Brick House (song)

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"Brick House"
Single by Commodores
from the album Commodores
Released August 1977
Format 7", 12", vinyl, 45 rpm
Recorded 1977
Genre Funk
Length 3:37
Label Motown
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

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

Creation and recording[edit]

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.[citation needed]


In 1995, Mayte released "House of Brick", a rap version of "Brick House", on NPG Records. The track appears on her debut album Child of the Sun. The song features The New Power Generation, and Mayte's then-husband, Prince who sings the chorus and the verses with her. That same year, Dread Zeppelin covered this song as "Brick House (of the Holy!)" on their album No Quarter Pounder.[citation needed]

"Brick House" was also covered in 2003 by Rob Zombie on the House of 1000 Corpses Soundtrack and released as a promo single. The song can also be found on Zombie's Past, Present & Future album. In the song, Zombie collaborates with Lionel Richie (who did not sing on the original version) and Trina on vocals.[3]

The song was covered in 2010 by M.O.D. (Juan Sunshine) and Staffan Thorsell with UK singer Simon Green on vocals, released on Purple Music Switzerland.[citation needed]

The song was covered by Most Requested Rhythm Band in 1978 on the LP Got To Give It Up.

Clarence Carter has apparently covered this song several times, the earliest found recording on the album Everybody Plays the Fool in 1999.

In popular culture[edit]

  • "Brick House" was featured in the opening of the 1999 film Muppets from Space. It was also featured in the 2002 film Undercover Brother and in the 1978 film Thank God It's Friday.
  • In the 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.
  • On an episode of George Lopez, the Commodores perform the song to serenade the character Benny.[4]
  • In the sitcom Dinosaurs, Roy Hess sings the song in the episode "Georgie Must Die".
  • Wickes Furniture has used[when?] a modified version for their commercials, changing the lyric "She's a brick...House" to "Go to Wickes...Now".[citation needed]
  • In the first 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.
  • The song was used in the season 5 Scrubs episode "My Chopped Liver", when J.D. dreams that Turk gives him his bottom.
  • The film Houseguest starring Sinbad and Phil Hartman featured the song in 1995
  • The song was made available to download for Rock Band 4 on February 8, 2018.


  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. ^ "Past, Present & Future- Rob Zombie". Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Now George Noah Ex-Zack-Ly What Happened". Retrieved 2016-10-12. 

External links[edit]