Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 20 June '49 AL) Soul singer, songwriter, producer. Founder member of the Commodores, vocal/instrumental act successful on Motown from '74; he played tenor sax, then his lead vocals and songwriting made the group even bigger; he went solo c'81 and became the biggest black crossover artist of the '80s with smooth ballads. Nine top ten hits '82--5 incl. no. ones 'Truly' '82, 'All Night Long (All Night)' '83, 'Hello' '84, 'Say You, Say Me' '85 (heard in film but not soundtrack LP White Nights). His song 'Three Times A Lady' (hit for the Commodores and nominated for a Grammy '78) won ASCAP Nashville Country Songwriter Award, making crossover success complete. Appeared in film Thank God It's Friday '78. Albums cluttered with hits incl. Lionel Richie '82, Can't Slow Down '83 (won Grammy), Dancing On The Ceiling (the last two no. 1 pop albums; Dancing retitled Say You, Say Me '86 in USA to milk the hit). Also video The Making Of Dancing On The Ceiling '87. Others now on Motown CDs are Back To Front '92 (incl. Commodore top five hits); Louder Than Words '96 was his first new album in a decade.