Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Nightshift" by The Commodores

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2197
Date:  01/26/1985
Debut:  71
Peak:  3
Weeks:  22
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary, Pop



Pop Bits:  After Lionel Richie's departure, The Commodores initial attempt to regroup and forge on didn't work out well. Their album Commodores 13 would be a dud that became their worst charting effort since their 1974 debut. For their next LP, they made some changes and brought on producer Dennis Lambert. In addition to producing, Lambert also co-wrote a couple of songs for the album including this title track that he wrote with Franne Golde and Commodores member Walter Orange. After work on the album was completed, it was decided that this song would serve as the lead off single. It was a solid choice as the song became a multi-format hit reaching #1 R&B, #2 AC, #3 Pop, and #6 Dance. It would be the band's most successful single of the post-Richie era. The song helped the album reach #1 at R&B and #12 Pop, and returned them to gold-level sales.

ReduxReview:  Nostalgia sells and when matched properly to a song, it can result in a hit like this one. I think this is a strong song to being with and might have done well with different lyrics, but pair it with nice references to Gaye and Wilson and it turned into a real winner. Unfortunately, the band was never able to secure any material as good as this and they faded quickly. At least they got this one out and it is one that has continued to get airplay over the years. I'm sure when Lionel Richie heard this he was probably like, "dang - I should have come up with that one!"

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In 1984, two icons of soul music died - Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye. This song pays tribute to both artists. Although most folks were familiar with Gaye, especially the younger generation thanks to Gaye's last hit, 1982's "Sexual Healing," many were not familiar with Wilson. As one of the biggest soul stars of the 50s and 60s, Wilson's music and performance style influenced generations of musicians. After being part of Billy Ward and His Dominoes, Wilson went solo in 1957. He scored sixteen R&B Top 10's (including five #1's) and six Pop Top 10's including his final big hit 1967's "(You're Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (#1 R&B, #6 Pop), which became a #2 Pop hit in 1977 for singer Rita Cooledge. Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.  2) Over the years, The Commodores racked up nine Grammy nominations. Their only win was for this song. They received the award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Duo or Group. This was without Lionel Richie, but he received his own Grammy when he won Album of the Year for Can't Slow Down.

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