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William A. King
 William King

Trumpet & vocals
Nickname: "Wak"
Born: January 30 (Capricorn)


Alabamian William King originally wanted to be a drummer, but found that all the drum-kits were occupied in his school and was forced to choose between clarinet and trumpet. He took the trumpet. Lionel Richie and Thomas McClary drafted William King from The Tuskegee Institute's marching band and together with three other guys, they became known as The Mystics. After Milan Williams was recruited from rivaling school-band The Jays, a new name was needed to celebrate the event. William King was blindfolded and selected the word "commodore" at random from a dictionary. In 1969, this first edition of The Commodores went to New York and cut a single for Atlantic Records called "Keep On Dancing". William was also a skilled dancer and served as The Commodores' choreographer.

Among the tracks William King wrote are "Thumpin' Music", "Funky Situation", "Young Girls Are My Weakness" (with Ronald LaPread), "Time" (with Thomas McClary) "I Feel Sanctified" (with the group and Jeffrey Bowen), "You Don't Know That I Know", "Let's Get Started", "Brick House", "Too Hot Ta Trot" (with the group), "Fire Girl" (with Darrell Jones and David Cochrane from the Mean Machine), "You're Special","Mighty Spirit" (with Harold Hudson from the Mean Machine) and "Lady (You Bring Me Up)" (with Shirley King and Harold Hudson).

After Lionel Richie had departed from The Commodores (and had taken "their" producer James Anthony Carmichael with him) The Commodores began to produce themselves. For their first Richie-less LP "13" in 1983, William produced and co-wrote "I'm In Love" and "Turn Off The Lights" (written with Harold Hudson and William's wife, Shirley). Together with Dennis Lambert, William produced "I Keep Running" (written with Shirley King and Harold Hudson) on the "Nightshift" LP. In 1986, William and James Anthony Carmichael produced "Talk To Me" (written by William with Shirley King and Harold Hudson). Together with Walter Orange and Tony Prendatt, Walter produced "So Nice" and also co-wrote and produced "Thank You" (written with Shirley King and Harold Hudson).

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


Commodores Home | Bio | Images | Lionel Richie Interview



Maria Granditsky December 1996.
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