The funk/pop/R&B band The Commodores was formed in the mid 1970s as an alternative to the growing disco movement. They featured music that combined the new funk sound with a touch of R&B. The original members of the band were William "WAK" King (trumpet, rhythm guitar), James Dean "J.D." Nicholas (lead singer, keyboards), Lionel Richie (vocals, saxophone, piano), Thomas McClary (guitar), Milan Williams (keyboards) and Ronald La Pread (bass guitar, trumpet). The Commodores are generally considered one of the last truly successful bands that evolved out of the Motown star machine of the 1970s-1980s. During the band's existence through 1986, they released 15 studio albums and five greatest hit/live albums. While none of the band's albums ever hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album's Chart (three hit No. 3), several did hit the top of the US R&B Albums Charts, including Hot on the Tracks (1976), Commodores (1977),Natural High (1978), Midnight Magic (1979) and Nightshift in 1985. It was the latter album that earned the group its one and only Grammy, which was awarded for Best R&B Album. While the albums were commercially successful, the band found it easier to reach the top of the Billboard Singles Chart and R&B Singles Chart during the late 1970s. The No. 1 Hot 100 chart toppers included "Three Times a Lady" and "Still", while four other songs ("Slippery When Wet", "Just to Be Close to You", "Easy" and "Too Hot ta Trot") joined those at No. 1 on the R&B side. In 1982, Lionel Ritchie left the band to pursue a solo career that earned him superstar status during the 1980s and 1990s. Other members decided to move on in the mid 1980s. In 2003, the band was inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
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