the group's de facto hitmaker and was on the brink of jumping ship for an incredibly popular solo career.