The original members of the Commodores, Thomas McClary, Lionel Richie, Milan Williams, Walter Orange, William King and Ronald LaPread met as freshmen at Tuskegee Institute and began the group that grew from a regional act to a world wide phenomenon.
They signed with Motown Records in 1971 and for the first two years worked as the opening act for the Jackson Five. Their first big hit, in 1974, was an instrumental, hard funk groove called "Machine Gun". This was followed by several early hits including "I Feel Sanctified", "Slippery When Wet", and "Fancy Dancer". By 1977 ballads written by Lionel Richie were taking center stage - "Just To Be Close To You", "Sweet Love", and "Easy" were hits. In 1978 they reached number one in the Pop Charts with "Three Times A Lady" followed by pop hits "Sail On", and "Still".
The Commodores released a string of 22 gold records, six platinum, two double platinum and three triple platinum albums, selling close to 40 million records.
The Commodores are a 1995 Lifework Award for Performing Achievement recipient.