The Singers: Formed in the late '60s when the members
were school mates at the Tuskegee Institute, the Commodores are best known for
two things: having fostered a young Lionel Richie, and the funk jam "Brick
House". The group's hits were
split between "Brick House"-like funk songs ("Machine Gun" and "Lady (You Bring Me Up)" ) and
Richie-penned soul ballads, like "Still" and the eternal "Easy." Today's slow jam, however, comes from 1985, after Richie had left the group for
worldwide fame as a solo artist. Ironically, it would win the band its only
Grammy award. The Song: Written as a tribute to departed soul
singers Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye (both men had died in 1984), "Nightshift"
remains an affecting song almost 25 years later. The plucked, syncopated guitar
and light percussion give the song its rhythm, and the tasteful, buoyant bass
acts as the adhesive. Soul fans can have fun picking out the references to each
singers' hits in the lyrics ("talk to me so you can see what's going on").
The Video: Since the original video is un-embeddable, we went with
this live version, though the differences are minor. Dig the pleather suits,
Hipster Cachet: Any outfit that
spawned Lionel Richie is worth the attention of the hipster masses, but any
outfit that wore outfits like this deserves
Support Local Journalism. Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.