Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Still" by the Commodores - February 28th 80s Quest Song/Band of the Day

This song reminds me of two things:  High School Dances (it was one of THE best slow dance songs), and weeping over lost relationships when this song came on the air.  Lyrically it very honest.  It is a sad and beautifully written song.
Lady, morning's just a moment away
And I'm without you once again
You laughed at me
You said you never needed me
I wonder if you need me now

So many dreams that flew away
So many words we didn't say
Two people lost in a storm
Where did we go?
Where'd we go?

We lost what we both had found
You know we let each other down
But then most of all
I do love you

We played the games that people play
We made our mistakes along the way
Somehow I know deep in my heart
You needed me
'cause I needed you so desperately!
We were too blind to see
But then most of all
I do love you

The original members of The Commodores met one another as freshmen in 1968 at a Tuskegee University (then called Tuskegee Institute) talent show. They originally called themselves The Mystics, but used a dictionary to find a new name. The agreed to open the dictionary and randomly pick out a word. Member William King stated in People Magazine, "We lucked out. We almost became The Commodes!"

The band started out playing cover songs at local Tuskegee parties and fraternities. They were known as a funky party band. Their influences were Sly and the Family Stone and The Bar-Kays. Their original singer, James Ingram (not the famous R&B singer, he just had the same name) was their original lead singer, but he left the band to serve in the military in Vietnam. Walter "Clyde" Orange came on board as the new singer. When Lionel Richie joined the band, he and Orange shared lead singer duties.

In 1969 The Commodores piled in a van and drove to Harlem, NYC to seek summer gigs. It didn’t take very long before their equipment was stolen, and then sold back to them. They persevered and got a gig at a club called Small’s Paradise. At Small’s they met businessman, Benny Ashburn, who became their manager. They signed to Atlantic Records and released a single, but it didn’t chart.

They moved on to Motown Records, where they were signed in 1971. Their first two year under contract they toured as the opening band for The Jackson Five. It took until 1974 for The Commodores to finally record at Motown because they didn’t conform to the stylish, polished Motown look and style.

Their first three album releases Caught in the Act, Movin’ On, and Hot On the Tracks were very danceable and funky. Their major hit from this period was the song "Brick House which went to #5 on the U.S. charts.

All members of the band had been writing songs, but Richie evolved to become the main songwriter. Thereafter the band’s sound became softer and ballad-driven. In 1977 they recorded the song "Easy" which climbed to #4 on the charts and became their biggest selling hit. They had their first #1 song in 1978 with "Three Times a Lady". In 1979 their song "Sail On" rose to #5 in 1979, followed by their next hit "Still". In 1981 "Oh No" and "Lady (You Bring Me Up) both were top ten hits.

In 1978 The Commodores appeared in the disco movie, "Thank God It’s Friday". Their songs "Brick House" and "Easy" were played in the movie, and the band performed the song "Too Hot ta Trot" during the dance contest portion.

Lionel Richie began working on side projects. He wrote a song for Kenny Rogers, and dueted with Diana Ross on the theme song for the movie "Endless Love". In 1982 he released a self-titled solo album that included the hit song "Truly". Shortly thereafter Richie left The Commodores to pursue a solo career, and the singer from Heatwave, James Dean "J.D." Nicholas, joined the band sharing lead vocals with Orange. After Richie’s departure the band never achieved the same level of success they had previously, although they did have a hit in 1984, "Nightshift" which won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

As time went on, the group’s founding members began leaving the band for various reasons such as pursuing solo careers, moving, joining other bands, etc.

In 1986 The Commodores left Motown Records and signed with Polydor for two records. More members began left the group and only three members remained (Orange, Nicholas, and William King). They founded Commodore Records and began releasing compilations of previously released material and hits that


Lady, morning's just a moment away,
And I'm without you once again.
You laughed at me, you said you've never needed me,
I wonder if you need me now.
We played the grams that people play, we made mistakes along the way.
Somehow I know deep in my heart, you needed me.
Remembering the pain, if I must say, it's deep in my mind and locked away,
But then most of all, I do love you

Those memories, times I'm sure we'll never forget,
Those feelings we can't put aside.
For what we had, sometimes I try to understand,
But it's so heavy on my mind.
So many dreams that flew away, so many words we didn't say.
Two people lost in a storm, where did we go, where'd we go?
Lost what we both had found, you know we let each other down.
But then most of all, I do love you

We played the games that people play,
We made mistakes along the way.
Somehow I know deep in my heart, you needed me.
Cause I needed you so desperately.
We were too blind to see, but then,
Most of all, I do love you

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