On this day in music history: March 30, 1977 - “Commodores”, the fifth album by The Commodores is released. Produced by James Anthony Carmichael and The Commodores, it is recorded at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA from October 1976 - January 1977. Beginning their rise to fame in 1974 with the single and album “Machine Gun”, The Commodores quickly build on that success over the next two years. By late 1976, the band begin work on their fifth album. All six band members contribute, with one of its centerpieces coming about during an impromptu jam. While recording, an equipment malfunction brings the session to a halt. Waiting for the problem to be fixed, drummer and singer Walter “Clyde” Orange shows the others an idea he has. Bassist Ronald LaPread begins improvising a bass line with the others falling in. When producer James Anthony Carmichael overhears, he tells them that they should take that riff and write a full song around it. After putting it down on tape, Orange comes up with some lyrics and a melody. The song is titled “Brick House” (#2 R&B, #5 Pop), a euphemism for a voluptuous and curvy woman from the more risque “she’s built like a brick sh*t house”. Taking a copy of the tape home, guitarist and trumpet player Willam “Wak” King plays it for his wife Shirley before going to sleep. As he’s sleeping, she writes more lyrics gives them to her husband the next morning. The others are unaware of Shirley King’s contribution, and goes uncredited for many years afterward. Also during the sessions, LaPread’s wife Kathy Faye is ill with cancer and passes away during the recording of the album. Wanting to honor her, Lionel Richie and Ronald write the moving ballad “Zoom”, with its lyrics speaking of going to a place where one’s purpose and full potential in life can be realized. Sung by Richie, it is an immediate stand out, and though it isn’t released as a single in the US, it becomes a huge fan favorite and one of The Commodores most popular songs. The band also dedicate the album in memory of Kathy Faye. Another contribution from Lionel is “Easy” (#1 R&B, #4 Pop), writing about the break up of a relationship set against the back drop of Tuskegee, AL where the band hails from. Released in the Spring of 1977, “Commodores” with the one two punch of the laid back “Easy” and ultra funky “Brick House”, becomes their most successful album, earning a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for “Easy”. Set against a blue sky with clouds, the album cover is the first to feature The Commodores now famed band logo designed by artist Tom Nikosey. The original vinyl pressing album also comes with an over sized poster of the band (the same photo featured on the back of the sleeve). “Commodores” spends eight weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200.