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Quality soul music from the seventies and eighties
am 21. Februar 2005
Motown's golden decade was the sixties, after which several of their stars quit or departed for rival labels. Of the new artists that Motown signed in the seventies, the Commodores were easily their best and most successful. Eventually their lead singer, Lionel Richie, left the group to pursue a solo career. The Commodores continued without him but only scored one major hit - Nightshift, a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. This compilation omits Nightshift but includes all the important hits that Lionel Richie had, both with the Commodores and as a solo singer.
The Commodores began mixing hard-edged funk songs with soulful ballads but the latter proved to be more popular and these came to dominate their music. Machine gun (their first hit) and Too hot to trot were their most successful funky singles, but the songs that they are best remembered for are all ballads. Three times a lady became a number one hit for them in Britain and America. Conway Twitty covered it and took it into the country top ten, proving that a great song can be adapted to any style of music. Easy, Sail on and Still (all of which made the UK top ten) are other great Commodores ballads.
Lionel Richie was even more successful as a solo singer than he had been as lead singer of the Commodores. Dispensing with the funky songs, he focused entirely on ballads. He even wrote one for Kenny Rogers (Lady - an American number one hit) following which he produced an entire album for Kenny (Share your love). So even if his solo career had flopped, he showed that he could have a career as a songwriter and producer. He didn't need to worry as his own hits kept coming. Endless love (with Diana Ross), Truly, All night long, Running with the night, Hello, Say you say me and Dancing on the ceiling all made the UK top ten while Lionel was with Motown.
This compilation provides a very comprehensive collection of Lionel Richie's music, with and without the Commodores. I was slightly disappointed by the omission of Deep river woman, a track featuring the country super-group Alabama. It would have been nice if they'd included Nightshift too. Both those tracks can be found elsewhere. For most people, this is the only Lionel Richie album they will ever need.