July Night Filled With Motown Hits At Ironstone
Bringing their soul and R&B sounds to Ironstone Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 21 at 8 p.m. with three decades of tracks like “Brick House,” “Easy,” and “Nightshift” the Grammy award winning artists The Commodores along with The Isley Brothers and The Family Stone will bring classic Motown to Murphys.
The Commodores formed in 1968 after being discovered by Berry Gordy, Record Executive and Producer for Motown that included Thomas McClary, Lionel Richie, Walter “Clyde” Orange, William King, and Ronald LaPread. They have sold 75 million albums worldwide.
As fortune would have it, the Commodores drummer shipped off to the Navy which left an opening that Orange took advantage of and slid right into the position. Being that he played drums in the high school band and could read music as well as sing this was a great fit for him. The group had also seen him play with other groups and was pleased that Orange was on board.
“After that (high school) graduating out into the street hood of the world and learning to gig, in other words make money for playing the drums,” said Orange. “I bought my first drum set and drove the family crazy because I wanted to learn to play. It didn’t matter to me at that time. It was just for the love of what I was doing.”
In the beginning after playing a few clubs on the East Coast and being asked to perform for weeks at a time they began to have a following.
The buzz was created and people started taking notice of The Commodores. The Jackson 5 was in need of an opening act so they reached out to the group, which became their opener off and on for about five years.
“We just pulled together,” expressed Orange about coming together as a group. “We were really, really, tight, and we moved together and dressed alike and had a manager that wanted to see us succeed. We were a family and we were going to make it.”
Reminiscing about the experience of touring with the Jackson 5, Orange recalls Michael Jackson when he was around nine or ten years old tapping them on the head and running off.
“There were other groups that opened for them but they could not hold their own,” added Orange. “We held our own.”
With the record industry changing so much through the years The Commodores have weathered the storms and continued their legacy touring and entertaining audiences. Although the members have changed throughout the years, original members Orange and King along with the third member J.D. Nicholas will be bringing the classic hits to Ironstone.
“We respect the business,” expressed Orange. “We believe in being on time, we believe in uniformity in everything that we do and it shows. We believe in looking correct. We are just one for all and all for one, like the three musketeers.”
The Commodores received their first Grammy in 1986 with the song “Nightshift” which Orange helped write and there was another track that he is certainly proud that many know called “Brick House.”
As he sings some lyrics and then performs the beat to “Brick House,” Orange shared that the producer at the time called him Clyde and let him know that he believed he just wrote a hit.
“I thank the Lord for two of the songs that he blessed me to be able to write,” added Orange. “It was just an inspiration and I put the words to it. It was fun. That was a blessing from the Lord.”
They do not know how much longer they will be touring and not sure what the future holds but they do love what they do and love bringing their routines and songs to the crowd.
“It is through God’s grace and mercy that we are still together today,” stated Orange. “We are like brothers. We can’t wait to get in the place to do our thing and get some yahoos. You don’t take from the people; you give to the people. That is Commodore Country.”
The Commodores, from left, William King, Walter “Clyde” Orange, and J.D. Nicholas will be performing at Ironstone Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 21 at 8 p.m. along with the Isley Brothers and the Family Stone.