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
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.