On this day in music history: July 27, 1979 – “Midnight Magic”, the seventh studio 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 March – May 1979. Coming off of the huge success of their previous album “Natural High” and their first number one pop single “Three Times A Lady”, The Commodores begin work on their next album in the Spring of 1979. Though all six members of the band contribute songs to the project, it is Lionel Richie who has now emerged as the chief songwriter as his star continues to rise. As the Commodores become more successful, there begins to become concern that they are abandoning their R&B and funk roots for pop crossover acceptance. In spite of this, Richie’s contributions to the project prove to be too strong to turn away. At the time, Lionel observes his childhood friend William “Smitty” Smith and his wife go through a painful break up and eventual divorce. Talking to Smith in detail about what he’s going through, Richie is inspired to write two songs out the conversations they have. The first song and first single release the country flavored “Sail On” (#8 R&B, #4 Pop), deals with the couples realization and eventual acceptance that their romantic relationship and marriage has run its course. The idea is continued the ballad and second single “Still” (#1 R&B, #1 Pop, #1 AC), the now former husband and wife though they have parted ways, and do in fact still love each other and remain friends. The album spins off one further single with “Wonderland” (#21 R&B, #25 Pop) penned by keyboardist Milan Williams. Once released, it is another major hit for the Commodores, and becomes Motown Records best selling album of 1979, selling nearly two million copies in the US alone. “Midnight Magic” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200.
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