On this day in music history: August 12, 1978 – “Three Times A Lady” by The Commodores hits #1 on both the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on the same date. It also tops the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on August 19, 1978. Written by Lionel Richie, it is the fifth R&B and first pop chart topper for the R&B band from Tuskegee, AL. Richie comes up with the concept for the song after witnessing his father express his appreciation for his mother at their 37th wedding anniversary party. Inspired by his father’s moving speech, he reflects on how he hasn’t told his own wife (at the time) Brenda how much he loved and appreciated her, and how many other men have not verbally expressed their feelings for the women in their lives. When Richie plays the song for his band mates, they unanimously agree that it should be included on their next album “Natural High”. The over six and a half minute long track, is trimmed down to three and a half minutes for single release. Issued in late May of 1978, quickly becoming a multi-format smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #73 on June 10, 1978, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The song is covered numerous times over the years, including versions by Kenny Rogers, Billy “Crash” Craddock, and Conway Twitty. It is also parodied by comedian Eddie Murphy on an episode of “Saturday Night Live”, where he sings part of the song as Our Gang/Little Rascals character Buckwheat. “Three Times A Lady” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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