William King

R&B, Pop

Born:  January 30, 1949 Homewood, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

William King


William A. King

Trumpet & vocals

Nickname: "Wak"

Born: January 30 (Capricorn)

Alabamian William King originally wanted to be a drummer, but found that all the drum-kits were occupied in his school and was forced to choose between clarinet and trumpet. He took the trumpet. Lionel Richie and Thomas McClary drafted William King from The Tuskegee Institute's marching band and together with three other guys, they became known as The Mystics. After Milan Williams was recruited from rivaling school-band The Jays, a new name was needed to celebrate the event. William King was blindfolded and selected the word "commodore" at random from a dictionary. In 1969, this first edition of The Commodores went to New York and cut a single for Atlantic Records called "Keep On Dancing". William was also a skilled dancer and served as The Commodores' choreographer.

Among the tracks William King wrote are "Thumpin' Music", "Funky Situation", "Young Girls Are My Weakness" (with Ronald LaPread), "Time" (with Thomas McClary) "I Feel Sanctified" (with the group and Jeffrey Bowen), "You Don't Know That I Know", "Let's Get Started", "Brick House", "Too Hot Ta Trot" (with the group), "Fire Girl" (with Darrell Jones and David Cochrane from the Mean Machine), "You're Special","Mighty Spirit" (with Harold Hudson from the Mean Machine) and "Lady (You Bring Me Up)" (with Shirley King and Harold Hudson).

After Lionel Richie had departed from The Commodores (and had taken "their" producer James Anthony Carmichael with him) The Commodores began to produce themselves. For their first Richie-less LP "13" in 1983, William produced and co-wrote "I'm In Love" and "Turn Off The Lights" (written with Harold Hudson and William's wife, Shirley). Together with Dennis Lambert, William produced "I Keep Running" (written with Shirley King and Harold Hudson) on the "Nightshift" LP. In 1986, William and James Anthony Carmichael produced "Talk To Me" (written by William with Shirley King and Harold Hudson). Together with Walter Orange and Tony Prendatt, Walter produced "So Nice" and also co-wrote and produced "Thank You" (written with Shirley King and Harold Hudson).

Today, William King and Walter Orange are the only members left in the Commodores from the original line-up.

Source: http://hem.bredband.net/funkyflyy/commodores/william.html



1995 Inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame


The Commodores

1995 Inductees (Lifework Award)

William King (Jan. 30, 1949-  ), Ronald LaPread (Sept. 14, 1950-  )

William McClary (Oct. 6, 1950-  ), J.D. Nicholas (April 12, 1952-  )

Walter “Clyde” Orange (Dec. 10, 1946-  ), Lionel Richie (June 20, 1949-  )

Milan Williams (March 28, 1948-July 9, 2006)

Renowned for the funk, soul and R&B hits “Just to Be Close to You,” “Easy” and “Brick House,” the Commodores became one of the top bands in the world during their long tenure at the Detroit-based Motown label. The group is credited with 50 albums that produced seven No. 1 songs and a host of other Top 10 hits on the Billboard charts.

The members of the Commodores all attended Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. The original lineup consisted of William King on trumpet, Thomas McClary on guitar, Ronald LaPread on bass, Walter “Clyde” Orange on drums, Lionel Richie on saxophone and Milan Williams on keyboards.  At loss for a name for their new group, Orange gave King a dictionary and told him to pick a name – and the word he chose was “commodore.”

The Commodores’ long association with Motown began as a result of a tour opening for the Jackson 5 in 1971.  The group made its Motown debut recording the up-tempo instrumental dance cut “Machine Gun” in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Top 10 hit was followed by the Top 20 single “I Feel Sanctified” and the group’s first No. 1 record, “Slippery When Wet.”  The septet rocked the airwaves with its brand of Southern funk, spiced with an animated vocal delivery courtesy of lead singers Richie and Orange.

The Commodores’ Motown hit streak continued with their second No. 1 single, “Just to Be Close to You,” the Top 10 hit “Fancy Dancer” and the group’s first No. 1 ballad, “Easy.” The funky dance smash “Brick House,” which quickly became the group’s anthem, was followed by the consecutive No. 1 singles “Too Hot ta Trot,” “Three Times a Lady” and “Still.”

In 1982, Richie left the group to pursue a successful solo career.  In his absence, the Commodores promptly courted tenor J.D. Nicholas (formerly of Heatwave) to join the group and ended up recording their biggest hit.  Penned by Orange, “Night Shift” paid tribute to the late soul singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. The single topped the charts for four consecutive weeks and earned the group its only Grammy Award to date.

The Commodores left the Motown label in 1985 and signed with Polydor the same year. The group returned to the Top 10 with “Goin’ to the Bank.”  During the 1990s, the band’s lineup was reduced to a core of three Commodores: Orange, King and Nicholas.  The trio later established its own label, Commodore Records, continuing to record and perform classic and contemporary sounds for sold-out crowds all over the world well into the 21st century.

Source: http://www.alamhof.org/commodores.html

The Ultimate Collection: The Commodores, The CommodoresCaught In the Act, The CommodoresMotown Legends: The Commodores, The CommodoresRise Up, The CommodoresThe Commodores, The CommodoresKeep On Dancing, The Commodores20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Commodores, The Commodores

Listen: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-commodores/id127282

Listen: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_sq_top?ie=UTF8&keywords=%2Fthe%20commodores&index=blended&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000001AEE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1JANA9JQX065ABSZ060H

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTsw4g-cxgQ

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrBx6mAWYPU









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