|The CommodoresThe Commodores want you to know that their friend and comrade, Lionel Richie, left the band in 1983. They want you to know that the Commodores, despite a string of monster hits and massive tours in the late '70s and early 80's, won their first Grammy Award for the multi-platinum smash single and LP Night Shift in 1986. Most of all, they want you to know that the Commodores are alive and well in the new millennium, with their own label, and six new albums in stores.From the beginning in Tuskegee, Alabama while attending college at Tuskegee Institute in 1968, the Commodores were known as 'smart guys'. But they were funky, too. Smart and funky enough to open for the Jackson 5, to be discovered by Berry Gordy in the process, and to sell more than 60 million records for Motown. They were Motown's largest selling act for two decades, the 70's and 80's. The Commodores racked up a string of hits including "Machine Gun", "Brick House", "Easy", "Three Times a Lady", "Sail On", "Oh No", "Slippery When Wet", "Too Hot Ta Trot", and many others that literally moved an entire generation. Success, however, was not enough to save them from the changes in the music scene, or most especially, the music business. The departure in 1983 of Lionel Richie, co-lead vocalist along with Walter "Clyde" Orange, might have sunk a lesser group. The Commodores continued onward, and entered the studio to begin recording Commodores 13.In 1984, before recording Night Shift, the Commodores decided to re-establish the co-lead vocal formula that had catapulted them to the top of the R&B and Pop Charts in the past. After interviewing over fifty candidates, the Commodores chose James Dean "J.D." Nicholas. J.D. was a vocalist for the British band Heat Wave, the Commodores opening act on their previous European tour. The match was perfect. The success of Night Shift proved it.Rounded out by the world renown rhythm section the "Mean Machine", the Commodores hit the road in support of their new record. The tour had sold out shows with both new and old fans on their feet, singing and dancing to new Commodores songs and classic hits. The Commodores had silenced the critics and climbed to the top of the pop charts once again.