Saturday, August 1, 2015

Commodores - Lady (You Bring Me Up)

A nearly perfect 1981 time capsule (right down to the short shorts and high socks), "Lady (You Bring Me Up)" captures the Commodores at the end of the Lionel Richie era, when they were still one of the biggest acts in pop/funk.

The group formed while at the Tuskegee Institute in the late 1960's, and signed with Motown Records in 1972.  They quickly rose to become one of the most popular acts in 1970's and early 1980's pop/funk; between 1975 and 1981 they had 10 top 30 LPs and 15 top 40 singles.  As many reader will know, the Commodores sound evolved over time, becoming more pop and less funk.  This migration to pop was driven by singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, which created tension in the band and ultimately led to Richie leaving in 1982.

In the aftermath of Richie's departure, the Commodores soldiered on as a working band, but without a ton of major commercial success.  Lionel Richie would of course go on to become a major pop star, before going into semi-retirement in 1987.

"Lady (You Bring Me Up)" became a #8 hit in 1981, while the In the Pocket LP would peak at #13.

Cool trivia fact:  The Commodores had great difficulty picking their name, and ultimately chose it by picking a name out of the dictionary.  This led the band to joke that they almost became known as the Commodes.

Cool trivia fact #2:  The group is looking at a Billboard magazine at the start of the video, and eagle eyed readers may notice the back page advertisement for Van Halen's Fair Warning album (our favorite Van Halen LP), which was released in April, 1981.

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