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Walter Orange
 Walter Orange

Drums, percussion & lead vocals
Nicknames: "Clyde" & "Sweet Clyde"
Born: December 10 (Sagittarius)


Before Walter "Clyde" Orange joined the Commodores in the summer of 1969, he sang and played drums in his own group called The J-Notes. Walter, who was influenced by jazz, hailed from Florida and began playing drums in junior high-school. He was the only Commodore that majored in music, but not at The Tuskegee Institute like the others, Walter graduated from Alabama State College (he was three years older than the other guys in The Commodores too). Initially "Clyde" was the group's lead vocalist, only occasionally sharing the microphone with Lionel Richie. Eventually, Lionel became more and more featured as the lead singer, especially on the ballads. But Walter sang lead on many of The Commodores' funkiest uptempo numbers, such as "Young Girls Are My Weakness", "Brick House" and "Too Hot Ta Trot".

Among the songs Clyde wrote are "Don't You Be Worried" (The Commodores' second 45 on MoWest), "Wide Open", "(Can I) Get A Witness", "Can't Let You Tease Me", "Squeeze The Fruit", "Such A Woman", "This Love", "Been Loving You" and "Bump De La La".

Walter co-wrote "I Feel Sanctified" (with the group and Jeffrey Bowen), "Gonna Blow Your Mind" (with Milan Williams), "Slippery When Wet" (with Thomas McClary), "You Don't Know That I Know", "Let's Get Started", "Brick House", "Too Hot Ta Trot" (with the group), "I Like What You Do" (with Lionel Richie), "Gettin' It" and "All The Way Down" (with David Cochrane from the Mean Machine).

For "13" in 1983, the first LP with newly recorded material that The Commodores released after Lionel had launched his solo-career, Walter produced"Nothing Like A Woman" (written with Harold Hudson from the Mean Machine) and "Touchdown" (with Michael Dunlap from the Mean Machine ). Walter also wrote "Nightshift" (with Dennis Lambert and Franne Gold), "Serious Love" (with Harold Hudson and V. Redding) and together with Steve Harvey, produced "Bump The La La", "Grrip" (the latter written by Orange with Jennine Elcock) and "I'm Gonna Need Your Loving" (with Pamela Phillips Oland). In addition, Walter co-produced "So Nice" with William King and Tony Prendatt.

Today, Walter and William King are the only members left in the Commodores from the original line-up.


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Maria Granditsky December 1996.
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