Machine Gun (Commodores album)

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Machine Gun
The Commodores Machine Gun.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 22, 1974
Recorded1972–74 at Motown Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA
GenreFunk, R&B
ProducerJames Anthony Carmichael, Commodores, Jeffrey Bowen, George Tobin, Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, Clayton Ivey, Terry Woodford
Commodores chronology
Machine Gun
Caught in the Act
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3.5/5 stars link
Christgau's Record GuideB+[1]

Machine Gun is the debut studio album by Commodores, released on July 22, 1974, on Motown Records. Unlike subsequent Commodores albums, Machine Gun has only funk music and is devoid of slow-paced ballads.

The titular lead song has Milan Williams on clavinet, which led the Motown executive Berry Gordy to name the song "Machine Gun" as the clavinet work reminded him of gunfire.[citation needed] This track peaked at number 7 on the R&B charts, while reaching number 22 on the overall pop charts. Samples from the song were used prominently by the Beastie Boys in their 1989 song "Hey Ladies," and the song itself was featured on the soundtrack for the 1997 film Boogie Nights. In the late 1970s, the track was used as the theme to UK Sunday-morning-filler show about health How To Stay Alive, presented by Colin Welland,[citation needed] and in early 1980s the tune was also used as the opening theme of the New Zealand music show Ready to Roll.[2]

The second single to be released, "I Feel Sanctified", reached number 12 on the R&B charts, and concerns a man spiritually blessed by his girlfriend's love. The song has Ronald LaPread on bass guitar, while Lionel Richie and William King contributed horn arrangements. The tune has an a cappella introduction with three-way harmonization.

"The Bump" became a radio and dancehall staple, with Richie and Walter Orange on vocals calling to female listeners to " the bump, do the bump, baby!"

"The Assembly Line" and "The Zoo (The Human Zoo)" are both socially charged songs concerning the challenges faced by those who try to make a difference in society. "The Zoo" has an introduction with Williams playing a melody which resembles circus music.

The remaining songs are also funk tunes. On "Superman", Richie sings from the point of view of the superhero himself.

In 1989, Australian pop singer Kate Ceberano covered "Young Girls are My Weakness", re-written from a female perspective as "Young Boys are My Weakness", on her album Brave.

Track listing[edit]

Motown – M6-798S1[3]

Side one
1."Machine Gun" (instrumental)Milan Williams2:43
2."Young Girls are My Weakness"William King & Ronald LaPread2:42
3."I Feel Sanctified"Lionel Richie, Jeffrey Bowen, Ronald LaPread, Walter Orange, Milan Williams & Thomas McClary3:30
4."The Bump"Milan Williams4:11
5."Rapid Fire" (instrumental)Milan Williams3:08
Side two
1."The Assembly Line"Gloria Jones & Pam Sawyer5:10
2."The Zoo (The Human Zoo)"Gloria Jones & Pam Sawyer3:16
3."Gonna Blow Your Mind"Thomas McClary, Walter Orange & Milan Williams6:09
4."There's a Song In My Heart"Lionel Richie2:38
5."Superman"Lionel Richie2:39
Total length:36:06



  • Producers – James Anthony Carmichael (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 & 10); Commodores (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 & 10); Jeffrey Bowen and George Tobin (Track 3); Gloria Jones and Pam Sawyer (Tracks 6 & 7); Clayton Ivey and Tom Woodford (Track 9).
  • Arrangements – James Anthony Carmichael (Tracks 1-5, 8 & 10); Commodores (Tracks 1, 2, 4-8 & 10); George Tobin (Track 3); Gloria Jones (Tracks 6 & 7); Clayton Ivey and Tom Woodford (Track 9).
  • Horn arrangements on Track 3 – James Anthony Carmichael
  • Effects – Cal Harris
  • Photography – Jim Britt


Year Chart positions[4]
1974 138 22


Year Single Chart positions[5]
1974 "Machine Gun" 22 7
"I Feel Sanctified" 75 12


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via
  2. ^ "Ready to Roll". NZ On Screen. NZ On Air. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
  3. ^ "Commodores – Machine Gun". Discogs. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Commodores US albums chart history". Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  5. ^ "The Commodores US singles chart history". Retrieved 2011-07-15.

External links[edit]