The Commodores were formed in at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1967 as the Mystics, becoming the Commodores in 1969. All students at the Institute, the original line-up consisted of Lionel Richie, William King, Thomas McClary, Milan Williams, Ronald LaPread, and Walter "Clyde" Orange.
The group was signed by Motown in 1972, and started out as the opening act for the Jackson 5 on their European tour. It was two years before the Commodores ever started recording, but once they did, they became Motown's best-selling male group of the '70s.
The Commodores were the launching pad for one of the '80s top pop talents, Lionel Richie. Singing lead vocals on ballads "Three Times A Lady," "Easy" and "Still," Richie led the group to their first #1 pop smash with "Three Times A Lady" (1978) and "Still" and 1979. After Richie left to pursue his solo career in 1981, the Commodores bounced back with their last #1 hit, "Nightshift." (1985)