Hinted at the potential of Lionel Richie
David O'Donnell 2008
March 1977 saw the release of The Commodores' self-titled album on Motown Records. This, their fifth studio album showcased more of the energetic funk the band had become famed for during extensive touring earlier in their career. However, Commodores as an album additionally hinted at the potential of Lionel Richie as both a songwriter and solo artist in his own right.
Ritchie penned the ballad Easy, which become a massive crossover success with its country and western influences and silky vocals. As well as becoming a number-one hit in the US R&B charts, the single also reached number four in the Billboard Hot 100.
Another single, the somewhat politically incorrect Brick House became a seminal disco track peaking at number five in the US and was re-recorded more recently in 2003 featuring Richie alongside Rob Zombie and Trina.
The success of these two singles led to the Commodores' profile becoming elevated from regional funk band to one of the premier R&B groups in the US.