Story of a Legend
“Brick House”, “Easy”, “Just to Be Close to You”…
The feeling those oldies gives you is thanks to Thomas McClary.
A singer, musician, writer, producer, and performer, McClary founded the legendary funk and soul band Commodores in 1968. The Grammy-winning group spent a decade on top of the charts.
For McClary, music has always been about affecting the greater good. Not only has his music been food for the soul, so have his actions. Born October 6, 1949 in Eustis, Florida, McClary was one of the first African-American students to integrate the Florida Public School System prior to the enforcement of Brown vs. Board of Education.
He continued standing up to for justice while attending the historically black college Tuskegee University. It was at Tuskegee that he met the other members of the Commodores and bonded when them through music and social change.
Most recently, McClary brought music back to his fans on a national tour from 2015-2016. Now, he’s ready to bring a message to his fans. Stay tuned for the upcoming release of his book. He will be doing signings in a city near you!
Thomas McClary Career Highlights
Met Lionel Richie at Tuskeegee University
Signed with Gordy Berry and Motown Records
Commodores Lead Guitarist
The Band that Started it All
As a student at Tuskegee, McClary met Lionel Richie in the registration line. The two became friends and in 1968 they began to put together a band that they called The Mystics. McClary played the lead guitar and, early on, shared in the lead vocals. The group played local gigs then added more members and changed their name to the Commodores. In 1972, the Commodores signed with Berry Gordy and Motown Records.
McClary spent 15 years as the lead guitarist for the Commodores while also participating in songwriting, producing, and lead-vocal duties. His guitar solo in the Commodores song “Easy” has been hailed as one of the best solo guitar performances of all time. While with the Commodores, McClary wrote two songs by himself, including “Cebu” and “Sexy Lady” and collaborated with Lionel Richie to write many more, including “Brick House”, “Slippery When Wet”, “Too Hot ta Trot”, and “Ooo Woman You” with Melissa Manchester, in which he also sang lead vocal.
After leaving the Commodores in 1984, McClary signed a solo contract with Motown and the following year released a solo album titled, Thomas McClary, which featured the popular single “Thin Walls” that climbed to #57 on the “Billboard R&B chart”. In 1986 McClary returned to Florida and turned to his Christian roots by becoming the music director of his church and forming a gospel music record label under which he released the 2008 album titled A Revolution Not a Revival.
Now he’s back, with an unparalleled high energy you won’t forget– introducing the hottest band of 2015: The First Commodore Thomas McClary.