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Commodores – Brick House

Written by on 16/01/2019

 

Released August 1977

In 1977, the Commodores were in the studio recording when there was a problem with the equipment. While the equipment was being repaired and replaced, the group took a break. Ronald LaPread, the group’s bass player, began jamming. Bit by bit the rest of the band joined in until they came up with a track and bass line. Upon returning, James Carmichael, the Commodores’ producer, heard and recognized that this could be a song worth recording. He asked everyone to see if they could use the riff to come up with a song. Taking the tapes home, William King played them for his wife, Shirley Hanna-King. While he slept, she was inspired to write lyrics for the riff, modifying the expression “built like a brick shithouse” for the song.

The following day King sang the lyrics to “Brick House” to the band, allowing them to think he had written it. They loved it and decided that drummer Walter “Clyde” Orange had the funky voice to sing lead vocals, (as opposed to Lionel Richie, who usually sang lead), and the song went on the new album.

It took several years before the other members of the group discovered that it was actually Shirley Hanna-King who had written the lyrics, and although she was not originally credited, the band has publicly acknowledged her as the song’s writer.


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