Brick House (song)

"Brick House" is a song from the Commodores' 1977 self-titled album (released as Zoom in the UK). The single peaked at number 5 in the U.S. and number 32 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

"Brick House"
Brick House by Commodores US 12-inch vinyl.png
US 12-inch vinyl single
Single by Commodores
from the album Commodores
B-side"Captain Quick Draw"
ReleasedAugust 1977
Format7", 12", vinyl, 45 rpm
Songwriter(s)Lionel Richie, Milan Williams, Walter Orange, Ronald LaPread, Thomas McClary, William King, Shirley Hanna-King [lyrics, uncredited]
Producer(s)James Anthony Carmichael and the Commodores

Creation and recordingEdit

In 1977, the Commodores were in the studio recording when there was a problem with the equipment. While the equipment was being repaired and replaced, the group took a break. Ronald LaPread, the group's bass player, began jamming. Bit by bit the rest of the band joined in until they came up with a track and bass line. Upon returning, James Carmichael, the Commodores' producer, heard and recognized that this could be a song worth recording. He asked everyone to see if they could use the riff to come up with a song. Taking the tapes home, William King played them for his wife, Shirley Hanna-King. While he slept, she was inspired to write lyrics for the riff, modifying the expression "built like a brick shithouse" for the song.[2]

The following day King sang the lyrics to "Brick House" to the band, allowing them to think he had written it. They loved it and decided that drummer Walter "Clyde" Orange had the funky voice to sing lead vocals, (as opposed to Lionel Richie, who usually sang lead), and the song went on the new album.

It took several years before the other members of the group discovered that it was actually Shirley Hanna-King who had written the lyrics, and although she was not originally credited, the band has publicly acknowledged her as the song's writer.[3]


  • The song was covered by Most Requested Rhythm Band in 1978 on the LP Got to Give It Up.
  • Clarence Carter has covered this song several times with the earliest instance on the album Everybody Plays the Fool in 1999.

In popular cultureEdit

  • "Brick House" was featured in the 1978 film Thank God It's Friday.
  • In the first 1990-1991 season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton and his school's glee club, the 'Alegoroos', sing the a Capella version of the song. On hearing it, Will opines "if the Commodores heard you singing, they'd tie you down to the tracks and run you over with the Soul Train".
  • On an episode of Living Single, the women all sing "Brick House" in unison while preparing to go out to a nightclub.
  • In the sitcom Dinosaurs, Roy Hess sings the song in the episode "Georgie Must Die"
  • In To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, the main characters, Vida, Noxie, and Chi Chi are seen voguing to "Brick House".
  • The 1995 film Houseguest starring Sinbad and Phil Hartman featured the song.
  • "Brick House" was featured in the opening of the 1999 film Muppets from Space.
  • In the 2000 film Gone in Sixty Seconds, a comical member of the car theft crew performs a burlesque show with his toy doll while singing the chorus of "Brick House" in order to distract an officer at the police impound booth.
  • It was featured in the 2002 film Undercover Brother.
  • It was featured in the 2002 film adaptation of Scooby-Doo.
  • In the American sitcom TV series George Lopez Season 3 Episode 28 (May 21, 2004), the Commodores perform the song to serenade the character Benny.[6]
  • Wickes Furniture has used[when?] a modified version for their commercials, changing the lyric "She's got a brick...House" to "Go to Wickes...Now".[citation needed]
  • The song was used in the season 5 Scrubs episode "My Chopped Liver" (April 4, 2006), when J.D. dreams that Turk gives him his bottom.
  • The song was made available to download for Rock Band 4 on February 8, 2018.
  • The song was featured in the 2009 movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Bumblebee played the song through his radio whilst spraying Alice with antifreeze.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 116/7. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ Maria Granditsky (1996-11-28). "Miss Funkyflyy's Lionel Richie Interview". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  3. ^ Songfacts. "Brick House by Commodores - Songfacts". Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  4. ^ "Past, Present & Future- Rob Zombie". Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  5. ^ M.O.D. & Staffan Thorsell feat. Simon Green – "BrickHouse" (2010) at Discogs
  6. ^ "Now George Noah Ex-Zack-Ly What Happened". Retrieved 2016-10-12.

External linksEdit