It’s December 10th and that Saint Nick dude is getting closer and appropriately enough todays song on the ABC of Motown Advent Calendar is about being close. It is one of my favourite songs from the Commodores and it’s called “Just To Be Close To You”. I only saw the Commodores live on one occasion and that was back in November 1973 at my first ever gig where they were supporting the Jackson 5.
When released in 1976 the song reached number 7 in the US Billboard chart but was a number 1 in the US R & B Chart. Sadly it could only limp to number 62 in the UK chart. Like many of the bands hits it was written by Lionel Richie. The band was originally called the Mystics and decided that they needed a new name. William King a founder member who is still with the band decided to open the dictionary at a random page and point a finger at a random word on that page. Obviously that word was commodore. King is quoted as saying ‘We lucked out, we almost became the commodes’
Whilst the band left Motown in 1986 Lionel Richie stayed and went on to even greater success, although personally I have always preferred the more rough and funky sound of the earlier Commodores material. The band is still around and continue to play live.